Engaging CultureStrategy & Marketing

Pitching to “Relationship People” versus “Results People”

One of the keys to successful pitching is understanding the person to whom you’re pitching.  When it comes to pitches, there are usually two kinds of people:  Relationship People and Results People.  Relationship people like to talk.  They like the interchange.  It takes awhile to get to your project because they want to chat about the weather, your kids, the big game last night – anything.  Meetings with relationship people can be 90% chit-chat and 10% substance.  Think of buying something from a street vendor in the Middle East.  It’s a complete opera – waving hands, arguing back and forth, lot’s of activity – all just to buy an apple.  That’s a relationship person.  On the other hand, I’m a results person.

My mantra is “Don’t tell me how deep the water is, just bring in the boat.”  I want you to get to the point, and don’t bore me with the details.  You may have lovely children, but results people don’t want to hear about them.  They just want to know why you’re taking up their time.

It’s not a matter of one being better, it’s a matter of recognizing the difference.   And knowing that information can mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to pitching.


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  1. Editors are like movie producers. An unsolicited manuscript has less than five seconds to convince me I should read any further.

  2. Phil-

    As always, you hit the nail on the head! After years of fundraising experience, it all boils down to the types of people you’re trying to reach. When you present/sell a vision, you MUST determine if that person is relational or result-inclined. I have found that most people with means (money) are NOT relational. Their time is valuable and you need to cut to the chase and tell them why you’re there. The vast majority of those donors to a ministry ARE relational. These are you regular, monthly $25 givers. They care about YOU and not just your cause. You can save a lot of time and effort by sorting out the two, pre-determine BEFORE you approach a person which category they fall into, and then plan accordingly. Your success rate will increase while your frustration level will decrease.

  3. I’m in the middle of a project that has one results person, two relationship people, and two half-breeds.  I’m one of the half-breeds.  I speak both languages.  It’s been helpful that the results person recognizes that he’s working with relationship people.  And it’s been super helpful that the relationship people recognize that they’re working with a results person.  It took some time, but we got to a place where we recognize these differences as strengths and have started to develop a relationship/results hybrid oriented shorthand.  

    Nosce te ipsum! 

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