The best pitcher in the world can’t throw to a catcher whose glove is closed

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This article was originally published via Eyes on Sales, a popular sales blog for Sales Professionals around the world.

In sales, we talk a lot about our pitches: our elevator pitch, our Starbucks pitch, that new prospect we can’t wait to pitch. But what if I told you that any time you say the word “pitch,” your prospect hears “catch”? The second a potential customer feels like she’s being sold to, she starts looking for holes in your pitch. And that’s just the beginning of the skepticism.

As a salesperson, it can be frustrating to feel like you’re going into a pitch with a disadvantage, and it’s even more frustrating when your lead seems to be missing the point. Here are the four most common types of skepticism I’ve seen in sales and how to pivot your pitch to address these concerns.

1. ‘Why didn’t I know about this sooner?’

Sometimes, skepticism comes from a place of pride, ignorance, or both. Many leads assume that if your solution existed this entire time, it’s impossible that they didn’t hear about it sooner. They may then start to question the legitimacy of your company.

In this case, a lead needs to be shown factual information about your product or service, such as detailed benefits, IT opportunities, staff search assistance, and — most of all — significant savings.

2. ‘You still haven’t told me why I should pick you.’

If your industry is crowded with competitors, leads may be skeptical that your offering is truly better or cheaper than another. To win them over, create a market basket to show apples-to-apples pricing differences and demonstrate the specific value of your offering.

For instance, in our industry, I go over tools for incorporating nutrition into meal ideas and let prospects talk through their needs. Then, I insert exactly how our product can meet those needs better than the competition.

In these cases, it’s important to provide reassurance regarding the stability of pricing due to contracts. Leads need to understand that you’re there to help and that you can help better than the other guys can.

3. ‘If it ain’t broke, why fix it?’

If the product or service they currently use is working, leads may see no reason to change. But it’s important to show them how much money they’ll save with your solution and communicate that coming on board with your company won’t take much effort on their part.

4. ‘Will I lose control?’

Some leads may worry that saying “yes” to your product or service means they’ll lose control over some aspect of their business. In my industry, that means their kitchens.

Prospects are generally key company decision makers, and they don’t take that power lightly. Their role gives them the ability to have the final say in every decision, and they want to keep that power. In these cases, I always reassure leads that my company has absolutely no involvement with an account’s kitchen, staff, or ordering habits. They need to understand that the only thing that will change is the money they’re saving.

Whatever your lead’s fear may be, it’s your job to show what measures you have in place that allow her to retain ownership over that aspect of her business or why giving up control is a worthy trade-off.

The Art of the Personalized Pitch

Your response to different types of skepticism may vary as much as your leads’ concerns, but one common thread remains the same: You need to take a personalized approach to each pitch, and ideally, you should pitch face-to-face.

A more humanized approach can go a long way in our digitally driven world — especially considering that 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. In-person communication builds trust with leads and makes it harder for them to say “no.”

Even if you’re unable to make the sale in person, make your pitch a real conversation. Don’t simply ask the lead about her pain points and take the opportunity to insert your product or service as a solution. Ask the lead to share any concerns she has about your offering, and engage in a genuine discussion that alleviates her worries. Frame your pitch as a recommendation, and arm her with the information she needs in order to make an informed decision. If you’ve properly tailored your pitch, it should be a no-brainer.

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