Are You a Pitcher or a Professional?

Okay, so let me begin by acknowledging that I’m likely to offend some long-time salespeople. There will be other people who think that “it’s just a word” so what does it matter. 


To the first group I’d say get over it, if you’re that easily offended then your success in sales will always be limited. To the second group I’d say if you think “it’s just a word” then think also of all the times “just a word” changed your attitude, changed your thinking, and maybe changed your level of success. Words matter!


The word I’m writing about today is “pitch.” 


A pitch might be the legal delivery of a baseball by a pitcher. It could be the slope of a roof. Sometimes it’s the quality of a sound governed by the rate of vibrations producing it. My personal favorite use of the word pitch is a high approach shot onto a golf green. 


But a “pitch” is never never never a professional sales presentation. Now, before some salespeople, and even some sales trainers, tell me that pitch is only a word let me stop you before you begin. It’s not just a word, it’s a huge word. 


It’s huge because it plays an important role in determining your mindset as a salesperson. Your actions tend to follow your words and your thoughts. When you say you’re giving a pitch, or even think it, then everything you say and do around your prospect or customer will be affected….and not in a good way.


Salespeople, at least professional salespeople, need to stay focused on what’s important. The only thing that really matters to professional salespeople is their customer. Professional salespeople don’t make a pitch to a prospect; they craft a presentation based on their customer’s needs. 


Professional salespeople make recommendations based on information. The information comes from customers as a result of a thorough discovery process. 


Sales isn’t a game where you make a pitch and hope the prospect takes it. It is not a game where you try to pitch something past a customer. You don’t need to “pitch” anything because if you’re a professional salesperson you don’t play games with a customer. You don’t think of a sale as a “win” for yourself. The only win in professional selling is making sure the customer gets what they need.


Do not kid yourself. If you’re not thinking in terms of helping a customer or prospect reach a goal or an objective then you’re not thinking like a professional salesperson. 


Thinking in terms of “making a pitch” puts a salesperson in the wrong frame of mind. It diminishes the importance of what a professional salesperson does. Peddlers and average salespeople make pitches. Professional salespeople make formal, professional, and meaningful presentations. 

So ditch the pitch and be the professional salesperson your prospects and customers deserve. 

3 thoughts on “Are You a Pitcher or a Professional?

  1. Steve,

    I have no argument with your point. The “sales pitchers” truly give us true sales professionals a bad name. In the business environment a sales pro has only the singular tool of “inspiring persuasion” and linking (with absolute integrity) their Value to the strategic needs of their clients.

    On the other hand In their safe environments Internal corporate business managers can always resort to ‘power, authority, threats “win their day”

    Professional sales people, men and women,have no such luxury in their day to day dealings in an extremely hostile business environment (a hostile environment that internal business managers never ever face) They toil in an arena where environmental business forces are trying to diminish/ destroy their Value. They toil in an arena where the very prospects/clients that they are looking to win over, are trying to diminish their Value.

    And yet, Professional Sales People are willing to hold themselves publicly accountable. They are willing to step up for their entire company. They are willing to say out each and everyone of their internal corporate brothers and sisters, “here climb up ….get on my shoulders….I will make sure you can feed your families….I will make sure you can pay your mortgage. .I will get it done for all of us!”

    Sales is the only income producing profit center in any company. Every other internal business center is a cost center….gasp!

    Professional Sales People are the True Growth Warriors of the world…….which is why professional sales people make the best Growth Leaders!

    So Steve how about a big blog on the Value Contribution of Professional Sales People?

    1. Wow! Perhaps this is the best comment I’ve ever seen on any blog. There will certainly be a lot of “overhead types” who will take exception to it but what you say is a fact. I’ve often motivated a sales team with the exact example…. if we don’t sell people who will never know your name won’t be able to put food on their table. If we don’t sell the company can’t invest in innovation and that will be the end of us. Salespeople are the tip of the spear, we need a lot of help from others in the organization but if salespeople fail the company fails. It is an absolute fact! I love your idea for a post on the value of selling… and sales professionals, look for it in the near future.

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