Each customer situation implies its own persuasion strategy.Ditching the Pitch means developing a persuasion strategy, on the spot, depending on the situation you find yourself in. You can’t plan your pitch ahead of time, because the odds that the pitch you create ahead of time is right for a particular customer in a particular situation are about one in a billion. You can’t possibly know the best approach to take until you Figure out what’s going on.

The best improvisers are the best listeners. To determine what to do or say, they don’t search mental file folders for pre-written scripts. Instead, they look to the world around them, alert and confident that they will soon understand the situation in front of them. Eventually, this understanding will enable them to navigate the situation effectively.

You can learn many things about a persuasive situation when you pay attention to it closely. First, you can learn many things about your customer. If it is someone you are meeting for the first time, you will observe a virtual fireworks display of personality characteristics. Every person has their own blend of disposition, temperament, intensity level, thinking style, conversation style, confidence level, pace, and other character traits that are often revealed immediately during a first encounter.

If you are speaking with someone you already know, you can always learn more about them. How are their various personality characteristics activated right now? Which are more prominent today, and which have retreated into the background?

At the same time, if you are paying attention, you can learn much about your customer’s situation. What is going on around them, and how are they reacting to it? What are they trying to change? What is making them happy?

Understanding your customer, understanding your customer’s situation, and understanding how your customer is interacting with that situation, are the keys to Figuring out what’s going on.The reason: the better you understand these things, the better you understand your customer’s perspective, and the better you can craft a one-of-a-kind persuasion strategy that is right for this customer at this moment in time.

As you improvise persuasive conversations, you must be assured that you will soon know what to do, even if you don’t know what to do right now. You can have the confidence to improvise in knowing that Figuring out what’s going on is the key to finding the right path.

Ditch the Pitch Habits to help you Figure out what’s going on
There are two Ditch the Pitch Habits that will help you Figure out what’s going on, and we will explore them more deeply in the next two issues of this newsletter.

Ditch the Pitch Habit #1: Think Input Before Output
As you master this habit, you will learn to look to the world around you to guide the creation of a new, spontaneous persuasion approaches to unique situations, instead of looking inward for pre-conceived and pre-packaged ideas.

Ditch the Pitch Habit #2: Size Up the Scene 
Every situation has its own “game” or plot that is a function of the characters in it, the forces driving it, and the way the characters are reacting to it.

Improving your ability to Ditch the Pitch is like turning up a dimmer switch; no matter how good you are now, you can dial up your capabilities a little at a time, getting better each time you interact with a customer. Between now and the November publication of Ditch the Pitch, get acquainted with the concepts and habits that will help you create spontaneous, fresh, engaging persuasive conversations. Start this process by heightening your awareness of your surroundings and Figuring out what’s going on. Pay attention to the situations you are in, and you’ll be surprised by how much they readily reveal to you.

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