Book Review: Ditch the Pitch by Steve Yastrow
Disclaimer: I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway on the premise that I would review it.
This book is subtitled “The Art of Improvised Persuasion”; it’s primarily aimed at salespeople, although the author mentions that the techniques can be used for any persuasive conversation. Most of the focus is on using improvisation techniques to create an interactive connection with the other person, rather than a prepared sales pitch.
The author is a marketing consultant whose previous books include We: The Ideal Customer Relationship and Brand Harmony. Much of his research for this volume was done by attending improvisational performances and workshops, and interviewing improvisational performers.
Some of the tips presented in this book include active listening, making the conversation about the customer’s story and then making it “our” story by matching the customer’s story with the useful bits of yours, and using “yes, and…” instead of “no” or “yes, but.” It’s a bit much to take all at once, so the author has broken it down into useful habits to work on one or two at a time. This has website support for the dedicated practitioner.
This book’s message primarily applies to “real-time” conversations; while improvisational speaking is affected by talent, almost everyone can learn the skills with practice and patience. Despite the reassurances of the author, salesmanship is the main use of the topic in this book. It is less likely to be useful for those in low-level positions where you are expected to complete X number of calls in an hour, or are punished for going “off-script.”
I would recommend the book itself primarily to those interested in sales or customer service (which also requires improvisational skills.) I recommend some training in improvisation to everyone who can find time for it; it is very helpful in many areas of life.