How not to make a sales pitch…

Over a decade ago I was living alone. Wanting to impress a wonderful young lady, and for her to meet my adult children I invited her home for dinner. I declared in my best pseudo-French accent that I, being a gourmet chef from Clarendon, would be in the kitchen.

Yeah. Right. For everyone who knows me well is aware that I’m a great executive chef. I happily do market and supermarket. Put another way, I hunt and fish, but I do not cook. Not even a hint of deceit here now. Just a redefinition of the term executive chef. So, armed with a list prepared by the housekeeper off to the Cross Roads (Kingston, Jamaica) market I go.

In those days the Cross Roads market was very clean and there was even some parking. High on my list were steak and mutton. With basket in hand I went in search of the best fresh cuts for my guests.

The place is spotless. I’m excited. Signage is clear. I head directly to the fresh meat section. “Baas, ‘have a nice piece of fresh pork over here for you. Step this way, Mon. Yeah, Mon.” If only Mr. Butcher knew that I’m Jewish/Seventh Day Adventist. Never had pork in my life. Never did. Never will.

That was a bad sales pitch. No chance of a sale. In fact, I never even looked in his direction. A few paces later another butcher asks, “Sir, what are you looking for today?” I handed him my list and my market basket.

Which brings me to my first rule in selling. Don’t pitch. Probe. How about your sales people? Are they still being taught to make a sales pitch?

Herman Alvaranga is a marketing and sales strategist.


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