When have you ever heard anyone tell you lead with your weakness? Very likely never. If you read parenting blogs, maybe you’ve heard of one site called Babble. Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman started an online magazine called Babble to share real relevant parenting information. Rufus pitched his site to venture capitalists and raised $3.3 million in funding. Three years later he pitched his site to Disney and sold it for $40 million.
Before he succeeded, Rufus failed because he was sharing only the positive side of his idea. He was faced with a crowd of skeptics. When you sell an idea to a skeptical crowd and all you share is the up side, they feel they are definitely being sold to or that you are not smart enough to evaluate your own idea objectively. This creates a feeling of caution and distrust.
The next time around Rufus included a slide “Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Buy Babble.” He mentioned a few opportunities with the site and target audience. The investors chuckled and then relaxed. This tactic was disarming, it was honest, it caused the investors to become his allies in discussing those few problems. He seemed intelligent to them because he was aware of the holes in his idea.
The group came to his side and when he mentioned the strength of his idea, it had more of an impact. He was able to connect from a position of honesty and raise the capital he needed and then finally sell his site. The next time you are selling an idea to a room full of skeptics, try this method out. Be transparent, lead with your weakness, its disarming it’s human and it engages the need of others to want to help and understand. It says I respect you and I am telling you the truth, come join me.