“Pitching” increases the stakes

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Had an interesting debate at a conference a short time ago, something that I think makes a big difference, but is not usually considered, at least in my experience. The debate was the merits of pitching Vs what I call “long form selling”

Selling is a process, it takes time, effort, and involves multiple touch-points as a relationship evolves that can lead to a sale. Obviously the process varies depending on many factors, you would not expect to spend much time considering the competing merits of different paper-clips, but power stations are a bit different.

By contrast, a pitch is a yes/no equation. You get one shot, a short time, little opportunity to build rapport and points of empathy with your audience. Make or break.

In some industries pitches are the norm, nobody thinks much beyond the immediacy, they are the all there is. In others, long form selling is the norm.

Often the forms are mixed up.

Being an account executive selling to an Australian supermarket retailer is usually called “selling” but the  reality is that it is just a series of pitches, with little opportunity to build a relationship much beyond knowing the other parties name and a few commercial characteristics.

Clearly, the greater the imbalance of power in the conversation, the more likely each interaction will look like a pitch. The task of the  seller in that case is to take control of the conversation, and ensure it is a process, with opportunities to revisit and review, not just a once off opportunity to sell.

I know which I prefer, but I also know which focuses the mind.

About strategyaudit

StrategyAudit is a boutique strategy and marketing consultancy concentrating on the challenges of the medium sized manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. The particular focus is on their strategic and marketing development. as well as the business and operational efficiency improvements necessary for day to day commercial survival. We not only give advice, we go down "into the weeds" to ensure and enable implementation.
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