Back in the late 1980’s, the Honda Motor Company ran a memorable series of commercials, the basic premise of which was that the company’s cars were so amazing, they sold themselves. This commercial’s “hook” was that it featured a salesman who was bored out of his mind and had nothing to do because the cars were so in demand they were practically walking off the lot. The brand’s slogan at the time was “Honda, the car that sells itself.” Ha! Only in a commercial, the irony of which is that the “car that sold itself” needed a massive and clever advertising campaign, plus an army of slick, fast talking (real) car salesmen to actually sell the damn thing.

As anyone who has spent any time in sales knows, nothing sells itself. You could promise the world for little more than a song and your prospects would be more likely to run for cover than beat down your door. No offer, no matter how grand, stands on its own two legs. And, you should never hope to find something so easy to sell that prospects will jam your phone lines to buy it, because if it did not take intense effort and creativity to sell your product or service, then your unique abilities and skill set would no longer be needed. Any pencil-pusher would be able to do your job and get paid an order taker’s hourly wage to do it.

There are dynamic and powerful reasons why the sales profession pays so well, among them is the fact that you are tasked with becoming a force strong enough to excite and motivate prospects left jaded and impatient from a never-ending barrage of boring, tedious proposals pressed on them by hordes of lackluster, mediocre salespeople. To do that, to shake awake a prospect so that he not only pays attention to your pitch, but actually becomes inspired by what you have to say, you better have one heck of a story to sell, and you better be ready to sell it! To truly have a shot at the big time, you had better learn to become a cold calling raconteur, a sales floor orator.

Is that how you currently approach your sales presentations, with a storyteller’s flair for captivating the imagination? With a pitch full of taut urgency, a story dotted with cliff-hangers and bristling with excitement, leading up to a furious climax that demands your audience becomes a part of your extraordinary idea? Are your prospects buying your story? Because, when a prospect says yes, it is your story that just got sold.

Purchasing your product or service is your prospect’s way of riding a wave, your wave. And, when they finally take delivery of what it is they purchased, if your end product or service is high quality and power-packed, then there is nothing as fulfilling as money well spent, especially to a decision-maker. They will come back again and again and, if handled properly, they will become clients for life, because to take that leap, to roll the dice and be rewarded for an emotion fuelled judgment, is to be validated for being a risk-taker, for daring to go where most do not. Any decision-maker worth his salt will tell you that there is nothing like taking a shot and getting it right!

So, does your story stack up? Does your pitch ignite that all important spark that is so necessary to motivate a prospect to do the one thing that all true decision-makers really want to do: take bold, decisive action? There is no room in our business for those who, when given the opportunity to broadcast, merely offer a bog-standard narrative, a bland recital of the details presented with the cardboard stiff execution of a weatherman. People don’t want a weather report; they want the movie “Twister” or “The Day After Tomorrow.” They want to be thrilled and chilled. They want their emotions evoked and their spirits lifted.

The issue of “pitching tame” or “pitching game” came up last week when questioning one of my newest salesmen about how successful his day had been. He was flustered because, although he had gotten the opportunity to pitch a number of decision-makers that day, he was unable to make it to the end of even one of his sales presentations. The guy was being blown off, cut off or slammed at every turn. After listening to a recording of one of his presentations it was clear to both of us just what was causing his prospects to cut and run: his pitch was as boring as watching paint dry! Was it informative? Yes, it was. Was it detailed? Absolutely. Was it interesting? Hmmm. Was it worth buying? The product, hell yeah! The pitch, hell no! The sales presentations given by this otherwise hard working and dedicated rookie were coming off as just another insipid intrusion on a decision-maker’s busy and bustling day. It turns out that his story, as well as his delivery, was cut-and-dried and conventional, it was cumbersome. We talked at length about how to set his pitch ablaze, about using electrifying and riveting speechcraft and injecting a hot dose of adrenaline into his vocal chords. It was time for our young upstart to get on the podium and preach the gospel!

Bear in mind: no matter how remarkable your product or service, if your pitch is not worth the money you are charging, then neither is what you are selling. If it were, then you would craft a presentation that lived up to your product or service’s true potential. What you would not do is inundate a prospect with a lackluster, robot-like, facts and figures download. There is a reason we call it a sales “pitch”! And, if you are not “pitching,” if you are not “throwing fire” and “hurling heat,” then you are nothing more than a second-rate, customer service hack.

Your pitch is the vehicle, the delivery system for your product or service, not the other way around. You are not a spectator or bystander in the sale, you are the damn sale! Live up to the power and majesty of your profession. You are a Pitchman! You are also a professional closer, but unless you start juicing up your presentation and making your story worth the price of admission, the only thing you will be closing is your checking account for lack of funds.

Wake up! Get excited! Pitch like a man on fire. Pitch like a man possessed. Watch the deals roll in. Watch your clients come back for more. Watch your wealth grow. Be the reason people buy, not the reason they don’t.

Copyright Lawrence Rosenberg 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Lawrence Rosenberg, head of advertising sales for one of the world’s leading specialist publishers, is the author of "Chase the Championship: Kicking Ass, Taking Names and Becoming a Dealmaker," a “pull no punches” dissertation on how to sell, close and win in the real world.

Learn more about Lawrence Rosenberg, his mindset, methodology and his unique approach to sales training.