Ditch the Pitch to Close the Sale

On Steve's Mind: a Newsletter

Ditch the Pitch

Ditch the Pitch is a concept that helps salespeople improve their performance by turning sales presentations into spontaneous, improvised conversations that are personally relevant to the customer with whom they are speaking.

People who learn to Ditch the Pitch sometimes ask me, “What do I do when it’s time to close a sale?”

The answer is simple: Keep ditching the pitch.

Closing the sale is just one of many interactions with your customer—although, to the salesperson, it’s the most important one! The close is the natural result of your persuasive conversation with a customer.  If you stop conversing and present your close as a pitch, you will destroy all of the conversational momentum you have created.

Here’s how to use the Ditch the Pitch principles to keep yourself moving towards the close.

Figure out what’s going on

When you think it is time to close the sale, don’t start presenting your customer with reasons he should buy. Instead, continue to assess your customer’s situation, asking  for feedback to ensure that you know exactly what is going on.  Always be in input mode, sizing up the scene to ensure you understand exactly what your customer is thinking and what his perspective is.

Not only will this help your customer feel heard, it will ensure you have all of the information you need to close the sale.

This understanding puts you in the perfect position of no guessing! By the time you are ready to close, you should have a very good idea of how your customer will react, and what his objections might be.

Go with the flow

As you get this feedback, keep the conversation going strong. If you don’t fully understand yet why your customer will buy, keep exploring and heightening until you have found why.

As you explore and heighten, don’t close until you have found the higher level reasons your customer wants to buy from you; the reasons people buy are rarely the core product or service features you offer. For example, people buy iPhones for a variety of personal and emotional reasons, like to stay in touch with other people. Hardly anyone compares the tech specs and hardware features. These features are only there to enable the higher level reasons people buy. Use your flowing conversation to find out what your customer’s higher-level reasons are.

Let a shared story emerge

As you feel ready to close, recap the situation in a way that creates a shared story, where your customer sees his needs and your offerings as woven together and interdependent.  Remember to keep 95% of the subject matter focused on the customer as you create an integrated picture of your work together.

Your customer will be ready to buy when this shared story is so strong that he can’t imagine moving ahead without you. 

When you Ditch the Pitch, closing a sale is not something you do to your customer. It is something you do with your customer. You walk across the finish line together, with both of you clearly understanding why it is in your best interest to do business together.  This happens by using the Ditch the Pitch Habits to create a shared story in your customer’s mind where he says, “I want to do this. I can’t get it anywhere else.”

 

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