Justin Ricklefs


Listening is Hard

There are some sales buzzwords that are a little cringy to me.

One of those: pitch.

It’s a word, in my opinion, that should be reserved for baseball. Or the playing surface in soccer.

But not a sales presentation.

A coffee meeting this morning cemented my disdain.

I was observing a conversation between two professionals. The coffee kept flowing, as did the dialogue.

One pro was recounting a story, about a time when his team was invited to a meeting.

A meeting to identify solutions to problems and dream about what’s possible.

Instead, they got “pitched”.

“We showed up, and they ran through a huge list of their stuff. I get that they really value their stuff, but…”

I interrupted.

“Why did they do that to you?”

“Well, listening is really hard.”

We all laughed, and refilled our coffee.

Pitching assumes that I have something I’m going to throw at you, and the force (and power) is all mine.

We use this word instead: approach.

We approach them, after listening, after caring, after understanding. We approach them with ideas and concepts for them to consider, react to, build with us.

If you’re pitching fastballs in real life, that’s great.

If you’re “pitching” business, maybe consider altering your approach by listening intently instead.

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