A good friend of mine was once one of the leading shoe sellers for Parisian. And he told me a secret that could help you win your next sales pitch.
“Whenever I’d get a customer,” he said, “I would never just let him try on just one pair. I would measure his feet and then bring out several pairs. I wanted to spend a lot of time with him as he tried on lots of shoes. He’d try on shoes and we’d Â chat, discussing the kinds of shoes he liked. Eventually, after spending 30 minutes with me, we had a relationship. And he would always buy something. He had to because we had become friends.”
The point is this. Â If you want to win a sales pitch, you need to find a way to draw out the sale like a shoe salesman. To do that, you need to touch the prospect multiple times prior to the pitch. Â Like the shoe salesman, the more time you spend with the prospect prior to the pitch, the more you build a relationship. The better the relationship, the better chance you have to win the pitch.
If someone asks you to give them a presentation, don’t just say, “Sure, when do you want me to show up?”
You need to ask for the chance to talk to them in advance. You need to find a way to build the relationship prior to the pitch. Â Say something like,Â “I’m excited about the chance to present to you. But I want to give you the best presentation possible. Â Can we set up a time to meet prior to the presentation to chat with you about your company? I want to understand your key issues.”
Even if he says “no”, you’ve started to build a relationship.
Remember the shoe salesman. He wants to spend as much time as possible with the customer because that builds a relationship. To do that, he draws out the sale.
Do the same thing with your prospect and you’ll win a lot of pitches.