If your sales process includes a sales pitch at some time or another than chances are you’ve been shortlisted somehow. Our Sales Presentation Training is very popular because it covers the technique, the preparation and the all-important, how to overcome nerves when it comes to pitching.
Presenting and pitching are areas where most salespeople could do a lot better.
Most people in sales present a standard pitch that all their customers get to hear.
This doesn’t work. Your buyers are different and buy for different reasons. When people purchase products and services, they have what we call buying criteria. These are the overriding reasons for buying that are most important to them.
So, before you prepare a sales pitch, you need to understand what is going to motivate your customer to buy from you. What is important to them? What are their priorities and needs? Let’s take a look at some sales pitch tips to help.
Sales Pitch Tips
On our Sales Training Courses we stress the importance of asking sales questions before we pitch in a controlled and structured way. Many salespeople lack the self-discipline to plan and prepare their questioning strategy. Their lack of professionalism excludes them from the top 5% of salespeople who make all the money.
Here are the areas we need to probe into if we are going to successfully identify facts, opinions, needs and feelings that will enable us to put together a sales pitch that is truly persuasive:
The contact. The person or people we are meeting with. We need to find out who they are, what they do and what motivates them.
The organisation. This is the company they work for. What is happening in their business? How might changes in their business provide us with selling opportunities?
The decision-making process. How do they make decisions, who gets involved and what are the relevant timescales?
Current suppliers. Who are they buying from now and how well is the competition performing?
Competition. Are we in a bidding situation with other companies to compete against?
li>Finance. What budgets have they prepared? What is their perception of price?
Problems. What are the current issues that we need to help them solve? All selling is problem solving. What are their problems?
Needs. What are their buying criteria? What do we need to provide to make us their choice of supplier?
Once you have all this information you are ready to begin preparing your sales pitch.
Here are some more ideas:
Proposition. Identify which services or products the customer is interested in. You need to have a killer proposition that is well suited and aligned to what they want.
Establish your objectives. Set yourself more than one objective so you have a fallback position if you fail to make the sale or move the sale forward in the way that you’d like.
Clarify what style and length of presentation the customer wants: for example, a full-blown PowerPoint presentation, a product demonstration or a short briefing followed by a discussion. This is important. I’ve turned up assuming it was a discussion, and the company was expecting death by PowerPoint!
Establish a few key points that support this message; relate your points to the customer’s needs and interests. Don’t over argue your case. The more arguments, the less persuasive your case.
Prepare a logical argument for buying your product or service based on your knowledge of the customer. However, also be aware that there will be emotional issues that have a major influence on the decision to buy so you will need a watertight logic vs emotion case to move forward with you.
Prepare a beginning, a middle and an end for your presentation. Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them and tell them what you told them.
Collate any facts and evidence to support your argument: for example, product samples, brochures, case studies or customer testimonials. Make sure your samples work.
Rehearse your sales pitch until you are satisfied. Practice makes perfect
Think about how you are going to close. You must look for commitment, either asking for the sale, or what the next phase of the sales process will be.
Make sure when you present your pitch you remind the customer of what was discussed in prior meetings. This shows you were listening. Finally, during your pitch remember to trial close. Trial closing is a process of asking questions during your sales pitch to get feedback on how the customer is feeling.
Trial close questions include:
• “How does that sound?”
• “Is that the kind of thing you are looking for?”
• “How do you feel about that?”
Make Your Sales Pitch Come Alive
I’ve sat through literally hundreds of presentations by salespeople trying to sell me their products or services using all different types of selling approaches. And most of them have been from companies I have asked to come in and tell me about their products. Whether they were office furniture salespeople who wanted to kit out our new offices or recruitment agencies for new people in the company, I have sat through some boring sales pitches I can tell you.
But some have been what I consider to be quite magical. They were the ones that did their homework. They were the ones who talked about my business rather than their products. But, most importantly, they were the ones who made their pitch come alive.
By creating a vivid picture of how my business would be more successful when we used their products.
What did they do, specifically?
They painted pictures with their words. They made their products come alive in my mind with the language they used. They created a bespoke solution for my company by showing me how I would lose out if I didn’t say yes.
