baseballThe MLB World Series is over – what a great series it was! My Illinois co-horts and friends are still celebrating and appreciative of the pitching that helped win it all. While it is important in baseball, pitching doesn’t really have a place in most sales situations.

I can pick up the phone at least once a day and be pitched at. A solution is thrown at me before I am ready or even open to learn or hear what they have to share.

It seems the “sales pitch” is believed to be effective in gaining attention and winning sales. Not for me, how about you? I don’t appreciate the premature show and tell of what they have, most times that have zero relevance to me. As a buyer, when I am pitched at:

  • I try to figure out how to get out of the situation as fast as possible
  • I get irritated with the other person
  • I am not open to hearing what they have to say

These premature presentations or solution bombardments are dangerous. If someone pitches something at you and you aren’t ready, you have limited options for action: duck, get hit, or foul it away.

Our buyers are in the same predicament when we start showing and telling the details of our solution prematurely. The buyer:

  • Doesn’t listen and has zero interest
  • Tries to get away from you quickly
  • Doesn’t have a context in which to view your information, your words have less value
  • Becomes focused on the cost

Okay, so we need to “ditch the pitch”, what do we do instead? First, converse with the buyer – engage them with questions and relevant discussion to identify if there is openness to a recommendation.

Involve the buyer as you discuss your solution with feedback questions to ensure they want to hear more. While it may seem that your chances to move forward in a sales conversation are reduced when you ask for permission to do so, you’ll kill any opportunity you might have with pitched information that is batted away.

p.s. Do you lead, manage, or coach sales reps? It’s the same for them; if you want them to learn or do something different, first make sure they are open to a suggestion or recommendation. Before you make a recommendation, ask them if they would like to hear how they can do something about the situation.