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I got pitch-slapped

Liz Wendling //December 4, 2013//

I got pitch-slapped

Liz Wendling //December 4, 2013//

Today’s consumers don’t want to be assaulted by canned sales pitches and one-way monologues. They are sick and tired of being on the receiving end of those types of conversations. They want to be invited into a two-way dialogue where they can be heard and understood.

Unfortunately, many companies are still using outdated sales pitches as their selling strategy. They believe that telling prospects about their company, their services, and their reputation, is an effective way to inspire people to buy. Rather than changing their approach, companies turn up the heat and continue to pitch slap consumers.

I recently took a trip to Charlotte, NC to assist my parents in unpacking their new home in a brand new community.  I noticed many sales reps canvassing and trolling the neighborhood for new business. This included window treatments, cable services, interior painters, landscapers and decorators, to name a few.

From inside the garage I noticed someone walking up the driveway. It was a safety expert (aka: sales rep) from a home security company.  Joan introduced herself with a big and lively greeting. “Welcome to the neighborhood.”  

Joan, the sales rep and posing as a certified safety expert said she was in the neighborhood and was “popping by.” Joan launched into her firm’s cookie-cutter, seller centered sales pitch. She touted her company’s superiority, length of time in business, quality of work and their unbeatable pricing plans. Joan insisted that she was not trying to sell us anything.  I guess Joan’s company told her that outdated approach from the 1970’s still works on today’s smart and savvy customers.

Game on! We were officially being pitch-slapped.

I asked Joan why her company thought it was important to install security systems in new gated communities. She launched in her second sales pitch about how high end homes are often the most targeted for burglaries and violent break-ins. She told how thieves target unsuspecting homeowners with a false sense of security make it easy for criminals to break in. “Surely you’re aware of these type of break-in’s right? How about we set up an appointment to ensure this does not happen to you in your new home?”

Joan also advised us that newer gated communities were her specialty.  With a noticeable soft tone in her voice, Joan said, “Criminals don’t care about gates and security. But, our company cares about consumers, like you. Instead of living with the false sense of security with gates and a guard, you can sleep like a baby knowing you get a real sense of security with our system. How about we set up an appointment to ensure this does not happen to you in your new home?”

Joan was trained alright—trained to pitch-slap prospects into securing an appointment. Trained to sell and don’t waste a moment attempting to build rapport or connect. Trained to get the appointment and not bother to ask questions, understand the customer’s needs and build value.

Joan’s security company failed miserably with her training approach. The approach repelled instead of attracted customers. Joan lacked essential techniques such as asking questions about customer’s needs, prior to pushing her solutions. She was not taught how to take the time to make people feel open and comfortable instead of guarded and closed.  She was not taught how to connect, build value and create a selling opportunity.  She was not taught to talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours.

Joan lacked the all-important element of selling – your customer’s needs always come first. Your product or service is secondary to the customer needs and expectations.

Pitch-slapping someone will never earn trust and motivate people to buy from you. To really connect with a prospect, you have to make it about them. You must listen to and understand their problems, their needs, their company and their situation. No matter how fantastic you think you are or how amazing your product is, no one’s going to buy it unless you fit their needs.

My dad turned to me and said, “Her company needs to hire you!”