Ditch the Pitch

I’ve got a lot of time for marketing guru Steve YastrowIn his latest blog post, he puts forward a controversial suggestion – that as salespeople we should stop pitching!

It’s such an easy trap to fall into. We’ve passionate about our product and we can’t wait to launch into a pitch that extols the virtues of what we do and how satisfied our customers are. Yastrow’s point however is that we have to get to know our prospect first before we can possibly think about delivering a proposition. That means asking questions and listening to the answers.

Most sales people lapse into monologue rather than having a genuine conversation with someone. Yastrow even comes up with his Conversationonemeter (the spell checker doesn’t like THAT one!) as a way of checking how effective your skills are in this area.

It reminded me of a story I read somewhere about a rather self-centered actor. He’d read the script but had a query for the director, “What shall I do in the gaps?” he asked. The director didn’t think there were any gaps and asked him to clarify. “I mean the gaps between when I’m speaking.”

As Yastrow points out, most selling isn’t about pitching, it’s about diagnosing – and that’s a two-way process.

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