Pitching vs. Selling: Five Tips for Doing Either Better

Indra Gardiner Bowers // Mar 5 //



I don't know about you, but I grew up with the image of a "sales guy" as a kind of smarmy, ingratiatingfellow who would say almost anything to make a sale. When I finally moved into a position within a sales department, the folks I met there weren't actually like that. They were organized, likable and focused.

When I moved into marketing and PR, there was an interesting shift in language. We don't "sell", we "pitch". As if that lent some glow of sophistication. Let's face it folks, we are salespeople. Whether we're talking to an editor, a blogger, a client or a new business prospect, our job is to sell. Sell the idea. Sell the concept. Sell the agency. So let's look at some of the psychology around selling so we can get better at pitching…

Tip #1: Most Decisions are Emotionally Based.
So much of a new business pitch is based on chemistry. How does the prospect feel about you and the team? Will they like working with you? Will you help them be successful? How do you make them feel? You could have the best concept in the world for their brand but if your team doesn't feel right, you're out. Do your homework and make sure you've got the right team or language or snacks in the room for whomever you are selling to.

Tip #2: Purchasing Something is a Journey of Discovery.
The more interesting, creative and memorable the pitch, the better the odds of making the sale. Phoning it in just isn't going to cut it these days. Cut and paste won't work. A customized experience/story idea/concept that makes the person feel that they have discovered something important or of value is magic.

Tip #3: Facts Matter.
In today's data driven world, you better be ready to prove up your statements. How can you show someone that what you are saying is true? That you did drive sales or eyeballs or foot traffic? Ask yourself the hard questions that the person you are presenting to might ask. Can you answer them well? With facts, testimonials, surveys, research, and data?

Tip #4: People Care What Other People Think.
If we didn't, social media wouldn't have nearly the amount of clout that it does (yes, that is actually the way to spell it, not with a k!). Yelp, Tripadvisor, Google, Chowhound, the list of sites that exist for people to rate their experiences is endless. Why? Because, we don't want to make the wrong decision and believe that other people's experience might just lead us to finding the very best taco in town. This is why case studies, testimonials and reviews are often key to a successful sale.

Tip #5: People's Expectations for Response are High.
Once you are in the process of selling something, be ready to respond quickly. Some people, and for that matter, companies move extremely fast. They need to know you are responsive and able to live in their world of deadlines. Sometimes, timeliness matters more than details.

What works for you?


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