Welcome to Year One
March 20, 2023

#031 - Nora DiNuzzo // Pitcher

#031 - Nora DiNuzzo // Pitcher
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On this episode of YearOne we speak to Nora DiNuzzo, Founder & President of Pitcher, a brand strategy and GROWTH consultancy for small businesses. 

We speak about

  • Business Development skills
  • Prospect qualifying criteria
  • Payment terms
  • Importance of your brand
  • Outsourcing what you suck at

This is a very practical, advice based episode so sit back, buckle up and enjoy the show  


Summary of our conversation:


  • So my first agency was called FSC. I was there for about four years and it was what we would call a boutique style of agency, like 10, 15, 20 people, pretty small. It was actually a great starting place because you get to do a little bit of everything.
  • And so that’s how I got into doing business development or new business as we would call it in the agency world. So what was weird though about that size of agency is that I would write the RFP, then I would go and pitch it, then if we won it, they would be like, well, Nora, you know the most about this, so you work on it.
  • Eventually I picked the business development lane and have been in that track for most of my career over 10 years.
  • So, okay, so I was at FSC for four years, then I went to another bigger agency. So I did that for about almost three years. And then I had an opportunity to go to like, kind of that Goldilocks, like, okay, if FSC was too small and Mark maybe would like on the bigger side or too big for me, the just right size for me with my third agency, which was called Smith Brothers. So I was with them almost nine years, eight and a half years. But that was like my Goldilocks size. When I got there, they were maybe 30, 35 people and at the largest, we got up to maybe like 65, 70 people. So that was like the sweet spot for me.
  • Other skills that you need for business development. Well, yeah, thick skin for sure. You are going to lose more than you’re going to win. You also have to develop a ability to ask questions, because you have to dig in. Like really ask like good questions. People are afraid. People agencies are so afraid of clients. They are so afraid to ask these questions. But it’s like you are interviewing them just as much as they’re interviewing you.
  • And the number one question you have to ask is what is the budget. And my rule is no budget, no pitch.
  • Talk about the money. We were so uncomfortable talking about the money.
  • You have to get comfortable talking about it. It is a waste of your time and theirs. It is actually disrespectful to not talk about the money. People think, oh, its disrespectful to ask about the money, it’s the opposite. You are going to waste their time, they’re going to waste yours.
  • Trying to figure out how much they actually have, it’s a game. So if you start thinking about it like a game that you’re playing instead of being nervous about it. Like who cares if they don’t have enough money for you anyway? So don’t worry about it, just don’t be nervous about it.
  • Coming up with a qualifier checklist, there are some that are commercially available. If you are a member of the 4A, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, they have a great like pre-qualifier checklist for new business. But a big one is, do you have access to the decision maker which is not always evident right at the beginning of the pitch? And then also you should ask the front what the payment terms are.
  • When you’re coaching new founders or business owners, this idea of net terms, it’ so weird because like every day people get up, go to work, they get paid every two weeks. And the minute I’m a consultant, the minute I’m a business, the minute I’m not an employee, this 90 day things happen and I still gotta eat. Ive met a lot of really rich entrepreneurs that are cash poor and all it takes is one little thing and their terms go back or whatever.
  • I’m always talking about how to get creative with how you’re compensated, especially as an entrepreneur, protect yourself. Don’t do work for free because then you leave yourself in danger of being ghosted by somebody and having done the work and not been paid for it.
  • My business is called Pitcher, so everyone’s always expecting me to pitch them like immediately like pitch me, pitch me on pitcher. Pitcher is a brand strategy and growth consultancy for small businesses (25 million in annual revenue).
  • Usually people don’t know that their brand is a mess. So the problem is eventually your brand will matter. So it is critical to build the brand correctly from the beginning.
  • If you’re not growing, you’re dying. So everyone should want to grow. If you’re a founder and you don’t want to grow, you may not be a founder for very long. So, yeah, so everyone needs to grow.
  • A brand is what your customer says it is to them. You have to put the story behind it. Like why should people give a shit about you and your brand and your company or your founders story or whatever Like why should they care? There’s a million brands in the world. They only care about it if it means something to them and if it can do something for them.
  • The idea of some organization helping small businesses grow and succeed is resonating with people. If someone calls you and wants to work with you, the thought process, in most people’s minds would be, how do I convince them to work with me, how do I win this? I’m usually, how do I find out if I could actually help them and I feel like most of the times I probably can’t because I can only work on so many things at a time. So, why would I spin my wheels working on something I know nothing about and don’t have anything of value to contribute if I could put them in touch with somebody else who could do a much better job and l just take a 10% finder’s fee on that.
  • You need other people to help you and, the concept of zones of genius and I dont know who came up with that but I hear coaches talk about it all this time and some of my coaches talk about it but like you can only be a genius at so many things. I’m only a genius at three things: brand strategy, growth and inbound marketing that’s it. So the first thing I did was outsource my finance  because I would be trying to write an invoice and it would take me hours, just one invoice. So there’s an ROI right there. Think about what you are not uniquely good at and what other people could add in terms of value and bring those people in.
  • Write, research, read and become comfortable presenting. Those are things that people I think in any field can benefit from.