Ditch the Pitch! has certainly been my theme lately. Since I’m deep into writing a book by that name, this writing experience has me super-tuned in to the problems with pitches.
So if you want to avoid sales pitches, what do you substitute them with?
Nobody wants to hear your pitch, but they may want to be in a conversation with you. So if you ditch the pitch, and instead focus on creating an engaging dialogue with your customer, you will have a much better chance of success, no matter what it is you are selling.
A sales conversation gives you the opportunity to adapt to your customer’s situation. It gives you a chance to let your customer talk. It gives you a chance to avoid saying things your customer doesn’t care about.
Let’s look at the contrast between sales pitches and sales conversations:
|The Sales Pitch||The Sales Conversation|
|You deliver it||You and your customer engage in it|
|It’s about you||It’s about the customer|
|You script it, planning what to say ahead of time||You and your customer create it, determining what to say as the conversation unfolds|
|It is prescriptive||It is diagnostic|
|It is one-way||It is two-way|
|You sell to your customer||You help your customer buy|
|You guess about what you should say||Your customer shows you what to say|
|You wait for feedback||You receive feedback throughout|
|You sell to a customer||You build a relationship|
|You talk about what you are selling||You talk about your customer|
|It is boring to your customer, and it gets more boring as it proceeds||It is interesting to your customer, and it gets more interesting as it proceeds|
|It’s a coincidence if you say what your customer wants to hear||You are very likely to say what your customer wants to hear|
|One in a million chance it is appropriate to your customer’s situation.||Highly likely it is appropriate to your customer’s situation.|
Any time you are giving a sales pitch, you will be better off with a sales conversation. Anytime. No exceptions. Even if you are presenting to a committee of 13 stuffed-shirt, sour-pussed, RFP-issuing, procurement-driven buyers, you will improve your chances of success if you can create a conversation. And it’s even more true if you are in a real-life, one-on-one sales situation.
Go for relevance. Go for interest. Converse.
Avoid seeming self-centered. Avoid boring your customer.
Ditch the Pitch.