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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Are You Drinking Your Own Cool Aid

One of the activities of any entrepreneur is to make investor and partnering pitches.  Quite often these are learning events as well as sales activities.  Your listeners will often provide feedback and criticism which in turn is used to modify and improve the presentation for the next group.  The process is iterative and likely takes place numerous times.  In fact, it gets to be so routine that after many such presentations you have added key questions and answers to the future presentations.

What is sometimes missed is the continual reinforcement of how great your product and business has become, or at least that is what you are selling.  The sharper and more focused presentation with reinforcement of concepts cause the presenter to become even more sold on the business or products.  The pitch, questions, and answers become so good that it is easy to sell yourself on your own pitch, i.e. “Drinking Your Own Cool Aid.”

Remember being a kid and having a lemonade stand?  You may have tasted your lemonade and finished it all before selling it to anyone else.  It was great because you made it.  Your family may have bought from you because you were cute.  You felt like a real business person. But that was artificial and you did not have the ability to critically review the activities.

When you become so sold on your own business or products, you likely never to step back and critically review where you are.  Problem is it becomes more likely you will miss the key issues that prevent your listeners from buying.  You believe the story, but your listeners don’t.  They fail to buy or invest.  

The failure to constantly review your position and try to see the issues in a detached way can prevent you from learning why you are not making the sale.  Take a step back from time to time and ask whether you are your only customer.  Try to listen more and question your position.  Maybe you will find the answer that will take an investor or partner to a YES.

  Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon