Chapter 14

Trimming Your Sales (Pitch)

It is my ambition to say in 10 sentences what others say in a whole book.

—Friedrich Nietzsche

Long story, short. Buyers and sellers will benefit from shorter pitches that are on target.

Shut Up and Sell

Everyone is in the business of buying and selling ideas. And whatever side of the table you've sat on—either as the seller or buyer—you've seen what both great and terrible look like when it comes to brevity.

Early in my career, my first sales manager wisely cautioned his recruits: “Don't talk through the close—shut up and sell.” It was meant as a bold reminder of brevity. Although it's tempting to think that talking more means you're smarter, more prepared, and more convincing, the opposite is true.

Everyone needs to keep answers short.

I've seen so many train wrecks in this arena: salespeople who get overexcited, overenthusiastic, overcaffeinated, and overexplanatory. It'd be better for them to be more conversational and ask more questions. The role of active listening is absolutely vital, yet rarely practiced.

Regardless of which end you're on, people should feel balance, respect, and restraint throughout the buying and selling process.


Billboard on a Bumper Sticker

Kristi Faulkner is the president and founder of Womenkind, a small New York City advertising agency that was featured on the AMC network's reality show The Pitch in 2012. Her ...

Get Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.