But you also need to break one bad habit: Delivering sales pitches.
Throughout our lives, we have been over-conditioned to explain, convince, describe and cajole that it’s easy to lapse into pitching, sometimes without even noticing it. We can be in the middle of a fluid dialogue, successfully ditching the pitch,when something triggers the “sales pitch reflex” and suddenly we start pitching.
What are your “pitch triggers?” What situations can cause you to lapse into a sales pitch?
Here are some common pitch triggers, and suggestions for using the Ditch the Pitch Habits to counter them. Your first challenge is to be aware of and acknowledge your pitch triggers. Then you can rely on the Ditch the Pitch Habits and practices to help you avoid pitching.
Pitch trigger: You have lots of exciting information you want to communicate
We all love to deliver news to our customers. Information about new products, an award our company received, a new improvement to our products; these can all create excitement that can trigger us to slip, inadvertently, into a pitch. This is especially true if you have lots of information to communicate, and you feel the need to tell your customer all of your news.
The solution: This is a good time to practice Ditch the Pitch Habit #6: Don’t rush the story, especially the practices Don’t load the slingshot and Leave things in your pocket. Patience is often an antidote for the excitement-induced sales pitch.
Pitch trigger: The other person isn’t listening
If you think you’ve lost someone’s attention, it’s tempting to start talking more to earn their attention back. Before you know it, you’re pitching to a person whose mind is in another place. Not very productive.
The solution: This is a time to rely on Ditch the Pitch Habit #1: Think input before output, especially the practice Say less to notice more. The best way to earn back someone’s attention is to get them talking. The worst way is for you to keep talking.
Pitch trigger: The other person isn’t agreeing
Isn’t it frustrating when a customer should agree with you, but doesn’t? It’s tempting, in this situation, to explain to the other person why they should agree with you. But it’s likely that this explanation isn’t going to convince the other person to change their mind.
The solution: Here’s a great opportunity to rely on Ditch the Pitch Habit #2:Size up the scene. When I witness people arguing, I often notice they are not always clear about exactly what the other person is disagreeing with. Figure out what’s really going on by ensuring that you understand exactly what your customer is disagreeing with. This will help you fine-tune the way you are navigating the conversation.
Pitch trigger: The other person doesn’t get it
When someone doesn’t understand what you are saying, it’s tempting to lapse into a pitch for two reasons: 1) you want to explain it to them until they get it and 2) you get frustrated. As Socrates taught us in Plato’s Dialogues, it’s much more effective for someone to learn through dialogue than to be convinced through monologue.
The solution: Ditch the Pitch Habit #3: Create a series of “yeses“ is a helpful tool for helping someone “see the light.” Create a conversation that is a series of small affirmations, helping the person to understand a bit at a time.
Pitch trigger: The other person seems
A willing audience is a dangerous pitch trigger, and you can lose the other person’s interest quickly if you interpret their interest as permission to deliver a monologue.
The solution: This is a great opportunity to use Ditch the Pitch Habit #4:Explore and heighten. Use the other person’s interest as a springboard to take the conversation to a higher level, engaging your customer even deeper into a conversation that matters to her.
Pitch trigger: You are not confident in a
No matter how seasoned you are, you may find yourself in a persuasive situation where you are less confident. Maybe you’re selling a new product or you’re selling to a big group of out-sized personalities. Maybe you think you’ve just said the wrong thing. In these situations, it’s tempting to start talking about yourself and what you are selling.
The solution: This is a very important time to rely on Ditch the Pitch Habit #5: Focus the conversation on your customer. Take the focus off you, and put it where it belongs, on your customer.
Avoiding our pitch triggers is a key step to ditching the pitch. The good news: The Ditch the Pitch Habits can help you steer yourself away from any situation where you are tempted to pitch. Go ahead, Ditch the Pitch!
What are your pitch triggers? Please share them by commenting on this blog post.