Pitching is for Baseball, Not Professional Sales

I love sales and salespeople. My dad was a master salesperson and sold telephone book cover advertising for years and had great success. My dad could pitch with the best of them. And if he was alive today and still pitching, I would respectfully ask him to lay down his ball and glove and consider another approach to sales. If you are pitching your products and services and not getting too many hits, then read on.

You, my friend, have a pair of ears. They are your MOST valuable asset in the world of sales. Your pitching mouth is THE problem.

The stereotype salesperson that everyone loves to hate is that person that can’t wait to pitch his product or service. If he can get you in a corner, then he can butter you up, then pitch at you and wear you down with lots of words and features and benefits until you are too tired to resist the close. Closing is where he shines, using years of experience in manipulation, master closing techniques, scripts, and subtle psychological pressures and persuasion. This fellow has a magnanimous personality combined with a silky smooth tongue and could convince any Eskimo that he needs a new deep freeze in the dead of winter. Add in some slick wheeling and dealing, a polyester plaid coat, and you have created an image that rivals Godzilla in most people’s mind.

I am not suggesting that you fit this description. What I am asking you to consider is to totally shift your context for sales and salespeople.

A professional salesperson is a master problem solver. She is kind, listening, curious, and asks great questions. He always considers his audience and shows respect by gaining agreement and permission before he engages in his professional role. A true sales master is only interested in serving and providing world class value – value being defined as what is best for his customer. He is a curious detective that realizes until he uncovers and understands what the customer really wants, he has nothing to offer. He never has to pitch or persuade, but only offer what the customer wants. He loves yes and no equally because he respects his customer’s right to choose. Most of his time is spent listening and clarifying what the customer wants. His goal is clarity and agreement. Once there is agreement, he facilitates a simple straightforward process to get the customer exactly what they want when they want it.

Does that describe the way you and your team do business? It’s worth some reflection. Please make this world better by limiting your pitching to the ballpark!!

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