How New Business Pitches and the Bachelorette are Essentially the Same Thing
I found my roommate and apartment on Craigslist. Though she is a great person, I had difficulty finding a connection between this 30-year-old veteran teacher and 22-year-old new-to-PR me. So when I saw her watching the Bachelorette, I jumped at the chance to spend some time together. Now, I'm not one to become engrossed with reality TV, and I didn't think this show would be an exception. But as I watched the number of men dwindle down to Andi's "one," I saw a connection to my life that I had never realized - The Bachelorette mimics the process of pitching new business.
It starts out like a fairy tale. You step out of the limo and take the first look at your new prospect. You boldly present your RFP with pride and power, but as you walk into the house, you quickly remember the mess of keeping others waiting, having just done the same thing with their own bit of flare whether it's pushing a car up the driveway or popping a bottle of champagne. You just wait, hoping that your innovative ideas will keep you there through the first round of cuts.
When you get that first rose, you smirk as the competitor list was slashed to a more reasonable size. Maybe you're not the flashiest of all the competitors, but you sure do have a lot of connections between your 11 siblings"¦I mean three offices and partnerships all over the globe. Regardless, you begin to remember why you're so great in the first place–why these other guys don't stand a chance. You're there for the right reason after all, you are the perfect match. These other guys just want to line their pockets and get the exposure.
Though your confidence is high, you can't help but worry that your prospect won't see the real you through all the smoke the others are throwing out. At your one-on-one dinner date, you pull all the stops, showing that you care by displaying your knowledge of them, their desires and how you will fill those needs. Meanwhile that rose is sitting on the table taunting you. You know that you have to straddle the line of loving devotion and calm cool collected-ness to prove you care without overwhelming them with stalker-ish desires.
With rose in hand and a bit more knowledge on the prospect, you begin to tailor your conversations, showing the prospect exactly what is relevant to him/her and your future together, trying not to be disgruntled when the prospect asks for proof of your claims, such as with a lie detector test or reference calls. Meanwhile, you know someone else is working just as hard to woo the prospect, but they cannot have the connection you have, right?
Then it's time for the epic end of your courtship: the proposal. You stand in front of the prospect, pledging your best and pleading your loyalty. And the prospect does one of two things: accept or tell you there's someone else (which you knew all along, but secretly hoped it was just for show).
When the prospect accepts, you begin your life together, separate from others and the fancy dinners. But though the journey getting there was fun and exciting, it is working together and becoming a true team that matters in the end. Roses come and go, but client relationships are forever.
So because I had the desire to become close with my roommate, I learned a valuable lesson from the new business process. Competition is tough, but it's all worth it in the end.