Yes, let the prospect write the pitch! It does not matter if you pitch on the telephone, in an elevator, in a face-to-face meeting or at a networking meeting. Most salespeople spend hours writing a script that they push onto prospects. We can see these pitches coming a mile away and turn-off. It does not matter where delivered they always sound canned. Rehearsed, written sales pitches don’t work anymore than pick-up lines will work in bars. They are horrible to listen to and make you sound desperate and unprofessional.
Here is the alternative that does work and it really involves letting the prospect write the pitch for you. Start with a question that will spark a conversation. You could try a variety depending on the situation. Never read or memorise your question, just prepare what you want to say and then throw away your notes!
‘”Hi, my name is Wyn, I’m with The Sales Experts, and I offer the newest techniques in sales recruitment, training and business development, and I wonder if you have a few minutes to talk now.”
(If I have built my list properly then I am speaking to the right person and know something about their business. If I am friendly and authentic in my approach I won’t sound like I am selling and so hopefully they will give me a few minutes. Then I move forward to open up a conversation.)
“I’m just giving you a call to see if you folks are struggling with any issues around your sales team chasing prospects who turn out to never have any intention of buying?”
(If prepared then I have asked a relevant question. And from here I don’t use a script but begin a genuine conversation to learn more about the problems the business faces. In most cases I wouldn’t look to ‘close the business’ then and there but would schedule a telephone or face-to-face meeting.)
The goal going in is only to establish rapport using the prospects answers to lead the conversation. The prospect actually provides all of the raw material for the interaction. As a salesperson, I am only leading and then reflecting the prospects comments back to them to gain connection and empathy. The prospect writes the script!
How would I do this in an elevator or networking event?
“Hello, my name is Wyn, I’m with The Sales Experts we solve the number one problem facing businesses today!”
Eighteen times out of twenty the person will ask, ‘What’s that?’
The conversation has begun. I return the question( with a sly smile), ‘First, tell me the number one problem facing your business right now?’ Don’t use a ‘canned’ answer but do know your destination and go with the natural flow of the conversation. Be real!
They may or may not answer me directly but if I have been ‘natural’ and ‘non pitching’ in my style I would have opened a conversation where they begin to talk about the problems their business is facing. As every business problem has a sales, accounting, legal, planning or logistics solution then you simply frame your solution in terms that are meaningful to the prospect.
Again, all you do is prime the pump and get the customer to start talking – the customer will always write the pitch for you! Just actively listen and reflect back!
Over time you will develop a very natural, warm, and interested conversation approach to connecting with people in all environments! That is powerful!