The Slow Pitch

By Gabe Smith
May 22, 2014

Sales is often likened to pitching, but to be good at it there is one key difference.  If you liken your prospective customers to the batter, then you want to throw them something they can hit, like slow pitch softball.  I see a lot of sales presentations that present a dizzying array of company information, product features, screenshots, etc.  For a prospect, this can be like trying to hit a barrage of 95+ mph fastballs, curveballs, and sliders.

So, how do you pitch customers something they can hit?  I propose the following:

1. Find out what their strike zone is: What do they like, what are the compensated based on, how do they define success.  Focus on the value of the solution. In other words, ask probing questions and really listen to what is being said before you determine what to pitch.

2. Let them know what is coming: Even a fastball is a lot easier to hit if you know for sure it’s going to be a fastball.  So, partner with your coach to make sure they feel prepared for the message that is coming their way. Managing expectations is huge.

3. Simplify the pitches: Unless you are trying to strike the batter out, there is no need to throw 5 different pitches, stick to one or a few key messages that you know differentiate you and are valuable to the prospect.

4. Work on your mechanics: A lot of sales is about delivery, how you say it is as important as what you say.  There is always room for improvement.

Sticking to these guidelines as your prepare for and make sales calls will ensure that the prospect knows what to expect and feel prepared, see the pitch coming and be able to hit it out of the park.  And that is what we want, our customers to be successful.

  • B2B selling , sales , sales best practices , sales preparation

    Gabe Smith

    Gabe has 13 years of experience in sales, consulting, pricing, product and program management. He joined Vendavo in 2007 as a Principal Pricing Consultant, where he led solution definition to enable value for multinational corporations such as IBM, Seagate, Emerson and Praxair. In 2009, Gabe moved into Product Management, and has worked on analytics, visualization and collaboration, and written several whitepapers on price and margin management best practices. Most recently, he product managed the release of the Vendavo Best Practice Edition and the CRM Sales Negotiator. In 2013, Gabe moved into an Account Executive position at Vendavo. Prior to joining Vendavo, Gabe worked at Cisco for eight years as an Operations and Program Manager in Manufacturing, Sales and Channels; he was the worldwide ops lead for some of Cisco’s largest worldwide sales and pricing programs and applications.