There it was again today. Two words so un-descriptive of what really happens during the sales process; the “sales pitch.” I cringe every time I hear someone use the term. The sales process is the furthest thing from a “pitch.”
The object of pitching is to throw a baseball and make the batter miss. So does that mean the object of a sales pitch is to make your prospect swing and miss? If the prospect misses, do you get the sale? If your sales pitch is a hit, does that mean your prospect has accomplished something negative toward your goals? Even worse, if the client “hits one out of the park,” do you go home the loser? And when do you intentionally walk your prospect or use your brush back pitch?
Using the term “sales pitch” gives people the impression that there will be an instant result, you throw the ball and something happens. In baseball, either someone hits your pitch (which is not good for a pitcher) and is either safe or out; swings and misses; swings and fouls one off; or does nothing and the umpire determines if your pitch is ball or a strike. It takes on average 292 pitches1,2, 146 from each side to complete a game. Imagine if your success for one sale was based on giving 146 “pitches.” That’s exhausting. If you gave one pitch per day, and each pitch took you an hour, you would need 146 hours and make a sale every 29 weeks. But I digress.
There are no instant results during most of today’s sales processes. Selling is not a competition. It is not an “us versus them” arena. It is not a let me throw the ball 95 miles per hour at you and see if your piece of sugar maple can hit it. Not even close. Sales is the process of asking questions, gathering information, understanding needs, and offering a solution that helps better your client’s or customer’s condition. Selling is a win-win agreement. You don’t get a win-win outcome by throwing a ball at someone. Success in achieved through obtaining knowledge, thought and consideration, education, and the true desire to help.
I say we Pete Rose the term “sales pitch” and ban it for life from our conversations about selling. What do you say?
Next I will complain about writers who put too many things in quotes. Wait, that’s me. Nevermind.
And yes, I know R.A. Dickey now throws his knuckleball for the Toronto Blue Jays, but he will always be a Met in my mind.
1Andy K, July 23, 2010, The average number of pitches thrown per game is rising, Retrieved from http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/7533
2 Steve Treder, August 03, 2004, What Pitch Counts Hath Wrought, Retrieved from http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/what-pitch-counts-hath-wrought/