Today’s guest post comes from David Masover of Process Selling.
I recently had the invigorating experience of working a trade show for an exhibitor as a contract business development executive. While my client had a booth, I spent most of my time walking the floor, pitching to other exhibitors.
What made it especially invigorating: This a relatively new client for me with a technology based product that I am just beginning to understand. So not only do I need to learn the product, I need to learn how to talk about the product as well – in an industry-speak I have yet to master.
I’m not a big fan of sales training alone. Sales training works best when done interactively with real-world practice (and role plays don’t count!).
In my case, the trade show pitch-a-thon proved to be a great workshop for my pitch. The same can be said for a cold calling campaign, or a business networking event.
When I started working the show on Monday, I thought I did a pretty good job of describing the main points of the product in about two minutes. By the end of the show, it was down to about 30 seconds. People either got it or not, and we were able to agree in very little time whether or not an increasingly detailed conversation was worthwhile. The initial filter was ruthlessly effective. That’s a good thing!
I bring this up because I have suffered many times on the receiving end of sales training in which the trainer explains a concept and then asks the participants to develop an elevator pitch or script right then and there. I have even been the trainer who has given such an assignment.
I’ll continue to do so. But with the caveat that it’s the start, not the end, of the pitch development process. My four days of shop-floor selling reminded me that there’s no substitute for real-world application to help refine the delivery of a message.
So don’t worry if you don’t get it just right the first time! Starting with what you can come up with on your own, then be open to modifying it as you get the kind of feedback that only comes from real-world application. You can’t get it right the first time. The game is iterative.
Now go play!
David Masover is the author of Mastering Your Sales Process. He has over twenty years of business-to-business sales experience, including more than eight years in sales management, training, and consulting. He has consulted and negotiated in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Masover is co-founder of Branders.com, the world’s largest online seller of promotional products, and is currently engaged in private sales consulting in Budapest, Hungary.
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