B2bsales's Blog
"We help people stop selling."

Pitch is for Baseball

┬áIn my recent search for additional sales consultants, I have discovered something interesting: People are afraid of “sales.”

OK, so I didn’t just discover that; I obviously have known it for a long time. I would tell prospective consultants that I would hear a hesitation in their voice when interviewing them and I asked why. “What do you think will be involved?” I asked.

I heard several different things, but mostly just, “Well, lots of cold calling and pitching your product.” Yuck! I would be hesitant, too, if that was what my business called for. But the truth is, most of the sales jobs out there are just that: cold calling and pitching. No wonder so many are unsuccessful and burnt out.

First things first, I tell them. You are not there to “pitch” anything. Your job in sales is to find enough people to ask questions to and see if what you have is a fit for them. That may or may not involve cold calling – and if you have read my column before you know I am not a fan of cold calling – but it most certainly does not involve “pitching.”

Our son is a pitcher for his high school baseball team – and a darn good one, I might add. When a batter comes to the plate, he knows it’s his turn. The batter is expecting a pitch, and he has a plan of what he will do when the ball arrives. I have a feeling that if our son was walking down the hall on a regular school day and decided to “pitch” a ball to someone, even one of the batters from his team, he would get in some trouble (at the least) and could very well wind up with a black eye from the guy he threw it at.

But this, people, is what we do all of the time. Yep, we cold call people, on the phone or in person, and “pitch” them our product without them being ready or qualified to receive it. Most of the time we get a polite “no, thank you,” and sometimes not so polite, but the result is the same. The old adage “throw enough stuff against the wall and see what sticks” is the most ridiculous load of “ridiculousness” I have ever heard.

Let’s go back to baseball for a second. Do you think that if Randy Johnson was taught that if he threw enough balls, he would become a great pitcher, he actually would be? No! It’s not the quantity you throw alone, it is the quality and who you are throwing to. Is the person you are throwing to a lefty, a righty, etc.? Preparation and analysis of the batter is key.

Sales works the same. Stop pitching to everyone you see. Take some time to learn what they want and what they need, and then prepare the correct solution. Who knows: You might actually hit a home run.

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