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DIPADA – Simple Frameworks for Perfect Pitches

DIPADA – Simple Frameworks for Perfect Pitches

Learn how to leverage effective conversational techniques to drive revenue opportunities

Nick Fawbert

Whilst grabbing customer attention to kickstart a discussion can get you off to the right start, effective business pitches work because they solve problems – and building engagement is the biggest challenge you will face.

Open the Door

If you’ve been following the series, you’ll know how a simple framework establishes the foundation for a successful pitch:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

If you need a quick refresher, you can learn about the AIDA framework here.

The challenge revolves around driving interest.

Icebreakers don’t naturally lead into your customer opening their hearts about their trials and tribulations. If we’re going to stop a few moments of awkward silence that may consign your pitch to the dustbin, we need to know how we get things going.

We need a framework that sparks a relationship, and communicates your goodwill and commitment to helping your customer grow their business.

Drive Interest

Putting a customer in the right frame of mind revolves around establishing you and your services as a problem solver. We need to focus on three key motives:

  • Relevance
  • Importance
  • Urgency

We know that launching into a prepared speech about the virtues of your products and services does none of the above, so we need another framework to get us going.

This is where the DIPADA framework springs into action…

HINT | Leveraging Frameworks

Great frameworks are like an inspiring recipe. They provide a useful set of ingredients and a general guide for execution.

They give you the flexibility to adjust, adapt and amend to suit your tastes. They empower you to showcase your individual skills and add in the unique ideas that keep people coming back for more.

The real success of a framework lies in your personal touch, the things that you do to make it special.

A successful framework often gets confused with an instruction booklet, but follow the instructions too rigidly and you’ll end up with a bland, predictable outcome that will be instantly forgotten.

So use frameworks wisely: capitalise on the crucial ingredients, but be flexible in your execution.

DIPADA

DIPADA is a tortured but popular mnemonic that addresses a six stage framework for pitching:

  • Define the problem
  • Identify the solution
  • Prove your capability
  • Agree an outcome
  • Stimulate Desire
  • Drive Action

It builds upon the simple premise established by AIDA, to provide inspiration for the pitch and increased relevance for the customer.

It works because it not only provides a structure for a casual conversation but it translates equally effectively to a formal pitch.

The everyday use of DIPADA is apparent well outside the business environment. If you’ve had conversations like these, you’ve just been subject to DIPADA:

“Hi, looking forward to seeing you tonight, we’re going to ditch another boring night in and paint the town red! You remember that film you loved – Prometheus – well, the sequel is out. I’ve booked us a taxi at 7pm, Gold Class cinema seats and dinner for two afterwards…. Are you in?”

Your partner has raised the problem of a boring night, proposed a night out as the solution, done all the hard work and built your enthusiasm based on previous success.

All you have to do is agree.

So we know how effective the approach can be.

It works just as well in business.

Define

If the essence of business is problem solving, then finding out what your customer problems are is critical.

Sources are abundant:

  • Government policy
  • Consumers
  • Industry bodies
  • Industry experts
  • Competitors
  • Colleagues
  • Customers

If you’re looking to kickstart a conversation about problem solving, insight and observations from those sources are the best place to start.

But as we progress down the list the importance and relevance of those problems start to scale noticeably.

In the final assessment your customer is only ever going to invest in solving those problems that are unique to them.

That means third party sources are often great stepping stones to build customer confidence, but that’s all they are.

Your primary source is the customer themselves, and that means they need to tell you!

Defining problems leverages two key skills:

  • Questioning technique
  • Listening skills

Your questioning technique reflects the way in which you can use contextual information like current events, industry challenges or competitor activity to prompt insights and clarifications from your customer about their own situation.

Your listening skills reflect the way in which you can distinguish between two types of problem:

  • those to which you can only offer empathy and support
  • those to which you can offer specific and actionable solutions

Identify

Translating customer problems and needs into specific and actionable solutions lies at the heart of a great pitch.

An effective approach picks out all the relevant issues and offers them back to customers for affirmation:

“It’s a great challenge, so it looks like we have these issues to address…”

If you get agreement, that’s the right time to move on, if not, find out what you missed.

A great solution covers the whole problem, not just the products and services your company supplies.

Your ability to recognise and summarise the situation in terms your customer recognises and understands is they key to establishing authority and credibility.

Proof

The crucial part of your pitch is proving your capability.

Don’t overreach, pick the points that speak to your core competency:

“We help our customers in two of those areas, they are…”

Establishing proof leverages another key skill we explore in more detail in another article:

  • Explain how a feature of your product or services…
  • Delivers an advantage to your customers…
  • That offers them a benefit in solving the problem

Effective pitches will focus on a very limited number of provable benefits and provide performance or testimonial evidence to support them.

It may be that you can offer secondary solutions, but your main task is to build an initial working relationship. You can explore secondary options at a later date.

Agreement

Don’t be afraid to ask:

“How would these work for you?”

If your customer recognises the opportunity, it’s time to move on.

If they don’t, ask what they feel are the weaknesses of the solution and aim to address them with more evidence or reassurance.

Desire

To build desire, you need to create motivation and incentive for your customer to act immediately.

Aim to visualise the outcome, focus on the benefits and advantages the customer derives, and don’t be afraid to create urgency around areas like:

  • Risk factors like competitor activity
  • Business factors like budget periods
  • Time factors like seasonality
  • Scarcity factors like availability
  • Delivery factors like resources
  • Financial factors like discounts

Action

As illustrated in AIDA, the primary customer action we need is a confirmation of intent.

Typically, this means listing the activities needed to progress, the proposed solutions and the expected outcomes.

Then ask them outright if you are good to move on.

We need the nod of the customer and permission to proceed.

The Big Stage

The beauty of DIPADA lies in its scalability and transferability.

Not only does it work in a conversational style, but it also applies to major presentations.

If you’ve done your homework well, and worked hard at establishing business context and challenges that you can overcome, DIPADA provides an effective formula for everything from PowerPoint presentations to keynote speeches.

Takeways

DIPADA builds upon the simplicity of AIDA to add another layer of complexity, but the beauty of the framework is that it not only offers a view of the overall process, but that it gives you specific actions to focus upon.

  • Define the problem
  • Identify the solution
  • Prove your capability
  • Agree an outcome
  • Stimulate Desire
  • Drive Action

As with all frameworks, success will lie with your ability to use and apply the process in a seamless, everyday manner - nobody wants a robot!

Get Started

The easiest way to develop DIPADA skills is through role playing:

  • Imagine customer encounters and scenarios
  • Establish likely problems
  • Identify solutions that your company can resolve
  • Create a library of handy proof points, from research to testimonials
  • Rehearse your approach and take advice from your colleagues

There’s no greater test than the real world, so next time you’re out and about, put the principles into action and see where they take you!

Good luck!

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Nick Fawbert

Nick FawbertNick Fawbert

With 25 years in the media and marketing industry, and almost 20 of those in digital marketing, Nick is one of the most experienced practitioners in the Asia marketing industry. He is Founder and CEO of Mutiny Consulting.

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