Customers wait in line during the sales launch for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the Apple Inc. store in New York and Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Sept. 19, 2014.
Apple Inc.’s stores attracted long lines of shoppers for the debut of the latest iPhones, indicating healthy demand for the bigger-screen smartphones.
The devices went on sale today in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. Shoppers in New York and San Francisco had already formed lines in the past two days to be among the first to buy the gadgets.
At Apple’s store on Fifth Avenue in New York, police officers put up barricades as the line stretched more than 10 blocks and the crowd cheered continuously for the 15 minutes before the phones officially went on sale.
Photographers: Victor J. Blue and David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Ben and I are currently in a heated debate. As someone who is not a named member of Ben’s start-up company, I try to keep my thoughts to myself. But it’s incredibly difficult. While the app is not my paying job, it IS my life…it’s the main topic of conversation every time Ben wakes me up before my alarm (which is more often than not), the updates I get via text throughout the day, and what we talk about at meals. It’s hard to remain an outsider when you are expected to contribute to the conversation (although there are times when I need a break and have gotten away with saying versions of “yes” over and over again…shush! Don’t tell Ben). So I have learned when to voice my two cents. And since my participation in networking has be deemed necessary, my thoughts are allowed to be vocalized.
So here is the debate: After our recent networking event, we realized that we all had different views when it comes to doing the sales pitch.
Megan is the most laid back of the bunch. Her goal is to get the person’s contact information and then follow up with them at a later date.
Pros: Your main focus is to merely have a conversation. You are free to go into as little or as much detail as you wish. Plus it’s a lot easier to get someone to agree to exchanging numbers versus signing up for an app. You also get to make a connection with the customer. It definitely helps when the customer likes you.
Cons: This process takes a lot of time. After you have exchanged numbers, you then have to track this person down, only to play phone-tag. Once you have them on the phone, you ultimately have to do the sales spiel (which you could have already done in person ). We are also finding that potential customers then want to meet in person for a demonstration. So now you to schedule yet another meeting, drive in traffic, likely pay for lunch, etc. Acquiring one customer becomes very time costly. More important, you have probably wasted a lot of time on people who will NOT use your product. Exchanging numbers is not the most effective way to determine high quality leads.
Ben is the most straightforward. Being the tech guy who led the development of the app, he knows the app inside and out. Customers like to meet the man behind the curtain…and that is Ben. He shows off his talents and jumps right into the pitch, making it clear he is here to showcase the app.
Pros: He does make people feel special. How many CEOs are going to meet every client? Well that is Ben’s goal. Since he knows the app so well, he explains it concretely and answers every question. It is also very time effective since he is determining the quality of the lead right then and there, without the numerous follow ups.
Cons: He comes off a bit insincere, since it’s the same speech regardless of the person. It’s also a bit abrasive and overwhelming. In his desire to boost the credibility of the product, he has traded relating to the customer.
The fourth group member, who lives on the East Coast and cannot attend these events in person, is our business advisor Dave. A highly successful consultant, Dave is largely responsible for getting both Ben and Megan to focus on achievable goals with the highest gains. Dave is arguing for one standard pitch tweaked here and there as a result of our actual encounters with prospective customers. In short, we don’t know what does work. We need more data to figure it all out. Instead of debating with each other, we need to get out there and talk with customers.
Pros: It’s far better to do something because the data has shown it to work versus personal opinion. It will also hopefully eliminate friction over the right pitch.
Cons: This will take time, and we will likely stumble a bunch. We might even embarrass ourselves and tick off a few people. I honestly don’t have a problem with that–my main concern is that by insisting on one specific approach, we as individuals may not be playing to our strengths. Furthermore, I personally believe that each pitch needs to be tailored the customer. Some people will respond to Ben, while others will prefer Megan’s soft approach. Customers are not one size fits all.
I doubt my approach is mystery. I recognize the need to identify key phrases and features we all need to pitch. Regardless of who is pitching the app, every customer should have an equal understanding of the app and why they should use it. However, I want us all to play to our strengths: Megan and I are very relatable and easy going. We can have a conversation with anyone. Ben on the other hand is very impressive and straightforward. He is not one to waste time or words. We should be able to steer customers to the best fit pitch based on our strengths.
Pros: Like Megan, I believe that connecting with a customer is important and want the opportunity to do so. Moreover, would a Car Salesman use the same pitch on a twenty something urban professional that he uses on a forty year-old parent? How about my baby-boomer mother versus me. While my mom and I are very similar, we have different needs when it comes to a car. The ability to adapt the pitch to the customer is essential.
Cons: This approach is dependent on our ability to read the customer’s needs properly…a whole new skill in itself. It also requires at least 10 minutes of pure conversation in order to read the customer prior to jumping into the pitch. It is time costly.
So with various different opinions, what are we going to do? We are going to start the Dave’s approach. Not only is it data driven, but it forces us to remain focus (the essential skill discussed previously). We need to start somewhere and build a solid foundation. I hope that once we have identified the go-to pitch, we will be able to modify it when necessary. I’ll let you know how it all goes!
In meantime, feel free to add your two cents. Who do you think has the best sales pitch strategy? Or do you have a far better idea? Please contribute to the conversation.