I recently sat in on a client’s sales call so I could offer coaching afterward. At one point in the middle of the software demo, the prospect dropped that the boss said they “need to fix this before the end of the year.”
The salesperson nodded and continued showing the system’s capabilities. He didn’t clarify what “fix this” meant. He didn’t ask what capabilities were needed. He didn’t inquire about the drivers behind the timeline. He missed the PING.
What the salesperson heard was the timeline of their sale. But that moment was the sale…and he didn’t even notice when it floated by.
It was like the time my kiddo opened her car door and her Valentine’s Day balloon flew off into the blue sky, never to be seen again. Except that he didn’t know that was the moment he lost the sale… because he pitched a solution right past whatever the need actually was. He was grasping at air when the balloon string blew past his fingertips.
Too often, we get wrapped up in thinking about ourselves—our pitch, our demo, our solution. And we forget to listen—really listen—to what is and isn’t being said.
The sale doesn’t happen in the pitch, it happens in the listening.