If you start a conversation with a potential client or someone you just met by asking them questions about what they do or where they are from to establish rapport and see what you might have in common, that is considered a winning way to engage people.
However, if you instantly follow it up with a transactional request for them to buy something or help you, you have just blown it and lost all credibility. Imagine a needle on an old record player being scratched across the record. It is not a pleasant sound or feeling, and that is what it is like for the person whom you “pitched.”
You just did the old classic and horrific “Bait and Switch” technique whether you realize it or not. Companies used to advertise a low price product to get people to come in the store. Then when people came in to buy that they would say “Oh, we only had one of those and we sold it. However we do have this Xyz product.” The other inventory would be at a much higher price and the hope was that since you had already made the trip to the store, they could get you to buy that higher priced product. Today, buyers are much more sophisticated. Instead of getting a sale you get an angry person who will then tell all their friends to not buy from you.
Drop the Bait and Switch conversations, where you bait someone with what appears to be genuine interest and then switch to a pitch. Here is the better way to engage. ATTRACT and CONNECT. When you entice someone to tell you more when you express genuine interest in what they have to say, you may uncover what keeps them up at night. They might say ” If only I could figure out a way to xyz…” Then you can connect with them to see if and how you might be able to help. Even if you don’t have the solution, but can refer them to someone who can that increases your connection. Your ability to CONNECT them to the right person is a huge gift that will continue to build your relationship.
When you Bait and Switch you lose trust and are seen as someone with no integrity. You are seen as someone who uses people. When you Attract and Connect, you are seen as someone who is trustworthy and full of integrity. You are seen as someone who cares and comes from a place of giving.
The choice is yours:
How do you want to be seen by others?
Do you want use or help people?
Do you want to try to control them or attract them to you as someone they can trust?
If you want to have a roadmap to connection, start from a place on setting your intention. Ask yourself, “How can attract this person to feel safe enough to have an open conversation with me? When that happens, I can figure out how I can connect with them to explore possibilities.
John Livesay is The Pitch Whisperer, who is a keynote sales speaker to brands and shares lessons learned from his award winning career at Conde Nast. His keynote talks shows brands’ sales teams how to be irresistible so they can instill in their customers the “Gotta Have It” feeling. When that happens the brands creates loyalty and a story that gets the crucial word of mouth in high gear across social media.