The group handing out free coffee and bagels was a friendly new start up called Task Rabbit. Task Rabbit is a service that provides a helpful, skilled and also safe (all their task rabbits receive full background checks) person to take on your tasks. Whether you need help with grocery shopping, someone to pick up printer ink, or help putting together that new desk from IKEA, Task Rabbit has you covered.
I had heard of Task Rabbit, as NPR did a nice piece on start ups a few months ago that included a representative from the company. I mention this, because it makes what happened next even more extraordinary. As I was walking toward the crowd, I was approached by one of the Task Rabbit folks. "Can I offer you some coffee and a bagel?" Now to be offered anything as the Mother of a toddler is enough to make me break down and cry with gratitude, not to mention my daughter was starting to fuss in the stroller already. It had been three blocks. When I smiled and said, "No thanks," that's when Task Rabbit floored me with a smooth and sensational pitch! Seriously. I have been thinking about how brilliant this was for DAYS!
Instead of being thrown by my polite refusal, the gentleman continued to approach me asking, "Do you know Task Rabbit?" "Yes," I said. Refusal #2. I was not giving this guy an in at all. When I said yes, he smiled and proceeded with a super concise pitch that somehow was directly relevant to me. We talked about my business, Zelma Rose, and how I often needed things like ink or shipping supplies and how running out for even the shortest errand always took twice as long with a toddler in tow. He gave me a few clear examples of how Task Rabbit could help, including making post office runs, picking up supplies, and helping with tasks related on my online shopping sites. He then handed me two coupon cards one for me and one for my business. Amazing. He had me hooked, and after I had already refused. Twice. The truly incredible part was that I was not annoyed.
This has baffled me for the past few days. I usually avoid people giving things away on the street like the plague. And I have no problem saying no, politely or rude as hell, so why did I engage with Task Rabbit? What was it specifically about the pitch? I will be thinking about this for a long time, but for now, here's what I've got:
- The Art of Not Being Thrown
- Know Your Product & Your Audience
- Believe in Your Product & It's Success
I'll be posting more about this for sure. I'm not done thinking about it and I would love to really nail what was special about my interactions with Task Rabbit that morning, so we can all apply it to our own pitch.
What are your thoughts?