Regularly I find myself on the receiving end of a pitch of some sort, as do all in business. We all buy and sell on a daily basis, and whilst there are easily recognisable and specialised functions that buy and sell on behalf of our organisations, we nevertheless are “pitchers”, and “pitchees” every day.
It seems that one of the impacts of digital communication has been to help us forget, or perhaps brush over some of the foundation sales skills honed over the millennia of human activity, so here they are again:
- Listen rather than speak. Asking questions, listening to the responses, and then asking the follow up questions has always been, and will always be the best sales strategy.
- Benefits not features. When you are speaking, talk about the benefits of your offering to the “pitchee” rather than reciting the features. Customers are really only interested in what value a product is to them, not what the range of features may be, so focus on value to them by demonstrating how your product makes their life easier, more efficient, and more productive.
- Deliver useful insights, knowledge, and intelligence. Being of value to a customer is more than just flogging product, it is also about articulating the context in which the product will be used to add value. Clearly however, there is a line here with confidentiality, any potential customer who hears what their competitors may be doing from you will never trust you again to keep their confidence, but the best sales people are always able to deliver solutions to problems they have collaborated to articulate.
Easy to say, often hard to do.