I’ve been working at my current place of employment for nearly 5 years, and while I consider my job to be extremely technical and mostly focused on providing IT service, it does involve sales. I’ve been trained to sell, to pick up on cues from my client, and to show the value of a product and how it will positively affect their life, family, or relationships with others. I’m been trained to pitch.
I’ve been sold things in the past, e.g., my car, my house, and my bicycle, and I have picked up on the pitch. Being in sales, I reward good sales people with my business. Selling is an art, developed over time with good practice. When you can pitch well, you can sell anything.
From Confessions of a Car Salesman, the best pitch on how to sell a pen:
Dave extended a ballpoint pen to me, one of those 59-cent jobs made of clear plastic. “You want to be a car salesman. OK, sell me this pen.”
…I picked up the pen, paused dramatically and began speaking slowly and deliberately. “Dave, you’ve asked me to make a recommendation about a pen. You’re in luck because I know a lot about pens and I’m in a good position to point out the features and benefits of this model of pen. The first thing you’ll notice is the cap. This can easily be removed and stored on the other end of the pen so you don’t lose it. The next thing you’ll notice is how it feels in your hand. Also, you’ll notice it’s easy to see at a glance how much ink is left. This means you’ll never run out of ink without…”
I continued in this ridiculous fashion for a few minutes. Then I set the pen back in front of Dave and stopped.
While this is an excellent pitch, that highlights the great features of the pen, some sales people would say the respondent made a grave error. Some might say he should have asked several questions before delving into features of the pen so as to ensure that the product, in this case a pen, meets the needs of the client. This is solution selling, what I do everyday. Identify the client’s needs through asking questions, recommend products to solve the need, and encourage the sale by showing the value of the product.
An excellent article showing this strategy is Sell Me This Pencil.