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The good thing about using the overhead technique is that you don’t actually have to learn anything new to try it out. All you really need to do is position yourself so people “overhear” your sales pitch. Then, people who are interested will approach you.


Innovation is the mark of a successful business, and that holds true for salespeople, too. We all know that most people really just want to be left alone. They don’t want to talk to a salesperson.

But they have a problem.

And you have the solution.

With the overheard selling technique, you can reach the 49 percent of people who are intrinsic, and would rather die than talk to you—even about a product they really need.

Here’s a primer on how to sell your product to someone in such a way that they don’t even know you’re selling something.

Old Dog, New Tricks

The good thing about using the overhead technique is that you don’t actually have to learn anything new to try it out. All you really need to do is position yourself so people “overhear” your sales pitch. Then, people who are interested will approach you.

Here’s how this scenario can play out:

  • Trade Shows: Trade shows are ripe with potential customers. But these prospects are also inundated with offers. Find a location where you’ll come across the paths of prospects, then make a pretend call on your phone and pitch your product.
  • Offices. Waiting for the doctor, dentist or DMV attendant? No matter where you are, if you’re in a waiting room with other people, you’ve got an audience with nowhere to go. Pick up your phone and pretend to give your elevator pitch to the fictitious person on the other end, and everyone in the room will hear it too.
  • Conferences. Perhaps you’re at a sales conference or product event, and you’re in a cafeteria or lounge area with time to kill. Everyone in the vicinity is a potential prospect, and they’ll hear your pitch.

By giving this sales tactic credence, you’re going to draw in the type of person who would never approach you directly or be turned off by a direct sales encounter.

Why it Works

There really isn’t any special magic behind this approach. All it does is humanize you as a person, and take the pressure off the prospect.

If you head out into the street intent on “selling,” it’s akin to putting a sign on your forehead: Watch out, I’m selling something and you’re my target! Instead of screaming, “I’m a salesperson,” the overheard tactic takes the pressure off of the prospect, and it breaks down the distrust barrier.

By overhearing your sales pitch, people put down their guards and open up to the possibility of hearing the pitch, and perhaps even making a purchase.

Where do you go throughout your day where you can use it? How can you get yourself in the right places, at the right times to optimize this sales tactic? All you really need to do to get the technique to work is to get creative.

About the author

Robert Hartline

Robert Hartline

Robert Hartline is a Telecom entrepreneur with 19 years of wireless industry experience in…

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