Know when not to sell. Take the No Pitch Pledge.
Now that we’ve discussed how trimming the sheer volume of content can improve your ability to generate interest and demand, let’s talk about making some adjustments to the ways you communicate. Let’s start with sales calls in Part I, and then move onto more general communications in Part II next week.
So you’ve read all the hip books on selling, and you may even have some pretty consultative selling course certificates proudly displayed on your wall. Or not… It doesn’t really matter.
When you finally get a meeting with your prospective buyer, you diligently ask your 3 tremendously insightful and impactful business questions…
- What do you have in place today?
- Why are you looking to make a change?
- How would you measure success?
…and then jump into your sales pitch. You lay it all out, hoping that the buyer will bite on something. At the end, there’s a hearty handshake and you agree to follow up in a couple of weeks. You can never reach the buyer again. Hear the Twilight Zone theme playing in the background?
Is this you? I’m sure that you are very passionate about your company and products, and that is commendable. You are just showing your enthusiasm in the wrong ways. The first meeting is rarely a “sales” meeting, so why are you trying to sell?
Here’s where you need to take the No Pitch Pledge.
- Start asking more questions and listening to the responses, rather than just waiting for the best time to start the pitch.
- Have a real business conversation about company objectives, how those relate to the buyer’s goals, and even how the company is changing their industry.
- Discuss ways that you may be able to share insight and information (other clients, partners, aggregate data, etc.), rather than talking about how your product works.
- Just say NO if the buyer asks for your pitch. If you don’t learn anything new, you’re exactly the same as everyone else who met with this buyer – a vendor.
When you take the No Pitch Pledge, you have a chance to build much more than a PowerPoint presentation. You’ll receive:
- More information about the industry/company/department, with details that may help you present a more comprehensive and unique solution than your competitors.
- More information about your buyer, with some personal information if you are lucky.
- The start of a real business relationship. You become a trusted advisor, a source of information that will improve the buyer’s ability to succeed. He/she needs you.
- A chance to come back again to present real, meaningful solutions.
- The sale.
Is this more difficult? Absolutely! Does it take more up-front preparation? Much more. Will this work every time? Absolutely not! There’s a happy medium in here someplace, and you’ll need to gauge the buyer’s willingness to communicate based on responses to your first questions. But wouldn’t you rather be the 1% who builds long-term business and client relationships rather than the 99% who just show up and throw up?
They’ll call you back…