The Top 5 Reasons Sales Pitches Don’t Work

People do not want to be assaulted by one-way communications. They want to be invited into two-way conversations where they can be heard and understood.

But a “pitch” is inherently a one-way process. You pitch something over the side of a boat into the sea. A pitcher pours water in one direction – out. To throw a baseball is to pitch. What happens when a pitcher throws a ball directly at a batter? The batter usually ducks or jumps out of the way. Here are the top five reasons people are so averse to sales pitches.

Why sales pitches don’t work, #1: Your customer doesn’t care about your story

I’m sorry to be the one to deliver the bad news, but here’s the unadorned truth: Your customer really doesn’t care what you have to say about yourself, your company and your products. Your story is not that interesting to him. He cares much more about his own story. This is at the heart of why sales pitches don’t work.

Your customer spends 1% of 1% of 1% of his time thinking about products like yours, but he spends each waking minute thinking about himself. He only cares about your story to the extent that your story can enrich his story.

The greatest myth of marketing and sales is that customers want to hear our stories. They care about their own stories, and a sales pitch is, inherently, your story. What do you think is more likely to catch the attention of your customer, a story about you or a story about him?

As Aristotle said, “The fool tells me his reasons. The wise man persuades me with my own.”

Why sales pitches don’t work, #2:
If you are pitching, your customer will stop listening

Because your customer cares so much more about his own story than he cares about your story, it is really difficult to hold his attention as you deliver your sales pitch. If you give a sales pitch, it’s highly likely that your customer will be distracted by thoughts of other things, everything from his next meeting to making sure he gets to his son’s little league game tonight.

Your customer has many important things to do today. If you focus too much on your story, those more immediate concerns will draw his attention away from you.

Why sales pitches don’t work #3:
Your customer wants to talk

Your customer wants to talk. Specifically, your customer wants to talk about himself.

It is not enough to ask questions during your pitch, or to leave moments in your pitch for your customer to talk. This won’t feel like talking, it will feel like answering. It is the difference between a conversation and an interview.

Most people love to talk. And, they are much more engaged in the moment when they are talking than when they are listening.

Why sales pitches don’t work #4:
It’s a one in a million chance that your canned pitch is what this particular customer wants or needs

If you throw a canned sales pitch at someone, the odds of that pre-scripted message being the right message for that customer, at that particular time, are very slim.

Every customer has slightly different needs, nuances and interests. A sales pitch is relatively inflexible and will not be able to adapt to what you will learn during a customer interaction.

Most successful selling isn’t about convincing. It’s about diagnosing. If you are pitching, it is only a coincidence if the pitch you toss at your customer lands in the right place. Unlike a sales pitch, a good sales conversation helps you diagnose your customer’s interests, needs and opportunities. And, it helps you identify the details that make this customer unique.

Why sales pitches don’t work #5:
You make the customer do the work of attaching your features to his needs

Your product may be exactly what your customer needs. But your customer needs to see the connection between what you offer and what he needs. This isn’t so easy.

If you are telling your customer how wonderful you are, and how your product benefits people like him, you are requiring him to make the specific connection between his needs and your offering. That’s a lot of work, and he’s not inclined to do it. Your approach to sales should help your customer see this connection.

We’ve seen the top five reasons sales pitches don’t work. So what are we supposed to do? Stop selling? Of course not. We just need to stop making sales pitches.

Instead, we need to create sales conversations. We need to Ditch the Pitch.

Steve Yastrow

Tagged with:
Posted in Ditch the Pitch, Newsletters, Sales
One comment on “The Top 5 Reasons Sales Pitches Don’t Work
  1. Don Drews says:

    Your 5 reasons sales pitches don’t work is dead on, Steve. Selling is changing (along with Marketing) and the “We interaction” approach–a unique conversation about their world–is what customers have really always wanted. The good news: it’s still early enough in the shift that sellers who ditch the pitch will stand out. Keep it coming!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Subscribe to the Blog
Email:  

On Steve's Mind
Get Steve's newsletter featuring his ideas and practical advice delivered to your email inbox.
* = required field
Latest Tweets
Testimonials
jim-winter
Steve put together a program that produced spectacular results, and the quality of our communication and customer satisfaction is vastly improved. I’ve been in business for 40 years, and Steve’s the first consultant that I’ve gotten my money’s worth from. We’re going to continue to work with Steve and the bright, energetic people that are on his team.

Jim Winter

COO, Dimension Design
Chris Miller
I rarely book speakers more than once. But I’ve used Steve four times! Steve has our association’s interest at heart and works tirelessly to deliver customized programs. He always ranks highly with our affiliates because he is outcome-focused, fast-paced and highly engaging. Anyone looking for insight and understanding into marketing, branding and sales should book Steve!

Chris Miller

Executive Director, Professional Systems Network International
Ditch the Pitch is a great read-- interesting, fun, and easy to follow. And I’ve already seen the concepts work. Just yesterday, I called a client and had a conversation that was 95% about the client, as the book suggests. At the end of the call, he sent a new matter my way. I ditched the pitch and it resulted in new business.

Attorney

Chicago, IL
David Sank
I highly recommend Yastrow and Company to any business that is intent on enhancing their customer experience. Prior to working with Steve, we were communicating various messages to customers. Steve and his team helped us achieve a cohesive brand message that we as a company live daily. Steve is an incredible listener and learned the nuances of our business rapidly. I can’t imagine anyone Yastrow and Company couldn’t help.

