Sunday, July 23, 2017

‘It’s easy to talk too much’

Enterprising People Business Radio Talk presents
A BUSINESS CONVERSATION WITH STEVE YASTROW

‘It’s easy to talk too much’

BY KIMBERLY BAILEY-TUREAUD

Ditch the Pitch: The Art of Improvised Persuasion

In his book “Ditch the Pitch: The Art of Improvised Persuasion,” influential business consultant Steve Yastrow makes the case against a traditional sales pitch. With a reputation for devising revolutionary marketing strategies that yield major profit breakthroughs, he has the credentials to give advice about succeeding in business: As president of Yastrow and Co., he has consulted for such blue-chip clients as McDonald’s Corp., the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Jenny Craig International, Cold Stone Creamery and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. A former vice president for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, he holds an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.

What is your book about?

The concept makes sense. What do you feel like when someone lays a sales pitch on you? None of us want to hear a sales pitch. Yet, that’s how we try to persuade people to get them to buy our goods or services. We tend to give people we want to do business with a sales pitch. No one wants to hear a sales pitch. So, you need to ditch the pitch.

How do we know if we are giving a sales pitch?

It is really easy to detect when someone else is giving you a sales pitch, but it is harder to know when you are doing it. There are a few things you can be aware of, to ensure that you don’t lapse into a sales pitch. If you decide what you are going to say to someone you desire to do business with before you meet, that’s going to put you in a pitch mode — because you don’t know what the person’s reactions might be. You are pitching when you find yourself pulling out whole paragraphs from your pocket and reciting them. If you find that people are not interested in what you have to say, you are probably pitching.

When do we know we are talking too much?

It’s interesting that you mention this. The thing that needs to be realized is that when we are trying to persuade someone to buy a product — or cooperate at work or go on a different vacation than you normally take — it’s easy to talk too much and over-explain. One trick that I mention in my book is called, “the one paragraph.” What it means is to never speak more than a paragraph of information at a time without leaving a break in the conversation.

If we should not pitch, what should we be doing?

We should be improvising and saying, “Ok, I recognize that when I go and talk to a person … I can’t possibly know everything about this person’s life when I meet with them. Instead of scripting my pitch, what I should do is to enter into a conversation and open up to be aware of what the person wants.

Should we research the person before we meet with them for potential business opportunities?

That is a really good idea, no doubt about it. If you can Google them and find out things about them before you meet, or watch them on YouTube to see how they speak and their body language, these tools will really help you.

How do we get someone’s interest first so that they will hear what we have to say?

This is a key principle that inspired me to write the book. We need to understand that people are generally not interested in you — they are interested in themselves. So, the way to get their interest is to talk about them. Another tool I give in the book is when you are talking to your customer, make sure that 95 percent of the subject matter in the conversation is about them, not about you. You will find opportunities to weave in important parts of your story.

How do we get to the end game — making a sale —  from just a great conversation?

The goal here is to have a conversation and to receive the “yes” from the customer. What I am talking about is a better way to close a business deal. People don’t want to hear a sales pitch; they will turn off. What happens when you ditch the pitch, they will be very interested in talking to you. You can get your customer to actually buy when you adopt habits. One habit is called, “Don’t rush the story.” What it means is to help the customer start to see in their mind a story of how they can’t live without your product or service. If you are “ditching the pitch,” you will be really aware of what the customer wants.

For more information, go to Yastrow.com.

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