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Do you run away from sales pitches?

OK, a quick show of hands. Who of you readers enjoy hearing sales pitches?

No one? Me neither.

However have you ever considered that you had passed up a necessary service for your business because of a sales pitch – whether that be on television, as a video on someone’s website or a conversation with another business over the phone?

Our natural reflex reaction to sales pitches is often to close the door, change the channel, roll our eyes, leave the website or let our mind wanter. However, by doing that we are not fully exploring what could be great services or opportunities for our businesses.

Let me give you an example:

I am the Managing Director of a personal insurance brokerage, specialising in income protection, life insurance, trauma insurance and totally and permanent disability insurance. By offering policies from a wide range of products with no allegiance to any one company, people can be sure that we will recommend them the right insurance solution for your individual situation, and at the best price.

So I could start to tell you about the self-employed builder (aged 36) who did not take out $500,000 life insurance for $30 a month, and six months later, well you know the end of the story. I could also tell you about the self-employed truck driver who did take out a $1million life insurance policy and eighteen months later the unexpected happened, and well you know the end of that story too. I could even tell you about the high level executive who took out income protection and just two weeks later made a claim for stress and depression and received $400,000 that allowed him to take 18 months off work to get well again.

Have your ‘sales pitch alarm bells’ gone off yet? By now I am sure you have skipped the paragraph or tuned out. I’m not at all surprised! I would too.

The same thing happened to me recently when someone was telling me about their time management workshops. I knew that the person was knowledgable and experienced, however my ‘sales pitch alarm bell’ went off and I tuned out.

However the reality is that, just like the real-life stories that I shared with you from my personal business experiences in the few years, what the time management instructor was telling me was true and important. Yet because of my incorrect perceptions, I missed out on a valuable service.

Sometimes a bad sales pitch is in front of a very good business. And other times a bad sales pitch has an equally bad business behind it. Also keep in mind that when we hear about another business and its product or service, that does not make it a sales pitch or a manipulative script.

You need to be able to weed out the bad sales pitches that are a waste of your time, from explanations of people’s services that are actually important for you or your business. Here are some ways that you can do that:

  1. Decide if the business is experienced, reputable and credible (even if it is annoying to hear about them).
  2. If I were to interrupt their explanation or pitch to ask some specific questions, would they have the knowledge to explain their business and what it does? If not, they are not worth listening to. If they could answer your individual questions on the spot, then it is worth exploring a little further. You can do this without listening to their explanation if it is bothering you, by simply stopping them and kindly asking some questions.
  3. See if those who you trust have worked with them or know of them. A business’ reputation can speak far louder than any sales pitch can. Check them out on LinkedIn and see if their website has any testimonials that include real names or organisations.
  4. If there is a possibility that what you are hearing could be worth checking out further, ask for the information in writing so you can read it in your own time without persuasive language or compelling examples.

I recently put these keys into practice in my own business and actually took advantage of a great deal for office solutions that I would have usually missed because of my averse reaction to what seems like a sales pitch.

How do you respond to hearing businesses telling you about what they offer? Do you automatically consider it a sales pitch? Does it turn you off?

Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid giving or listening to sales pitches?

What do you think?

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Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson is the founder and managing director of Rick Mapperson and Associates ( http://sydneyinsurancebroker.com.au/), a personal insurance brokerage. Rick has been insuring people, particularly small business owners, for twenty years. Rick combines his skills as a licensed Financial Planner and his understanding as the co-founder of an Australian charity focused on families, to understand the best interests of his clients. You can follow Rick on twitter @RickMapperson

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