The word “Pitch” has dominated selling language. We are constantly subjected to pitches through email, social channels and in the media. We seek, overtly, to pitch our offerings and products to prospects and customers.
Recently, my good friend, ChatGPT had a discussion about pitches. I asked her the origin of this concept:
The word “pitch” in the context of selling comes from the Old English word “pician,” which means “to throw” or “to thrust.” In the Middle Ages, it evolved to refer to setting up a stall or spot where one could sell goods, as in “pitching” a tent or stall in a market. Over time, the term evolved further to refer to the act of promoting or advertising a product or service, as in making a sales pitch. The idea is that you are “throwing” information at a potential customer in hopes that it will stick and lead to a sale.
The problem with pitches is, as ChatGPT suggests, is we are “throwing” information at the prospect. It is one way!
Pitching prevents us from engaging in collaborative conversations. It communicates our dis-interest in engaging our customer, understanding them, understanding their goals. It ignores the collaborative learning process and how we help the customer progress in addressing problems important to their success. It does not solicit feedback or reaction.
Pitching is strictly one way!
And while we know we have to establish two way collaborative conversations, just the mere act of thinking about our “pitches,” and the endless decks we produce to support them, prevents us from having those conversations. It prevents us from learning from and with our customers. We enter the conversation with a telling or “throwing” bias and not with a learning/problem solving bias.
We, our prospects, and our customers would benefit greatly by eliminating the word pitching from our thinking and vocabularies.
We should restrict our use of the word to discussions about baseball, music, a slope/incline, certain resins, and soccer/rugby/cricket fields. But never in engaging customers/prospects in collaborative conversations.