1992-the-player - jaws in space online pitching weekend

This message was intended solely for writers and film-makers, until I realised that pitching and persuading is something that everyone in the media has to get good at.

And then I thought, everyone else in the world needs to be good at pitching and persuading too.

So I thought this week we’d look at why most people are crap at it.

Be a better salesperson than the local drug dealer

As someone once said to me, selling has a bad rep with many people, but if you want to get listened to, you better be good at it.

Or, as he went on, if you’re a parent of teenagers, you better be a better salesperson than the local drug-dealer.

And the truth is, most people are rubbish at it.

The reason is often very simple. They think about it the wrong way round.

What do they want?

Most people think of pitching and persuading as doing something to someone. Trying to get them to do something that’s good for them, but they won’t listen.

Whether that’s cleaning their room, doing the recycling or indeed buying your film script.

But that’s not it at all.

If you want to pitch to anyone – friend, spouse, child, parent or film producer – you have to start not with what you want but with what they want. What do they want in life?

In particular, what problem can you help them solve?

Selling boils down to one simple idea: be enormously helpful.

Whatever you’re “selling”, think about who you want to get on your side and how your shiny new idea can help solve their problems.

Then they might just listen.