“The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant, and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both of you.”
― Daniel H. Pink, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
For me selling is always about first making a connection with someone over a topic, experience, technology, thought, or concept. That has to come first because I have not yet earned the right to sell to them or even uncovered their needs. In order to get there, we invest time in introductions during the initial engagement because it provides significant insight into both parties. It’s about listening for language, experiences, and intentions…then comes conversation and sharing.
The excitement manifests when a prospect shares enough raw data that translates into information that brews your well-oiled machine of thoughts and creates a great-quality brainstorm that is out of the box. In fact, it is nowhere near the box—the box doesn’t even exist. The sharing of ideas while brainstorming seems to be random, but for seasoned professionals, it is actually about tying the prospect’s language and vision into your ideas that are now driving meaningful and thought-provoking conversation. That is the pitch—igniting conversation around a well-crafted idea and being nimble in its outcome. Remember, we aren’t talking about the solution, we are talking about the pitch. Do you see the difference?
An unsuccessful engagement occurs when someone is so married to and emotionally invested in their own ideas that they sell themselves short or are easily discouraged by the prospect’s response. It is understandable that the conversation and collaboration around an idea must happen first; remember that the person on the other side of the table is the one who must adopt it, and it is their outcome, not yours.
This is why I love the book To Sell Is Human. It’s about our intentions of moving others, and we do it every day—in every interaction we are selling. Selling is not just a profession, it’s the part of us looking to ignite interest and motivate others into action.