Different is BETTER than Better

When pitching a new company a new product or service, we tend to talk more about how its better than an existing solution or competitor already out there. We think this is easier and more approachable to our prospects. But there is a better way to frame your pitch and it’s about being different…

Recently, I approached a large publishing group that has two great and rapidly growing food publications. My goal was to get them onboard with creating a wine club and have our company power it with product and fulfillment services for a revenue share on all sales. They have never had a wine club before so this would be new territory.

I was able to track down the be the best candidate for receiving my idea, in this case the executive director for partnerships and business development. After crafting a cold email that eluded to having many creative ideas for a partnership with our company and her’s I was able to schedule an exploratory call.

Since I did my homework to craft a creative business concept for us and them I then needed to position the idea as better than the rest. This is was initial thinking — we can offer something that is better than the competition but ultimately the same concept. I quickly realized that this person and company was not interested in a similar service as their competitors, they wanted something completely innovative. Alright.. I CAN RESPECT THAT but can I deliver that?

It occurred to me that while we essentially did have a very similar yet better product, we do have a very different product. For example while other companies offer a single preselected wine club under the curated uniqueness of their brand, we could offer a wine subscription where the customer could create their own based options such as price, varieties, regions all while being able to change any options at anytime.

Adjusting my pitch and framing the idea as being very different and not focusing on how better some old business model could be, sparked their excitement and enthusiasm. I’m still a ways from closing a deal but reframing my pitch got us a in-depth follow up meeting with an idea the company has generally avoided.

Innovation is a buzz word that gets thrown around a lot now. I try to not use it so much. You might think you’ll be taking more of a risk in being different but it might get you a lot farther than playing it safe and being just a bit better.

Don’t be afraid to.