Pitching vs. Selling
A number of years ago, I was floundering in a new sales position right out of college. I had just completed 3 months of sales training at the Eastman Kodak Company. I was prepared to “sell” my product, but the orders were not coming in as expected. My ego would not allow me to understand why everyone would not run to place orders with me. I was well-trained, ambitious, had a great “pitch” and underestimated the role of sales and meeting customer needs.
Stop Serving Up Good Products With Bad Messaging
My father had always been a great source of information and perspective, especially when it came to sales. He was a life-long sales rep selling advertising space for McGraw Hill. He was a pro. When I talked to him about my issue, he asked me to come over for dinner so we could talk.
That night, when he finished grilling two steaks, he asked me to go into the garage and bring him a trash can cover and one dinner plate. He took the two steaks off the grill and placed one on the plate and the other on the trash can lid. He took the plate and gave me the steak on the underside of the lid. Being a little miffed, I asked my father why he did that. His response was: “You said you were having problems with sales. I wanted to give you an example. I just grilled you your favorite dinner, yet I served it to you on the underside of a trash can lid. No matter how much you like the steak, you cannot eat it because of how I served it up to you. Sales is the same – you can have the best product in the world, but you have to understand your customer and brand it the right way. How you match up your brand with the right customer is how you sell!”
There has been no better example in my sales career of the difference between “selling” and “pitching.” When your brand is well defined, and resonates with your customers, you chase orders and not unqualified prospects. A selling organization that has a well-defined brand directs your sales organization to the right prospects.
Brands Provide the Following
- Brands are more than a name, they are your promise. They outline who you are and what you stand for.
- Brands have a personality and style and can have emotional attributes. Think of Apple and Starbucks. Does their brand extend to loyalty and long-term commitment?
- Consumers are loyal toward brands.
- Brands are not your perception, it is your customer’s perception.
- Effective branding is the result of your company understanding the customer’s needs first and then communicating (website, literature, etc.) second.
- Brands are not sweeping statements to meet all needs. They are focused toward the customers that your brand directly appeals to.
Most companies never develop or understand how important a brand is. It is the single most important part of developing your sales infrastructure and platform to sell effectively. Sales Xceleration provides the tools for you to brand your product, connect with your customers, and drive revenue growth. For more information, feel free to take the online Sales Agility Assessment, or reach out to me directly on e-mail at email@example.com.