The MLB World Series starts next week and though pitching is an important aspect of winning baseball games, I don’t think it has a place in most sales situations.
You see, I have been on the receiving end of several aggressive sales approaches the last few weeks where a presentation of the “solution” was thrust upon me before I was ready to hear about it.
These “pitches” weren’t always about a product; some were ideas or suggestions.
And they have me thinking about how easy it is to show and tell what we have or what we do prematurely — and what it feels like from the buyer’s side. As a buyer:
- My mind went into high alert – trying to figure out how to get out of the situation
- I felt irritated with the other person
- I was not open to hearing what they had to say
These premature presentations are dangerous. If someone pitches something at you and you aren’t ready, what do you? There are limited options: duck, get hit, or bat it away.
It’s the same when we start showing and telling the details of our solution to a buyer prematurely—all kinds of things can go wrong. The buyer:
- Has no interest
- Tries to get away from you or doesn’t listen
- Doesn’t have a context in which to view it, meaning it has less value
- Thinks the cost is always too much
How then do we keep from presenting prematurely, or, pitching? First, converse with the buyer–engage them with questions and relevant discussion to identify if there is openness to a recommendation.
As you discuss your solution, involve the prospect by asking feedback questions to ensure they want to hear more. While some believe that your chances to move forward are reduced when asking for permission to do so, pitching information that is batted away ends any opportunity you might have had.
p.s. Do you coach someone? It’s the same for them; if they are not open to a suggestion or recommendation, the likelihood of them taking action is low. Instead, before you make a recommendation, ask them if they would like to hear how they can do something about the situation.