Five years ago, my brother Phil was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. (Good news: As of this writing, he’s in great shape. In fact, he ran the Boston Marathon two months ago, and rode a 150-mile MS charity bike ride two weeks ago.)  I remember those traumatic weeks after the initial diagnosis, which were filled with fear, uncertainty and unanswerable questions.

Choosing a course of treatment was one of the toughest things Phil faced in those first days after his diagnosis. He was inundated with information from doctors, pharmaceutical companies and experts.  At one point he called me and said, “I’ve realized that all information falls into one of two categories: It either is or isn’t a sales pitch.”  The easiest way for Phil to filter information was to discount all of the sales pitches.

There is nothing more obvious than an overt sales pitch.  And there is nothing more likely to raise a customer’s defenses.

What happens to you when you detect a pitch? Imagine these scenarios:

  • Your financial planner is discussing your long-term financial health with you, and you realize he is trying to sell you life insurance.
  • You are chatting with someone at a party and you suddenly understand that he hopes to install the latest in home security at your house.
  • A website that provides information on your disease is sponsored by a company that makes the medication your doctor didn’t recommend.

Doesn’t the evaluation equation in your mind change the moment you detect the pitch?

Ditch the pitch.

1 Comment

  • Clemens Rettich
    Jul 06, 2010 - 12:47 pm

    You nailed both the concept and the examples. I hate that feeling of being in mid-conversation with that sickening feeling dawning on you… this person really doesn’t care about me. There is a sale in the air. It sucks.

    Even when I am in a conversation with a potential client, I make it clear that the conversation is just that: a conversation. As with any meaningful relationship, either it leads to something more, or it doesn’t. A great conversation is the sign of better things to come. If it feels like I need to ‘sell’ myself, its not a relationship that will work. Better to walk away now.

    Its also why I have no time for coaching ‘programs’ or ‘packages’. A coaching or consulting relationship based on listening and understanding is not a commodity that can be ‘sold’. ABS (always be selling)? Not in my world.

    Thank you for staying on that remarkable relationships message. The world needs to get this.

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