”From the implosion of household-name banks to the firestorm of condemnation over MPs’ expences, events over the past year have made confidence a scarce commodity”. This is the sub-heading of an article by Nicola Clark in Marketing Magazine.
The quoted research shows, not surprisingly, that consumers trust even the strongest brands less now than a year ago. Cornflake brands like Kellogg are okay, but even the crusading Daily Telegraph is trusted less than it was a year ago by 14% of consumers.
How is this crisis of trust hitting us as experts in our chosen field when pitching?
Perhaps we should take note of these words from Lord Salisbury,the several times Prime Minister who claimed that Disraeli was ‘too clever by half’. He wrote:
“No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should trust experts. If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent : if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require to have their strong wine diluted bya very large admixture of insipid common sense”.
Insipid or not, some common sense suggestions for experts:
Be ready for the pitch that isn’t. Some will hold a pitch with no intent to switch as they are caught in a ‘better the devil you know’ mode in these mistrusting times. The pitch may simply be a means of reducing fees.
Be sure you do not over-claim in what you can deliver in a future that nobody can be certain about. Rather, listen, as you may never have listened before, to what are the underlying issues and concerns of the potential clients, individually as well as corporately.
Be more prepared, more rehearsed, than ever so that your own confidence is unforced but unshakeable.
These insipid suggestions will help. Trust me!