What’s in it for me?


You’ve been working long and hard on your project (Novel/Software Application/Workshop Pitch/Fill In the Blank). It’s colossal! It’s amazing! You’re ready to show it off to the world or at least your potential customers. The presentation goes well and you believe folks are on board. Then it happens. There’s always one “Neddy Negativity” in the crowd who tries to squash it.

What is Neddy’s motivation for dumping cold water on your idea? Is he hell-bent on squashing you to lift up his own kingdom? Sometimes. In my many years of experience, I’ve found that usually isn’t the case. Most folks are afraid of change. They don’t understand how your new idea is going to impact their world. Is it a good thing? Or is it just a waste of time that they really don’t have energy to bother with?

It doesn’t really matter what the Neddy Negativities of the world think (though sometimes Neddy has some really good points and should at least be heard). Don’t let them squash good ideas. Be ready to tell these difficult folks about the benefits you’re offering. In other words: What’s in it for them?

  • DO: Research your potential customer. What are their needs? Who are their customers?
  • DO: Be as specific as you can. How will your writing workshop benefit their conference attendees (and pull in more interested students)? How will your software application make their life easier and reduce costs and/or streamline processes?
  • DON’T: Give an exaggerated used car salesman pitch. Do not exaggerate what your product can do. “Truth Will Out!” If you and your product can’t live up to the promises you make, your credibility will be in question and so will your professional reputation.
  • DON’T: Be vague. There are professional bullshit blockers (like myself) out there whose job it is to protect the fiscal, technical infrastructure and employee well-being of their organizations. If you can’t tell us exactly what, when, why, how and how much…well, we’ll go to the next person who can. Think your presentations through from this point of view.

Final Thoughts – Before people are willing to invest time and resources into something, they want to understand what’s in it for them. It’s human nature. We’re pulled and prodded into so many directions, the last thing we want is yet another responsibility. How is what you’re trying to sell me of any benefit? How is it going to make my life easier? How is it going to benefit my customers? If you can answer those questions, then your chance for success dramatically increases.


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