You Have No Business Pitching That

CB Barthlow, Director of Development – #TheShop

 

“What we need to do is build a robust sales funnel, an automated drip campaign and content marketing strategy that will position us as a thought leader in the space; this will allow us to reach a diverse potential client base and diversify our revenue streams… blah, blah, blah.”

I’ve said that sentence before, many times in fact. I’ve made that point so many times, I even believed it. Yet I was never sold on the sentiment.

I used to believe it was important to throw wide nets, build broad client bases, spread the revenue and hedge our bets but in all of that there was no intrinsic reward, no joy. We were just doing business to do business, making money so we didn’t lose money and it meant nothing. There was no excitement, no creativity, no rush or joy in going after what we wanted because we were so busy in acquiring what we needed. It was subsistence working and we were living contract to contract.

I wanted more. I wanted to go after big ideas and great clients. I wanted to pitch far-fetched concepts and work with other dreamers to create and do things no one else had ever done before and I didn’t want to work the funnel any more. I wanted to land a big deal and to be a big deal, and I had no business thinking that way.

I knew that because I once had someone tell me that very sentence, “You Have No Business Pitching That”.  This person was talking about a crazy pitch idea I had but he really meant “you don’t have what it takes”.

You’ve heard that sentiment before, haven’t you? You’ve been in a meeting and shared an idea or recommendation and someone has returned with a rebuttal of the idea. In reality they’re speaking less to the idea and more to their conception of who you are. You know those phrases, “That’s nice, but…”, “Let’s stay on task here…”, “Let’s table that for a moment…”. All those phrases are meant to shoot down new ideas and whether the person who says them knows it or not, it’s a personal attack to big thinkers and creators alike.

Those like me, have an insatiable desire to think about what’s possible? We’re constantly asking, “what if”. We grow weary of the same old routine and processes. The same ideas and executions make us nervous.

For us, the phrase, “this is how we do it” is an invitation to the question, “why?”. It drives superiors and colleagues crazy and that’s why our ideas are often misconstrued. Sometimes, to maintain control, those same superiors or colleagues will resort to those dismissive comments already mentioned. It’s self-preservation on their part and infuriating for us.

In the end, that dismissal is valuable. Truly, most of us who dream big and live in the world of what’s possible, don’t mind being challenged, even if it comes across as condescension. Challenge is what makes us thrive, it’s where all those crazy ideas come from. When you say I have no business pitching that client, or idea, what you’re really telling me is, YOU don’t understand it. And that’s cool.

Creatives and big thinkers don’t expect anyone to get “it” at first. We know that what we’re going after seems unlikely and improbable but it’s worth it. That’s why we do it. Especially when others think we can’t.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an insane idea I’m about to pitch to a client I have no business talking to.