Let’s be frank: preparing and delivering a good sales pitch is anything but a piece of cake.
What is pretty simple, though: a sales pitch no longer means just throwing info at your (potential) client like a baseball player would pitch a ball at a batter.
Instead, an effective sales pitch is a two way road: it is an exchange where you carefully listen to your prospect and are determined to find the right solution to their challenge. It should be less of a business presentation and more of a productive conversation about your potential client’s business needs. It’s about showing empathy and trying to see things from your prospect’s point of view. Philipp Grimm, SELLBYTEL Vice President Worldwide Sales and experienced salesman, respectively adds: “Asking beats talking every time in these situations. The more you ask, the more your counterpart in the pitch will feel involved, taken seriously and knows that you really care about their pains and needs.”
Bearing this in mind, here are a few more clues to turn your next sales pitch into the most show-stopping performance. We divide this into things to consider before, during and after the pitch:
Preparation is everything! As simple as it may sound, excellent sales pitches ask for a great deal of prep work. It’s all about understanding your potential client, their business, the market they are in, the challenges and competitors they might have. Do your research in advance. Shockingly, statistics say that 82 % of sellers are not aligned with the needs of their buyer. So don’t try to sell YOUR solution, listen carefully to what your CLIENT needs!
First impressions count! Making a super creative, memorable and gripping entrance to your pitch is definitely a great way to grab your audience’s attention. Philipp comments: “Make sure you greet everyone with passion and confidence. Remember the names and titles. If something is unclear, ask! Offer drinks, coffee, let them know about your guest wifi, tell small stories about your company. Just be a memorable host.”
Being a good host is just as crucial as getting your presentation to stay in people’s minds for as long as possible.
Grab attention! No matter what you do, always focus on keeping people’s attention. The higher are your chances of winning them over. That includes collecting relevant information about your prospect in advance and then actively discussing it to show you care. Philipp adds: “Look people in the eye, try to absorb as much sentiment and face expressions as you can. Ask people directly about their doubts when you can see it in their face. Observe how your audience is listening. Are they actively listening or do they look tired, distracted, bored? If so, move on to the next slides, change the pace in the presentation, get them involved again – and yes, by questioning.”
Solve your buyer’s problems! It’s no secret that customers respond most to products that solve a current problem. The prospect himself might not even be aware of this issue yet. Philipp explains: “A successful sales pitch will acknowledge that problem (via research) and provide a solution that goes beyond the current problem solving offered. This is what added value is all about. Just providing a solution to a problem is just not good enough to stand out. Think about future challenges and how the very same product can solve those as well – anticipate challenges, create possible scenarios and tell them how your product can also solve those. This is added value because it is anticipating the future.”
Anticipate Objections! “Even though you might be sure that your service or product is perfect for the prospect, the prospect does not know it yet. We always anticipate that our counterparts know as much as we do. Anticipate that this is not the truth”, Philipp recommends. So how do you erase those doubts? Have you thought about what you would say if you were told your product is too expensive? What if your prospect already works with your strongest competitor and they’re happy with the way things are? How will you reply if you’re told right now isn’t the best time? Philipp says: “Explain your points of view in detail, base it on figures, facts, data, history and references. Anything that references to a solid data point is considered a fact and an argument in your favor.”
Hence always make sure to plan responses to what your prospects might ask or say.
Follow up! Every sales pitch should end with a sensible call to action. Even if the prospect isn’t ready to complete the sale yet, be sure to keep them on the journey and move forward with a follow-up meeting or a trial period. Never wait for them to make the call to action, show some initiative! Accordingly Philipp notes: “Initiative is about creating step targets for the process to come, make suggestions on how you can alter your offer based on what you have learned through asking and listening. Get a commitment for the next contact, call, meeting, site visit, demo etc.
Once your prospect is gone, follow up with a thank you email and the actions and timelines you discussed during the meeting. Show attention to detail and thoughtfulness. Manage expectations in your favor and stay in control. Active beats passive anytime.”
Go for referral biz! This is something to head start your next pitch. Get your current clients to refer yourself to other potential decision-makers. It’s no secret that referrals are more likely to generate a new sale than any other method. And someone who is happy with your service will be happy to spread the word. “Connect them through a nice email with their names, titles, what they are responsible for and the matter of the reference call. Note a line that states what the prospect is looking for and in what business the reference is in. Leave it to them to find a good time to meet. Ask your reference for feedback post the reference call to get a sense of the questions being asked by the prospect. Build this information into your next reason to call / contact”, Philipp suggests.
So what’s it all about?
Philipp sums up once again what pitching is about: „Pitching is high intensity interactive story telling. While you are in the pitch and you are prepared well, you need to gather the facts, benchmark with your research and preparation and build your story on the go. The story should always answer three questions: did we do it before? How did we do it for others? And how did it benefit the client? If you build your pitch around one or more real life stories, you are considered a subject matter expert who can truly and reliably deliver. That wins pitches!”
Finally it all comes down to …
… the people, the situation and the presentation itself. Plus, the interplay between all of them. Stop talking about yourself, show some empathy, ask questions and offer a true solution that has an added value and a wow factor. One last and pretty important thing to remember: be patient with yourself! Give yourself some time to perfect your pitching skills. Practice makes perfect!
What are your tips for an unbeatable pitch? Let us know in the comments below!