Why do we use the word “pitch” to describe the process of putting an idea to someone?

If you look up the meaning and etymology of the word it means to “fall headlong; to throw roughly or carelessly; to throw towards something (a batter); to drive into the ground (pitch a tent)”.

NONE of these mean “to convincingly influence towards alignment with an idea”.  Yet that is what selling really is – taking the customer through a thought process that allows them to voluntarily align with the idea you’re floating to them.

You don’t want the customer to be a prisoner … volunteers always make the best customers.

In baseball, we pitch to the batter to “strike them out” – hardly a collaborative or consultative approach.  For too long, sales has been seen as a combative sport.  Even the language of “win the sale” conjures up competition.

I get the need for shortcuts in language, and the use of words for things other than their original meaning, but I think we can do better.

What if we replace the word “pitch” with “promise”?

Why are we so comfortable about “making our pitch” but the idea of “making a promise” in sales seems to stir up a level of discomfort?

We’re all familiar with the idea of an elevator pitch – you may even have one, but I’d love to know, if instead of an elevator pitch you were going to make a simple promise, what would you change about what you say?

In our world, we show the prospect the models, rather than deliver the pitch.  We give them a “blueprint for the brain” that lays out a tangible, visual framework for how what we do will change their world.  These visual models sit between their cynicism and our promise and allows us to come together, side-by-side, and explore our structured and proven solution.