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5 Reasons You Don't Get Buy-in When You Pitch

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

And What to Do About It

“[...] you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and you do not receive, because you ask amiss, [...].” -James 4:2d,3

It is understandable if you don't get because you didn't ask.

What gets to us all is when we ask and don't get. We want to know, "what was wrong with my ask?"

Ever been turned down and not been given feedback as to why you didn't get whatever you asked for?

Let's change that.

Below are five reasons you don't get buy-in when you pitch and what you can do about it:

1.You Don't Appear to Be Trustworthy

“If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they'll do business with you.”

-Zig Ziglar.

Sometimes we appear to be untrustworthy and people would rather walk away than buy into what we are pitching.

You may be the right person or business for the opportunity but be turned away because you appear to be untrustworthy.

This could be because of your dress code, body language, professional etiquette during the communication process, or general reputation (credibility and relatability).

Sometimes you could even be sidelined for a "too good to be true" offer.

Before your next pitch, ask yourself:

  1. What do I need to do and communicate beforehand to build trust with them?

  2. What do I need to do during the process (and especially on the day) to cement trust for buy-in with them?

2.You Don't Know What You Want

"That's ridiculous!"

Is it though?

Ever listened to someone go on and on about something, and when you asked them what the bottom line is, what they want, they say, "I don't know exactly."

That's an immediate turn-off.

You won't get many people supporting you if you ask for their audience and can't speak directly and to the point of what it is you want.

If you have struggled to articulate your ask in the past, that is probably one of the top reasons you haven't had buy-in.

What to do?

Before you make another pitch, ask yourself:

  1. What do I want from them?

  2. What do I want them to do about it?

3.You Are Speaking to the Wrong Person

Sometimes you don't get what you are asking for because you are speaking to the wrong person.

Ever had someone say, "Sorry, that's above my pay grade."

They are not the decision-maker so cannot help you with your ask.

Sometimes you can also go too high up the hierarchy that they are either not involved in, or, not sufficiently informed, to make a decision in your favor.

Before you next go out to make a pitch, ask yourself:

  1. Who is/are the decision maker/s?

  2. Who can help me get a favorable decision from them?

4.You Are Not Targeting Your Message

Why do you magically see ads for the very thing you want when you browse online?

Because companies are listening to your conversations and tracking your browsing, purchase, and even location history.

They have your demographic (age, gender, marital status, educational level, income bracket, etcetera), psychographic (what you like to eat, wear, watch, go, you name it), and a host of other details that help them to tailor your online buying experience to make you stay longer, consume more, and influence others to do the same.

Sometimes you are speaking to the person that holds your, "Yes!", but you are not targeting your pitch to them so it resonates with them personally.

NB/ Please note that I am not asking you to go spying on people to stage your requests. It may be enough to know the organization's aspirations, problems, culture, and power structures.

Before you next approach someone you want buy-in from, ask yourself:

  1. What do I need to know about them to target them for buy-in?

  2. How do I package my pitch to ensure I do?

5.You Are Not Precise

When making an ask, err on the side of specificity than on the side of vagueness.

When you are imprecise, your audience is forced to do one of three things:

  1. Set the agenda and details for you.

  2. Turn you away to go do your homework and return.

  3. Turn you down because you are unprepared (and they don't have the time to fill-in the blanks for you).

It would be merciful if they were to do No. 2. Chances are they will either do No. 1 and dictate what you get, which is often less than what you would be happy with, or No. 2, which is the end of your pitch and opportunity with them.

Before you next pitch, ask yourself:

  1. What exactly do I want from them?

  2. How far am I willing to negotiate if I don't get my original ask?

Feel free to watch these videos selected specifically to help you to communicate for buy-in.

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