Have you ever wondered why the word “pitch” has become the term for selling?

The salesperson makes a pitch; the words they use are a pitch; the listener is being pitched.

Why is the word “pitch” — loaded with negative feelings and expectations — universally accepted as the term that accurately describes what’s happening?

At thesaurus.com there are 53 various definitions for the word “pitch.” They range from — to set up, to the angle of a slope, to stumbling, to the plunging of the bow of a ship, to helping out.

We don’t know about you but these don’t have any bearing, at least not any immediately obvious connection, with a high pressure sales talk — which was one entry in the list.

In another category “pitch”means a dark, thick, very sticky substance. Maybe this is where the negative connotation for “a sales pitch” comes from. You can’t get the stuff off.

Think about a time you felt like you were being pitched. Just writing this last sentence brings back a rush of sense memories of what it felt like. Barraged. Unseen. Lied to – even if what the sales guy was saying was the total truth. It felt like a lie.


Because his intention was inauthentic. He kept telling us how much he wanted to help, but whenever we had a question, instead of taking an interest in our concern, he’d answer by telling us about some feature of his product and just what it was going to do for us.

And, of course, when we said we wanted to wait, he pulled out the old scarcity tactic. He could only offer me the “special price” if we acted immediately — i.e. accept his offer now.

Do you really believe that if we walked out and returned the next day, check in hand, he would say – “No. No. Sorry. That price was good only yesterday?”

As far as we see it, a pitch is when you get everything thrown at you for the explicit purpose of the salesperson getting your check right then and there. It is a scarcity, failure mentality that operates on desperation, and works to make you, the buyer, desperate as well.

In contrast, bring to mind an instance when a salesperson genuinely helped you to accomplish what you set out to do. What was that like?

One thing sure — it wasn’t a pitch.

And if the salesperson was really artful — yes, there is a genuine and sincere art to helping someone make a decision to buy – what he or she did was more of a presentation with your best interest at heart.

Heart. Not Mind. Heart. A connection. An emotional connection, because, as we said in our last post – “The Truth about Emotions – A Soft Sell Confirmation!" —

The heart is an evaluation center, based in feeling. It’s the center of connection, emotional connection. Heart-based marketing is emotion-based marketing. You can collect a mountain of facts and statistics about your product, and you need to, so you can assure your customer you know what you’re talking about, but then your customer must still leap to faith. That leap is a leap of the heart . . . a leap based in emotional evaluation

How best can you help your customer make that leap of faith?

One way is to make a presentation instead of a pitch. Because, again according to thesarus.com, here’s what “to present” means and what it feels like:

To furnish or endow with a gift; to offer, or give; to introduce; to show or exhibit; to offer for consideration.

How do you feel reading this last line? Gift. Offer. Introduce. Consideration. Doesn’t it feel like you’re actually being included in the presentation with your best interest at heart?

And doesn’t it make the prospect of offering something for sale more attractive?

The very best sales people, the artists, do just that. They know they have the responsibility of leading the customer to a buying decision, so, by making a presentation, they set up a buying environment instead of a selling one.

They go into a partnership with their customer instead of seeing the transaction as a one-way street — from your wallet to theirs.

Remember, your customer is a person who has a life filled with hopes, fears, dreams, expectations, disappointments, and, just like you, they are entrusted with making their life as meaningful and as fulfilling as they can.

If your offer — your presentation — can facilitate and support their trust, you not only make a sale, you can make a long-term customer, someone who returns to you, because, with you, they know that the benefits they receive always reach well beyond just a product-for-money transaction.

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Author's Bio: 

Husband-and-wife psychology team and Internet marketers Judith Sherven, Ph.D. and Jim Sniechowski, Ph.D. pioneered a heart-based approach to Soft Sell Marketing. They’ve taken
that approach into producing “Bridging Heart and Marketing” - their unique, first-time-ever Internet marketing conference dedicated to the specific needs of the Soft Sell marketing community - for whom the typical hard sell "hype" doesn't fit.

By Soft Sell they’re referring to all the personal growth, healing and life-enhancement providers who market services and products. Unlike typical hard sell tactics, Soft Sell Marketing reinforces a caring and trustworthy relationship between marketers and the prospects and customers they want to attract.