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Beating your Competition to the Next Big Idea
How many times have you read about something that became a big huge success and you remember that somebody tried to pitch that idea to you years ago? And on the selling side, how many times have you tried to pitch a Big Idea but it wound up in limbo?
1) HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOUR COMPANY IS ALWAYS OPEN TO NEW IDEAS, WHETHER THEY COME FROM INSIDE YOUR COMPANY OR WHETHER THEY COME FROM OUTSIDE YOUR COMPANY?
2) WHEN YOU ARE ON THE SELLING SIDE, HOW DO YOU GET GREAT IDEAS THROUGH ALL THE BUREAUCRACY, THE GATEKEEPERS, THE NAYSAYERS, THE ADMINS AND THE WORDS “SORRY, WE DON’T ACCEPT ANY UNSOLICITED MATERIALS”
FROM THE COMPANY SIDE...
How do you make sure your company is always open to new ideas, whether they come from the inside or whether they come from outside your company?
When your company gets a letter about a new idea, what happens to it?
*Does the CEO actually see it at all?
*Does the admin read it and decide how to route it?
*Do you send it to your legal department because you don’t accept unsolicited submissions?
*Is there a particular person or department that reviews these kinds of submissions?
AND HOW DO NEW IDEAS FILTER THROUGH YOUR COMPANY? FROM THE BOTTOM UP OR THE TOP DOWN?
When you look at a new idea, who looks at it?
And how closely do they look at?
During the course of a year, how many “new ideas” do you act on and how many “new ideas” do you pass on?
How do you budget for new ideas? Do you have a testing budget? And how do you proceed?
NOW, ON THE SELLING SIDE...HOW DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS THROUGH THE GATEKEEPERS, THE ADMINS AND THE WORDS “SORRY, WE DON’T ACCEPT ANY UNSOLICITED MATERIALS”...
Suppose you have a great idea for a project that could make a lot of money, where do you go with it? To whom should you send the presentation?
Can you make the presentation in person? Would they like to receive it by regular mail or by email? Will they even look at an “unsolicited proposal?”
Let’s say the company you want to pitch is located so far away that you can’t easily make a presentation in person. If you mail your presentation, chances are that it may never get past the “Admin.”
Your proposal may also never get read. The other possibility is that the boss or the admin will refer it to the next in command...who refers it to their next in command...who refers it to their next in command until they refer it to someone who has no command.
Then, when you try to follow up on the presentation with a phone call, your chances of getting a human are slim to none and your message often just winds up in limbo.
Sometimes, you’ll also get a “No.” That’s at least an answer, even if it came from the lowest person on the totem pole.
So, what can you do to get past the gatekeepers?
“The oddest thing about some proposals is how they go through the chain of command at different companies” according to Barrows.
So, if you have a good idea, or even a great idea, how do you get that idea through the chain of command?
The answer is probably a combination of patience, persistence, persuasiveness and luck.
How does innovation take place? Can it happen from the outside of a company or only from within?
So, do you have a great idea that is going nowhere?
Have you been turned down so many times that it looks as though it will never get sold?
Is there any way you can produce the idea yourself? Does it require a lot of capital to make it work? Can you contact any of that industry’s trade publications and pitch an article about it without revealing the secret sauce? Or are you destined to have a briefcase full of great ideas that aren’t making anybody any money?
“These are the kinds of problems that “salespeople”
How many great ideas do companies miss out on because no one even read an outside proposal or even a proposal from within the company?
“Over the years, I have been pitching books that nobody has read, art that nobody has seen, songs that nobody has heard, and I’ve also been pitching proposals for newspapers, radio, television and internet companies that could generate very substantial revenues for those businesses.
So how do you sell all this stuff? Who do you have to see to make it happen? Anyone got any suggestions?
In addition to proposals for various media projects and proposals for two web-based projects, I am also the inventor of a video tombstone called “The Video Enhanced Gravemarker”
Cemetery of Lies is a collection of intimate, secret confessions, as told from beyond the grave, through video tombstones. (www.barrows.com/
Video tombstones will create a whole new genre of storytelling, perfect for books, movies and TV, and I have also been pitching the book and the video tombstone to various publishing, entertainment and media companies.
I have also developed proposals for two web-based businesses that could generate very tremendous revenues, on an ongoing basis, and the proposals would be ideal for major mass media companies because they could promote it easily and it would also give them access to tens of thousands of potential advertisers. An easy sell? Sure... if you can get past the gatekeepers and the delegators...especially the CEOs who delegate everything to their subordinates.
So, if you’ve got a good idea, what’s the best way to pitch it and what’s the best way to make an end run around the gatekeepers?
And what do you do when they say no? If you are a reporter, and you are pitching an idea to your editor, and your editor says no, do you pursue it privately, or do you just go on to the next story...even if you know there is a Pulitzer Prize in your future if you follow your intuition?
And for the rest of us with “great ideas,” are they destined to be told from our video tombstones, or is there a chance we can make them happen?
“If anyone reading this might be interested in taking a look at some of the projects and proposals I have been pitching, and if they might also have some suggestions about how to get past the gatekeepers...and if they might know someone who might know someone who might know someone who might be interested in taking a look at some of these projects and proposals...”