When the Pitch is OK

I’m adamant against the sales pitch.  Showing up and throwing up is the worst sales habit there is.  The presentation needs to go.  But, just as I say that, like i before e, there is an exception.

The exception is education.  Many sales cycles require some level of education.   When a product is new, when a customer is implementing something for the first time, when it’s a new industry, the pitch makes sense.  The key to selling is meeting the customers needs, it’s fixing their problems.   With existing or known products and services, the pitch isn’t as important, but when the customer knows NOTHING about your product, if the product never existed before, if what you do is new on the scene, the pitch is actually rather critical.  It’s where you educate the customer.

Some friends just launched a new service in the ski industry.  They were telling me about a sales call they had and how much time they spent describing the product and what it could do for the ski resort.  At first, I was going to school him on the importance of questions, and getting to why, and the importance of discovery, but as I listened it was clear.  His prospects had no comprehension of what his service could do.  My buddy had no choice but to pitch.   The prospect needed to be educated.  In his companies case it was even worse, as many prospective customers jumped to very negative assumptions of what he did and without educating them quickly they weren’t going to give him more than a second.

Education is important in sales.   There is a time to pitch, when telling is selling. It’s when educating is important to the sale.  The key however,  is to know when, why, how long and for what reason.

There is an exception to every rule including those in sales.  Selling is not telling and there is no room for the pitch in sales except when you need to educate.  That’s the exception!