Sales and Baseball – It’s all about the Pitching
A good pitcher in baseball is one of the most valuable players in the game. A pitcher can have an arsenal of fastballs, curveballs, sliders, knuckleballs, you name it, but If they don’t do their homework on the batters they face, and can’t hit the strike zone, they won’t last long in the big leagues.
The same analogy can be said for a sales pro. If you have an email address or a phone number, odds are you have heard a variety of sales pitches. The hard (never take no for an answer) pitch, the soft (you can decide for yourself) pitch, or something in between. Maybe you were intrigued by the pitch or maybe it was a “hard no” for you, but I am sure you have heard a variety of pitches to be self-aware enough to know what worked on you and what didn’t.
Here is what works for me
Regardless of the level of interest I may initially have from a sales pitch, if I recognize immediately that a sales pro put in the effort and did their homework, I am much more open to listen. If a pitch includes something about me that took time to investigate, maybe it was knowing about my company and some of the interesting things we are doing, or maybe it was about my background, where I have lived or what I enjoy doing, it really doesn’t matter the context of the information(as long as it’s not too personal), if it makes a connection with me, I will listen.
Where can a sales pro find Common Ground?
Social Sources – Linkedin (possibly Facebook but not too personal)
These resources can tell you about both professional and personal interests. Maybe you lived in the same city or went to the same school. Maybe you share some of the same group interests or like the same music. Read what they share, get a better understanding of their point of view. Whatever it may be, show a connection. It is a lot harder to say no to someone that likes Pad Thai as much as you do, went to the same college as you or goes fishing on the weekends.
Example – “Hey, I saw you like to go fishing in Colorado, I was there a couple of summers ago and caught a few nice rainbow trout in the North Platte River.”
Data Providers – (Shameless plug) Lead411
These resources can tell you where the company is at, and if they are in a buying cycle. Companies that are growing are more likely to add new services and listen to new pitches. The same can be said for prospects that are in a growth path. Maybe a prospect was just promoted, or hired at a new company. Say congrats, and acknowledge the positive change. It can help immediately form a dialog.
Example – “I noticed you just started a job at Acme, they have been growing like crazy with a new IPO released, it must be a fun environment over there. I work for a similar company that provides…”
Common Connections – Referrals, Past Relationships with a Company or Co-Workers
Referrals are the gold standard of sales. The communication connection already exists and trust can be formed in a shorter period of time. Think of past companies you may have worked with and identify co-workers that you can connect with. These are an amazing source of building new relationships because the common ground pre-exists.
Example – “I worked with John Thomas on a few projects at Acme, he mentioned you were the go-to person to chat with about new marketing platforms…”
Regardless of the pitch, know more about your prospect than their name, what position they play and what number they wear. Take the time to research, find a common connection and formulate a pitch that resonates with your audience. It will keep you in the big leagues a lot longer.