David Sank

President and CEO, Calico Cottage
jim-evans
Yastrow and Company introduced Brand Harmony and their Be the Brand concept to our team at Jenny Craig.  I believe these new ideas contributed in helping us triple the company's revenue during my years as CEO.

Jim Evans

former President and CEO, Jenny Craig
Ward Alles
Steve Yastrow knows his stuff. That's why our management team has read all of his books. And that's why we've had him as a keynote speaker at both client and employee events. From creating brand alignment, to selling more effectively, to providing top-notch customer service, Steve offers words of wisdom based on real-life experiences. He always engages his audiences with questions, interactive exercises and great storytelling that keep you coming back for more. Read Steve's books. Then book Steve. You'll be glad you did.

Ward Alles

CEO, Core Creative
Kathleen Phillips
Not only is Steve's content sound, but the energy he displays in delivering it will knock your socks off.

Kathleen Phillips

Ernst & Young, Chicago, IL
Jennifer Whelan
Our work with Yastrow and Company yielded the best long-term value of any consulting engagement we’ve ever had. As we grow and expand internationally, Acuative continues to depend on the branding approach and marketing tools Steve and his team developed. Yastrow and Company genuinely partnered with us, were exceptionally responsive and remain committed to our success.

Jennifer Whelan

Vice President of Marketing, Acuative
american-licorice-logo
We have seen huge benefits from Steve's input. Steve is unlike any other consultant I've ever worked with. He takes a genuine, deep-seated interest in our business. He is intuitive and able to identify problem issues quickly. We wouldn't be as far along in acheiving of our long-term growth strategy if we hadn't actively and aggressively pursued Steve's Brand Harmony.

Michael MacDonald

Executive VP Sales and Marketing, American Licorice Co.
Tom Peters
When Steve Yastrow writes, I pay close attention.

Tom Peters

Founder, Tom Peters Company
Chris Tucker
Steve is a creative and collaborative speaker who communicates his ideas clearly and concisely. He immediately understood our business needs and provided a better perspective on how our customers see us as a company. I have referred Steve to our customers in the past and I will continue to do so. He’s intuitive and has a unique way of looking at business. Steve has the experience to turn a project into something extremely valuable for any organization. I strongly recommend working with Yastrow and Company.

Chris Tucker

Director of Business Development, MBX Systems
Alex von Bidder
Steve Yastrow's teachings are applicable to any business that values long-standing success based on personal relationships.

Alex von Bidder

Managing Partner, The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York
Jennifer Whelan
“Steve’s workshops helped bring out what is best at Acuative. His insights were fresh and long-lasting—we continue to use his tools and approach years later.”

Jennifer Whelan

Vice President of Marketing, Acuative
roma-maxwell
Rancho La Puerta has enjoyed continued success because of the work we did with Yastrow and Company. Together, we implemented business strategies that have contributed to our success. Steve and his team truly believe in our brand. I highly recommend Yastrow and Company to any business that needs help building the bottom line.

Roma Maxwell

Director of Sales and Marketing, Rancho La Puerta
Alex von Bidder
In these high pressure times of bite-size communications we all hunger to be listened to and cared for individually. Our customers know great hospitality, the kind that is not about selling but treating their needs as our highest priority. Steve Yastrow’s teachings are applicable to any business that values long-standing success based on personal relationships.

Alex von Bidder

Managing Partner, The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York
Doug Ducey
In one morning, Steve re-energized the way we look at marketing. The only question we had at the end of the session was, ‘When can we get him back?'

Doug Ducey

CEO & Chairman, Cold Stone Creamery, Governor of Arizona
Rhoda Olsen
Steve Yastrow has clearly described the emotional reality of customer relationships and their impact on profitable business growth.

Rhoda Olsen

President, Great Clips for Hair
roma-maxwell
Rancho La Puerta has enjoyed continued success because of the work we did with Yastrow and Company. Together, we implemented business strategies that have contributed to our success. Steve and his team truly believe in our brand, and our experience with them was empowering, fun and a great learning opportunity. I highly recommend Yastrow and Company to any business that needs help building the bottom line

Roma Maxwell

Roma Maxwell, Director of Sales and Marketing, Rancho La Puerta
Craig Dwight
Steve’s approach to integrating all customer contacts into a comprehensive marketing message is a must in today’s information age. We have partnered with Steve to develop our integrated and comprehensive marketing message, and as a result of his excellent work, his new book is required reading for all of our employees.

Craig Dwight

Chairman & CEO, Horizon Bancorp
Marc Allen
We are absolutely better off after engaging Yastrow and Company. They helped us look at our business from our clients’ perspective, resulting in a cultural shift throughout our organization. These changes have made a big impact - we’ve gained new clients and strengthened relationships with existing clients. The investment was well worth it.

Marc Allen

Vice President of Sales, AMD Industries
Mike Depatie
Steve Yastrow is at the forefront of the next evolution in marketing. We have implemented many of his innovative ideas... and have seen very positive results.

Mike Depatie

CEO, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants
roma-maxwell
I give Steve two thumbs up—five thumbs up, if I had that many!

Roma Maxwell

Roma Maxwell, Director of Sales and Marketing, Rancho La Puerta