Who are you, and why are you here?

The agency business is a relationship business. Same goes for any other form of professional service you might offer.

Delivering good work may feel like your primary obligation, but it’s the relationships that keep your clients paying their bills.

Work hard on your craft, and you might win a few awards or recognition from your peers.

Work on your relationships, and you’ll control your financial future.

15 years as an accidental salesman

Yesterday I recorded a video for our upcoming Sales Jumpstart course. The course is shaping up to be one of my all-time favorites, because it’s allowed me to reflect on everything I’ve learned the past 15 years as an accidental salesman.

Yes, my ability to sell anything has been a complete accident. It didn’t come from classical sales training. Or reading books or watching Simon Sinek TED talks.

Learning to sell came as a byproduct of hunger. Of not wanting to admit I wasn’t capable of entrepreneurship. Out of necessity. Selling to survive.

Reflecting throughout Sales Jumpstart brought me on a historical rollercoaster. After digging up one of my sales decks from 2007, I recorded a video dedicated to narrating the pitch for my services. Some of the presentation elements came off as naïve. While many other elements remain in my playbook for selling in 2017. Everything was different, yet everything was the same.

Another video had me walking through a pitch deck template that any of you can use to close your next deal. It started with the basics, and ended with a 10-minute, impassioned call to action. A deep dive into the mindset you must have to deliver a successful sales pitch.

I’ll give you a hint, it’s not about SEO or Web Design or Branding or Editing or Analytics or Social media or any other service you provide.

Testing the strength of your relationships

In a relationship business, you benefit immensely from building relationships with your prospective clients.

Camaraderie with your contacts. Pals with your prospects. Laughing with your leads.

None of that matters when you walk into a pitch situation. No matter how good your relationship is with your point of contact, you are walking into an ambush.

Others in the room don’t know you. They probably don’t care much about you. They might even view you as a threat.

They probably won’t laugh at your jokes. They will probably take your friendly relationship for granted. They will be cold. Hostile, even.

When you pitch, you are not walking on stage into a rock concert. You are entering hostile territory.

It’s your job to turn the audience on your side. One hour to convince people they can’t live without you.

Time is ticking.

Who are you, and why are you here?

If you are ever unfortunate enough to find yourself in prison, you have two options to survive: Kick someone’s *** the first day or become someone’s *****.

I don’t advise this strategy for pitching your services. Unless you want to go to prison. Also, never miss a chance to quote Office Space

In a pitch situation, your two options are to make someone’s life easier or hook them on their new future. Taking your prospects on a journey from barely knowing who you are, to dying to work with you.

Start by addressing the question “who are you, and why are you here?”

You are meeting someone for the first time. What do you say to bring them to your side?

Do you establish your credibility? Do you tell them their baby is ugly? Do you share a case study? Do you get right into hawking your services?

I’ve tried all of these approaches, and have had varying levels of success with each.

But only one answers the “who are you” question. And that is to establish your credibility right away. Then quickly dive into your narrative.

A visit from your future self

From there, the real work begins. You have 55 minutes left to turn a cold room into raving fans.

Next week, I will share some ideas for how to get there.


  1. Christian

    Interesting take on the question “Who are you and why are you here?”. I learned somewhere, and I can’t remember exactly, but the more you align your pitch with what the client values, the better your chances for closing. You want them to ultimately say “This is for me, and this is the person who will make it happen!”, whatever you’re selling. I think that goes right along with what you’re saying about positioning and having people dying to work with you.

    I find, in many instances whether it’s a brand new potential client or an existing one with whom I want to expand my offering, I start with looking at things through their eyes. I present them with a potential challenge that we both agree they are experiencing, then I walk them through the door of what my offering can solve, then we take a step back and assess the bigger picture. “What do you see this doing for your business?” “How would you use this in your workflow”. I like to get them thinking in realistic terms and start to envision their new reality. Most of the time, it ends up in a close *or* it gets put on the revisit list as part of an existing healthy, iterative working relationship.

    1. Jeff Sauer Post author

      That’s great, Christian. Would love to talk more with you about your approach, as it seems like you’ve got it nailed!

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