Six Ways to Strengthen Your Pitch

Not every persuasion attempt you make will be successful. But here are six ways to strengthen your chances by adding muscle to your pitch:

1. Drop your “er.”

Watch out for the language tic that uses the comparative “er” when referring to new products, services or ideas – as in “better,” “nicer” or “sleeker” than another product or service you sell, or an “easier,” “stronger” or “sexier” idea than someone else’s.

2. Work your way though unreasonable demands.

Sometimes (although, thankfully, not as often as most salespeople fear), buyers’ positions will become intractable: “If you don’t give me a 50 percent price reduction, I’m going to your competitor!” One of my favorite phrases to use in these situations is “unreasonable demands” – as in, “I’m sorry, but you are really making unreasonable demands.” Most people don’t want to have their motives or actions characterized in that manner, so when you have to, do so.

3. Ask for help.

When you’re looking for clarification, don’t be afraid to ask. For example, when you’re trying to isolate an objection, say something like, “Help me understand why you feel that way.” It’s a great step toward easily transitioning to the next part of the persuasion process.

4. Be careful about how you acknowledge the point.

I chuckle when a salesperson responds to an objection with an honest “Actually, you make a good point” – as if the customer was able to somehow come up with something smart and relevant to say. Avoid it, and acknowledge the point without faux flattery.

5. Don’t settle for little solutions.

No one wants a “little” solution. They want a powerful solution, a unique solution, a significant solution. Don’t belittle your own contribution.

6. Don’t accept “no” for an answer.

When someone delivers a flat-out “no,” ask very politely if, were you to tell him something he has yet to consider, he would be willing to change his mind. If the answer is “yes,” that “no” just got upgraded to a “maybe.” And then …

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