How to get what you really want

by Bruce Kasanoff on May 4, 2011

I’ve spent the past six weeks working with an entrepreneur, helping him hone his pitch.

Two days ago, he gathered a team of super-smart professionals in a room and encouraged them to tear his business plan apart, and then help him fix it so it is invulnerable. My job was to put into words – 10 slides, actually – the new vision developed by that team.

At the end of the day, I was talking alone to my client. We were debating the pros and cons of various suggestions.

Suddenly, it hit me. I knew what he wanted. I knew what his pitch had to accomplish.

Why did it take six weeks?

It turns out that Frank, as we’ll call my client, wasn’t ready to tell me or anyone else what he really wanted. He was concerned people would say he’s crazy, or they just wouldn’t get the big picture.

So he told me a bunch of other stuff that didn’t make 100% sense. I couldn’t puzzle out why, because Frank is extremely smart and has launched one successful company after another.

What he wants is audacious. It would be laughable if 99 out of 100 people suggested it. But I have no doubt he can pull it off.

Now that we have clarity, I’m confident that Frank will be successful (again.)

I’m a huge believer in this: tell everyone who will listen exactly what you want. Even if you get laughed out of the room 50 times, it’s the only way to make certain that when you meet a person or organization who can say “yes,” that you describe with utter clarity what you want and why you should have it.

Previous post:

Next post: