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'Think of Me Later - How to Pitch a Second Project' from Women's Leadership Author, Speaker and Consultant Selena Rezvani

Think of Me Later - How to Pitch a Second Project

[ Monday, Jan 13, 2014 ]

You never forget the moment you receive the news of your first big business opportunity. It may be a speaking engagement, a contract with a big client, a book deal, or consulting job.  Often the external validation of making that first deal instills a confidence that our business really is viable. 

My first business success came when I received a contract to publish my first book, The Next Generation of Women Leaders.  I knew the stories in it had to be told, as business schools were failing to really educate women on how to succeed.  I was certain my book would help other women who were entering a tough marketplace.  I also wanted this book to be the first in a line of projects on my path as a women’s leader, author and consultant.  So not only did I have to bring my ‘A game’ to the project, I had to start planning a path that reached beyond the current endeavor…including what was up next.  I had to start a plan for my next pitch before the first one was even off the ground. 

The plan for the second pitch starts the minute you receive that great news the first time.  How you react and conduct yourself starts to establish a relationship with the other side of the venture.  If they hold the keys to a possible follow-up, they are watching you closely to make sure you’re worth investing in again.  What can you do to distinguish yourself?  For a start, stay organized, focused, and prepare meticulously to exceed expectations.  Perform above the level that’s expected with communication and all deliverables.   

Take the time to personally follow-up with each of your key contacts individually.  When I got my first television spot as a guest commentator on NBC, I remember a veteran author telling me to thank the producer afterward and to ask the producer to reach out if she had another spot that would fit my expertise.  I did this and it allowed me to come back to the same NBC program multiple times.  If you treat relationships like one-time transactions, even if that’s all you’ve contracted with the other side for, there won’t be any future collaborations between the two of you.  Instead, cultivate and tend to your network like they’re long-term relationships, worth investing in. 

Your second pitch needs a well thought-out plan so ensure you put significant thinking into that process.  Don’t rest on your previous success or assume you can waltz in with a half-hearted effort.  Think about what you learned the first time about your contacts, their communication styles, and how you could now better address their needs.  You can mention the last endeavor, but a bulk of your new pitch should be about your new idea.  What value will you add to their company, bottom line, body of knowledge or workforce? 

Each of us has a bit more swagger when we’re moving up the learning curve and no longer rookies.  Use your new knowledge and improved confidence to your advantage.  When I pitched my second book, Pushback, I had a formula for a book concept that I loved, that readers seemed to enjoy, and that allowed me to include the input of dozens of women leaders all while preserving my own voice.  Negotiating my second book deal and book concept was therefore a much a more pleasant process than the first.  I knew I had a system down pat and I knew that system delivered value. 

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “The minute you start your job you begin applying for your next one.”  To break it down further―the skills, attitude, and accomplishments you build from the minute you start a particular job will help you land your next position.  This same philosophy holds true when pitching a second idea.  It builds on the reputation you developed during the success of your first project.  Think long-range when you make your next pitch and assume you will be a long term partner to your counterpart.  Invest in them and they will invest in you.