I recently got an email from a potential client that asked the following question.
"One of our teams requires Pitch/Presentation and we would like to understand your cost structure?"
My first reaction was, is this a wind up?
Most clients know my views and reaction to 'Pitching!'
After I had relaxed somewhat I sent the following response...
"We would love to assist you with increasing your teams dollar sales volume. While we do teach sales people how to determine what to propose and how to structure the proposal, we don't teach pitch or presentation delivery skills so we may not be what you are looking for on this occasion.
In explanation of why we don't teach Pitching and Presentation skills....
Pitching, is one of those things that we really try to get sales people out of the habit of doing. From the 1950's even through to the late 1990s this was a key focus of many sales training organizations. However our approach is to turn sales people into successful sales consultants.
Presentations. We know that slick presentation skills can be a valuable icing on the cake - but only if you have the foundation steps right. A successful conclusion is the natural outcome of building a compelling purchase in steps throughout the sales process rather than what you say at the point where you put your final proposal in front of the client.
If you spend 5 hours working with a client, is it the last 30 minutes you spend presenting your proposal, or the quality of what you achieve in the first four hours, that is the critical key to winning or losing their business?
I know that in some industries buyers still expect a presentation. However in the consultative selling process that we teach, it is the least important part of the sales process. Of all the sales activities that sales people could be putting energy into, we believe that the quality of their presentation skills have the least impact on a successful result.
When sales people are taught to focus on the pitch or presentation there is a real risk that they are inadvertently being taught to focus on telling the customer something rather than working with the client to shape a proposition that is compelling to them.
We are completely results focused. If our clients do not signinificatnly increase their sales within 3 months of attending our training, then very simply we have failed with the task you have paid us to do. Worse than that, sales training that does not deliver results actually damages your sales people.
There are plenty of successful sales organisations that still teach pitching and presentation, its just not our thing.
If you are interested in our approach I would be happy to come and meet with you or to send you a complimentary copy of our sales training manual for your evaluation."
I would like to report that this client has contracted me to assist them with their sales development....but unsurprisingly perhaps I never heard back from them.
by Liam Venter: Author of the popular sales training manual
'The Consultative Sales Professional'
You can obtain a copy here