Bring v2.0 when you are pitching v1.0

February 21, 2019

Is that headline right? Yes, it is. When you are pitching new product to a retail or distribution partner the typical meeting is you in a room pitching an individual or a small team. They are normally category managers who should know their category inside and out. Which means you should also know their category inside and out and be prepared to deliver them options that will WOW or complement their existing line up.

The good news is, if you are already in the room then there is decent interest in whatever product version you initially pitched to them. These meetings are very hard to land so it is a good compliment to your product and you are in with a shot. What I am talking about with v2.0 is having an advanced or alternative configuration as a back up sample ready to show for the following reasons.

  • Your meeting may not be going well. v1.0 might not be hitting the right price points or feature sets or may not be bringing the same sizzle live that your virtual sales pitch you used to land the meeting did. If at all possible, have a concept v2.0 mocked up and on hand as a back up. It is worth the investment as an insurance policy that you can pivot to if needed.
  • From the time you initially pitched your product the game may have changed. Maybe the market changed slightly on price points. Maybe a competitor came out with a dead ringer for your offer. Maybe the buyer (the physical person) is someone new, moved in from a different department to replace Bob who just got fired. Point being, having a wild card v2.0 sample on hand and be ready to pull it out to help combat any of these maybe situations.
  • You very well may have changed your thinking on your project. That extra feature set that you initially did not think was possible ended up being possible. So, you pitched v1.0, landed the meeting, then proved v2.0 was possible before your meeting. Bring that extra v2.0 sizzle to the meeting.
    • This very situation happened to a project I was involved with. In our case it was about material choice (that also added multiple feature benefits to the product). v1.0 material choice was aluminum and v2.0 was transparent PC. Once we proved v2.0 we knew it was going to kill in the meeting but we still pitched v1.0 for the first half of the meeting. The buyers liked it and they were going to order, great. But when we whipped out v2.0, game over, orders increased, excitement increased, they brought several other team members in the room, it was champagne time.

You never know in a product pitch meeting how things are going to go. I like to have v2.0 on hand just in case. But I also like to have v2.0 developed because v2.0 will often be the winner and continues to help you hone your sales pitch and helps you to understand your products potential better. In my example with using PC over aluminum, not only was the PC cheaper for us to manufacture it also helped us secure an increased per unit profit for our product.

If we rested at v1.0 and said good enough we would have never been able to unlock our products potential and take it to the next level.

Gary Moran

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