When communicating with business owners – in blogs, posts, and discussions – I make every attempt to remove the esoteric jargon. Most of it is rather nonsensical vocabulary that was created by marketing departments for conversion into catchy collateral materials. Harsh? Maybe. Accurate? Most definitely.
Recently when putting the finishing touches on a speech, which followed after I had coached a number of business owners and non-salespeople through a natural sales process. I set out to create the perfect title. It didn’t take me very long, and it arrived as “Don’t Sweat the Pitch: Take the Fear Out of Selling.” To me, it was totally obvious and beautifully communicated the problem and solution that you could expect from my talk.
On my next mastermind group call with a group of small business owners and service providers (think financial planner, attorney, CPA), I announced the arrival of my baby like a proud mama. And…crickets!
How was that not a home run? How did they not all break out in applause and agree this was a homerun title?
Well, as it turns out, this group of brilliant people—mostly all business coaches or advisors in a service capacity—would never and have never used the term “Pitch.”
Something that I’ve never thought twice about referring to as common for people selling a product, the word pitch didn’t resonate at all with these professionals. And it’s not just because they’ve not been in sales or managed sales teams in large corporations. It failed to pull them in because to them, as business owners and practitioners, how they describe, position and endorse their service/product is not a piece of sales jargon, it’s their passion. It’s what they do, who they are, why they get up in the morning and sure, they can tweak the way they talk about it, but I was out of bounds to lump that in the same category as what a sales person would use to sell a product.
Ahhh, my eyes have been opened . . . even wider. I have been in both positions . . . small business owner and sales manager in a large corporation . . . and I have sold my services and products to thousands of business owners, but I overlooked the important difference between these two ideals: sales pitch versus passion.
Lessons learned by the eternal grasshopper. I humbly take this insight from my brilliant business mentors and have applied it to refine my speech and consulting practice even further. What was great before became much more meaningful and relevant: “Earning the Business: Sell Your Product or Service without Fear or Anxiety” is now more a more meaningful and relevant session.
We can all learn so much from the feedback of the people we want to do business with. When we get it, LISTEN! Your customers will tell you everything you need to know to build relationships and sell to them in a thoughtful and purposeful way.
Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING!
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