I’ve been on both sides of pitch meetings, and I’m pretty sure everybody hates pitch meetings.

By “pitch meeting” I mean a seller sitting before a group or committee of buyers and presenting a case for why they should be chosen to provide a set of products or services.

Some call it the “dog and pony show”, which in too many cases it devolves into.  Too often, it’s flash and optics without substance.

As a buyer, when I was at Microsoft and subsequently at a couple start-ups, I hated them.  They felt like a waste of time, lots of self-centered chest beating and too little of substance.

As a seller I mostly dislike them for the same reasons.  Fortunately, in nine-plus years of business, I’ve only had to give pitches a small handful of times.  And when we do, I refuse to pitch.

Instead of the pitch, I choose to teach.

If I’m going to win your business as a consultant that knows how to build sales pipelines, I’m going to teach you what I know about sales pipelines.  I’m going to customize that session based on your business or industry as much as possible.  Just one slide and seven words about Heinz Marketing at the end.

At the end of the meeting, I want the buyers to think to themselves that they would have been happy to pay for what I just shared.  When’s the last time you would have paid to sit in a pitch meeting?

My preferred method of meeting with prospect customers is with a pen and paper, asking diagnostic questions and providing immediate input.  But if I must pitch, I’ll teach.

Below is a deck I used last week in just such a situation.  Especially when delivered in person, it can quickly become a mini-workshop or working session that’s valuable for both sides of the table.