In Sales, Throw ‘em a Change Up

It happened! The short MLB season has started. Seems like a good day to talk about the change-up.

Prospects are always waiting to crush your sales pitch – so don’t give them one. Change it up.

Every sales call you go on can actually be an ambush in disguise. Current clients & prospects that you visit know exactly why you are coming – they know your intentions: to sell them something. Seems fine, right? All is above board, no secrets, everyone knows what to expect. What could be wrong with that?

Here’s what could go wrong: One simple rule that you will find in Gitomers Little Red Book of Selling – Nobody wants to be sold.

Once people believe you are coming in to sell them, they recoil, put up defenses & rehearse reasons why they don’t need whatever it is you are selling. They may disguise it or do it under the surface, but it’s there. Chalk it up to basic human nature.  We don’t want others to push things on us that we haven’t decided we need. We don’t want to be convinced of anything.

So, stop pushing. No convincing. You should disarm & surprise prospects so what they actually experience during a sales call isn’t even close to what they expected. Take it away from them (aka The Pushback).


  • Avoid “old-school selling”. No handouts.  No documents to read.  No PowerPoint presentations. Just a notebook & pen.  Enter the room stripped of these crutches & you send an immediate message that something different is about to happen.  This is how you build credibility.
  • Control the agenda by opening with strong Ground Rules. Set expectations for what you both want to accomplish. This shows your knowledge & that you care about them. It also quickly reinforces to your prospect that you are there to ask for a deal.
  • Ask all of the qualifying questions to uncover compelling problems(PAIN) they have (the real reason you are there in the 1st place). Have the money conversation to uncover budgets.  Make sure that you are in front of all decision makers (& understand how they make decisions) – if not in this meeting, then the next meeting
  • Only when you have uncovered all 3 items above (PAIN, money conversation & decision making process) do you present a solution, proposal, quote, etc. This may happen at the next meeting (after you have prepared all appropriate information relevant to their PAIN only). In other words, do not present “the kitchen sink”.  It’s too confusing & self-serving when you tell prospects everything you can do.  Be patient – they will buy.

Gitomer has got it right: People don’t want to be sold, but they want to buy. They want to be informed & they want to be surprised (good surprises).  They want to be the first to know. They want a competitive advantage.  You provide this.

Let’s rewind the film. Rethink how you enter the room, what you say & how you say it.  Chances are good that the would-be ambush will turn into an embrace. You’re not the prey. You’re the trusted adviser – the solution provider.   When this happens, you won’t have to sell them – they’ll sell themselves.

Now go out & open up some opportunities – then be the closer.

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Dave Tear

Dave Tear

Dave is passionate about selling & helping others understand the sales process. Whether a client company has a 5 person sales team or a 300 person National sales force, Dave can Coach & Train them to be the best in their industry.