Little Ramesh was the favourite of the family and his baby talk made everyone wonder how he developed his vocabulary. He tended to talk endlessly. His father’s brother, Uncle Ajoy, predicted that Ramesh would make a great salesman. This intrigued Anousha, his older sister; she quizzed Uncle Ajoy as to what made him say such a thing. ‘He has the gift of the gab’, said the proud uncle.
Is the 'gift of the gab' an essential trait to becoming a successful salesperson? Read on...
‘The gift of the gab’ seems to be the universal way to define the trait of a successful salesperson. It is unfortunately not the requirement of a professionally qualified salesperson. There is no doubt that there are many an order lost because the ‘pitch’ made just did not hit the mark.
There is a definite logic in ensuring that the pitch is correctly planned and delivered. There is more power in the logic of the presentation rather than just the manner of how the pitch was made. Just mouthing off a string of advantages does not really mean anyone has been convinced.
Is it then more important to get our pitch right than be concerned about the various aspects of effective communication? People train themselves to speak with appropriate voice modulation, accent and use of appropriate language. Perhaps if a little more emphasis was placed on working out the pitch strategy, there would be a better closing ratio.
Needs, Needs and Needs
Sometimes a good pitch starts very early in the sales process, not just at the time of asking for the order. The role of the salesperson is to meet the customer and ask questions that will reveal the operating reality of the customer. There is a need to answer the question: What is the overwhelming reason for a consumer to consider buying our product?
The way to a pitch, which will have the requisite punch, is in the core of the presentation. Has the need relevant to the customer been identified? Does the solution designed by the company really fit the needs identified? If it does not fully fit, there will be some hesitation about placing the order. Or even a refusal to go with the order.
The Pitch Logic
A long-standing thumb rule which professionals adhere to is the ‘rule of three’. This is an understanding of effective communication. The learning goes like this: For a message to be absorbed, there is a need to repeat it at least thrice. Any less, and there is a danger that the message could get missed or misunderstood.
The Rule of Three
Once the customer realizes his needs, there is a willingness to fill the gap by the customer. To pitch effectively, the salesperson must first restate the needs identified earlier on and proceed to give the solution. This is the best technique of pitching.
If the work of identifying needs is correctly done, there should be no reason for missing the order. Remember, the role of a great salesman is to help the customer make the correct buying decision. That decision has to give him a profit. He must feel that the help of the salesman was crucial to his deciding well.