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The Pyramid Principle: A Tool to Help Run Smooth and Effective Discovery Calls

The Pyramid Principle

Are you a solo entrepreneur struggling to convey your ideas effectively during discovery calls with potential clients? If so, you’re definitely not alone – I feel you!

I came across “The Pyramid Principle” after my mentor, Hannele, shared the article with me after one of our latest coaching sessions. As I read through the article, reflections immediately started to spark my mind: this new tool could help me improve the way I communicate ideas and run discovery calls in my new freelance web development and design services venture, but also help me in this life-long challenge I’ve had with structuring my ideas effectively.

But what exactly is the Pyramid Principle?

In essence, the Pyramid Principle, developed by Barbara Minto, stands as a communication powerhouse in the consulting world. It advocates for leading with the conclusion or recommendation before delving into supporting details, offering a framework to structure ideas effectively, especially in high-stakes scenarios. You can read more about it in-depth here.

Here are some examples of what this could look like in practice (examples taken from the original article)

Let assume a basic question:

Honey-bear, what time will you be home for dinner?

Here’s how most people tend to answer:

Well poopsie, I have to drop off my dry cleaning, return a video to Blockbuster, and pick up Fozzie from the groomer, so I should be home at 6 p.m.

Here’s the same reply, but putting the answer first (as encouraged by the Pyramid Principle)

I should be home at 6 p.m. because I have to drop off my dry cleaning, return the video to blockbuster, and pick up Fozzie from the groomer.

Bringing it Home: Pyramid Principle in the Context of Solo Entrepreneurship

As a solo entrepreneur offering freelance services and 1-on-1 coaching, my day-to-day doesn’t really involve presenting ideas to big business executives. However, I’m keenly aware of the value this communication approach holds, especially in sales (which is something I’ve done for quite a while).

Recently, as I’ve been crafting ideas for new services, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the Pyramid Principle and the typical structure “Discovery Calls” – a crucial step in my client’s onboarding process. The traditional structure mirrors the Pyramid Principle in its clarity upfront, setting expectations, and allowing the focus to be on the client’s perspective first, hence avoiding bombarding them with a detached sales pitch.

Practical Application: How the Pyramid Principle Resonates with Discovery Calls

Let’s break down the typical structure of a discovery call:

  1. Rapport: Making the person feel welcome.
  2. Agenda: Establishing the goals of the call.
  3. Pain Points: Figuring out the needs of the client.
  4. Budget & Timeline: Evaluating the scope and expectations.
  5. Proposal: Formulating a proposal aligned with the client’s needs.
  6. Next Steps: Suggesting next steps to the client.

Now, while the whole structure of the call can be seen through that lens, the Sales Proposal part is a definite candidate to apply the Pyramid Principle to. Here’s a more concrete example of how a sales proposal could be formulated based on the principle:

  • Stating the Answer First: “To help you update your website and generate more sales, I can provide a service package including a brand audit, web design, and web development.”

  • Key Points & Detailed Breakdown

    • Brand Audit: The brand audit serves as the foundational step. During this session, we conduct a workshop to clarify the client’s brand direction, ensuring alignment with their goals.

    • Web Design: The web design phase focuses on the visual aspect, offering two mood boards, two layouts, and the final design for a one-page website.

    • Web Development: The development phase is dedicated to implementing the solution, encompassing SEO, hosting, and seamless integration with the client’s existing domain.

This structured breakdown not only adheres to the principles of the Pyramid Principle but also aligns with the clarity and concise communication sought in both consulting and sales scenarios. The Pyramid Principle, when applied to discovery calls and sales proposals, becomes a powerful tool for effective communication and impactful recommendations.

The Takeaway: An Unconventional but Powerful Communication Tool

While the Pyramid Principle is a new concept for me, in practice, presenting the conclusion first feels slightly unnatural, but I can already see the potential benefits it could bring to clarity and concise communication. I often catch myself presenting details before the main point, leading to repetition and diluted messages. This principle seems like a fast-track to refining my communication style, building confidence, and, most importantly, delivering ideas more effectively.

Looking Forward: Harnessing the Pyramid Principle in Future Endeavors

The real test awaits as I integrate the Pyramid Principle into my upcoming discovery calls with potential customers, although I’m nonetheless looking forward to start applying the concept to start improving my communication!

Connect with Hannele:

Feel free to connect with my mentor, Hannele, on LinkedIn.

Read the Original Article:

Explore the in-depth insights on the Pyramid Principle here.

Also, if you are in need of a web developer & designer, feel free to reach out to me here or on LinkedIn!