How many pitch teams have been frustrated by a member making claims they can’t deliver-- or grandiose statements unsupported by fact? This is a hot-button issue, especially when sales agrees to the client’s demands in order to seal the deal, and then work out the details.
On the flip side, the customer relationship/account managers are often more careful with promises, based on their experience or understanding of what will fall on their shoulders. They may also feel out of integrity by over-promising. This can frustrate sales people who believe if it’s not illegal, they can find a way. To be successful, both team members must respect the other and flex.*
We suggest pitch teams rehearse client presentations while leveraging the scientific method
. This means role playing “If/then” scenarios, like scientists developing a hypothesis. There’s no better way to prepare your response to tough questions during the actual
Collect measurable, empirical evidence to bolster your statements. Have team members act the part of the client and try to disprove those statements. If they can’t, then you have material you can present with absolute confidence, and you’ve identified the boundaries that both sales and service feel comfortable with.
For example, when a manufacturing client asks if you can lower their insurance premiums by 20%, your team will be ready to recommend safety seminars, higher employee deductions and wellness programs. Be ready to give examples of similar clients who did what you advised and had a positive outcome. To be most persuasive, speak with absolute confidence. The scientific method has been in play since the seventeenth century. Make it your ally, and your success will be irrefutable.
*Many thanks to our clients Mitch Haber of OneAmerica and Steve Foy of Peter Foy & Associates for their input.