11 Things I Hate about Sales Pitches

James 1:19 says, “. . . let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (ESV)

It’s odd that someone who likes to talk as much as I do loves the book of James, but it’s one of my favourites.

I clearly see God at work when I consider that, by nature, I am slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry. Any change in this area is because of His work in me.

So, why did I call this post “10 Things I Hate about Sales Pitches”?

This morning I listened to/read a significant portion of an audio sales pitch. It was supposedly a video, but approximately 80 percent of it was written text on a plain white background, text that was being read verbatim. I endured as much as I could.

You’ve probably seen/heard your fair share of similar pitches. They are among the things that most readily reawaken my unredeemed nature.

Angry Cartoon Face

So, why do they bother me so much?

1. They often include phrases like “I have to be completely open and honest with you.” Considering the fact that openness and honesty are among the traits I value most highly, when someone lies about these things or tries to use them to manipulate me, it makes me want to scream (and that’s something I haven’t done in ages).

2.In fact, pretty much every sales pitch is about manipulation – no matter how many times the presenter assures me what he or she is selling is for my benefit.

3. And too many products remind me of snake oil and too many salespeople remind me of snake oil salesmen. Whatever they’re selling may help in a certain area – maybe even a significant area – of my life, but no single product will fix everything I perceive is lacking.

4. And that’s another thing . . . too often the first step of making a sale is making the potential purchaser discontent with his or her life. If I think something is lacking, I will look for services and products to fill in the gaps. I don’t appreciate it when people imply I would be happier/more attractive/more valuable/whatever if only I bought what they were selling.

5. So many of these pitches sound pretty much the same no matter what product or service is being sold. Blah, blah, blah, (insert product or service here), blah, blah, blah, (insert product or service here), blah, blah, blah, etc., etc., etc.

6. And these pitches are l-o-n-g. Presenters say so much before they actually say anything at all. When they don’t get to the point, what it says to me is this: Your time is not valuable to me and you certainly can’t have anything more important to do than listen to me ramble on.

7. You really don’t know what they’re selling until the end.

8. And you certainly don’t know how much it’s going to cost.

9. While I like a free gift as much as the next person, I like free gifts that 1) don’t come with an over-inflated suggested list price and 2) don’t require me to jump through hoops to access them.

10. I’ve been a personal trainer. I know about sales pitches. But the “one size fits all” approach makes my skin crawl. Each person is a unique individual, one who should be treated as such, one who should be treated with genuine respect.

11. In sales training, we are taught to get x number of “no’s” before dropping the subject. All you have to do is ask my kids how I feel about that. If you ask once and give me the time to think about it, I might say yes. That likelihood decreases every time you push for an answer.

And so there you have it, some of the reasons I hate sales pitches.

Cartoon Thumbs Up

I realize if we have a product or service to sell, we have to make people aware of it.

If you want to sell to me (and others like me), here are eight suggestions . . .

1. If you don’t care about me and my well-being, at least believe in your product or service. Convince me of its merits in its own right, not so much how it’s better than what’s already on the market. Sincerity not hype will convince me of your genuineness.

2. I am an individual. Cookie cutter sales is not the way to get my business.

3. On the flipside, neither is latching onto a common interest for the sake of developing a false sense of rapport. I consider this “bait and switch.”

4. Show me that you value my time. Don’t just say you do and then jump into a lengthy spiel.

5. Believe me when I say no . . . the first time.

6. Don’t pretend to give me a special offer available for only a short time. (Some sales pitches begin this way and it puts me on edge from the get-go.)

7. Life has enough real urgency; don’t try to dump any more on me.

8. Please respect my No Door-to-Door of Any Kind sign.

As one fellow author said, “If I didn’t think my book would improve the reader’s life, I wouldn’t be selling it.” If that’s how you truly feel about your service or product, we just may have something to discuss. This quote also makes me more comfortable promoting what I sell.

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