And yet, I never felt under pressure. They didn’t use tricks or tactics that made me think I was being sold to. No, they created a need in my mind that could only be satisfied with their solution.
Painting pictures with words means speaking the language of the client. One salesperson described how much time I could save using his product. He asked what I could do with the extra 30 minutes a day his product would save me. When I realised that was 10 hours a month, I was instantly intrigued by what he was offering, as I could immediately see the benefits to other areas of my business.
How can you make your pitch come alive by painting pictures with the words you use? Practice with your colleagues so you can share ideas and create presentations that really stand out against the competition.
Relate Your Sales Pitch To The Prospect
One way to bring your pitch to life is by tailoring it and making it specific for each potential customer. You need to relate whatever you say and present to the needs and wants of your buyers. So, you’ve found out what the client wants and listened to their many needs. You’ve asked the right questions and got to the main areas of concern. Now you’re ready to present the solutions and convince the prospect you have the answer to their problems.
A great pitch turns into a two-way conversation, with the prospect seeing the answer to their problems getting clearer and clearer. Each part of your presentation should be related to specific aspects of the prospect’s business.
Follow this checklist:
– Make each presentation personal and persuasive
– Make it an interactive, two-way conversation
– Blend the right amount of emotional appeal with intellectual reasons to buy
– Involve the prospect – speak about your product from their perspective, not yours
– Identify the specific buying motive, then tie your product to it
– Use the words your prospect uses, to match and mirror their thought process
– Tailor each presentation to the individual needs of the prospect
By doing all the above, you create a very good reason for them to listen to you and make the right decision to buy from you. Make each presentation unique and specific, and you’ll see your prospect quickly turn into a client.
Benchmark Your Sales Skills & Competencies For FREE!
Receive a 19-page personalised report on the findings
Get an analysis of how you sell along with
some recommendations on how to improve
5 Common Sales Pitch Mistakes
Many salespeople tell us they enjoy presenting solutions to prospects, but are disappointed with the way they are received.
One of the most participative parts of our Selling Skills Training involve areas where solutions are presented to prospects, and we can almost guarantee that some of the learners will make similar mistakes to each other.
Here are the four biggest sales pitch mistakes salespeople make and how you can avoid them:
Your Pitch Uses Too Many Visuals
Many salespeople read from their screens or handouts or brochures and lose the connection with the prospect. If visuals sold products, we wouldn’t need you! Make the visual part of the presentation enhance your offer, not be the offer.
Lack Of Sales Pitch Preparation
This will always let you down. There’s no need to script it, but you must know what the main points are, what’s coming next and, crucially, what the benefits are to the prospect. There must be a logical, progressive flow. The prospect must see a development of ideas that they can follow and believe in. Without the adequate amount of preparation, the prospect will lose confidence that this is really the answer to their problems.
There’s often too much information and not enough persuasion. Remember that your presentation should answer a need that the prospect has, not allow them to be a University Challenge contestant answering questions on your product. Your persuasion technique should allow them to see how you will improve their business.
Your Sales Pitch Is Too Reactive
Most presentations we see almost attract objections because they don’t cover the most important, central needs of the prospect. The presentation of your solutions should only be made after the diagnosis of the real problems have been uncovered. When you know what the real problems are, you can anticipate the objections before they occur and build them into your presentation. If price is an issue, you could say something like:
“Now, we know many clients of ours have questioned our prices before they bought, so I will now cover why this investment will really work for you, based on what we discussed earlier”.
Then cover exactly what the prospect questioned during your diagnosis of his situation.
By overcoming these biggest presentation mistakes, you give yourself a great chance to prove your value and worth to your prospect with information that will show how you are best for their company.
Your Sales Pitch Just Fades Out At The End
How many times have you walked away from a presentation, returned to your office, and stated that the sale is in the bag, and it’s just a matter of getting the signature on the contract? How often have you then been disappointed that the sale didn’t materialise, especially after you had been convinced the customer bought into your solution and said all the right things while you were making your pitch?
If you’re like many salespeople, this will happen a lot.
How can you be a little more confident, then, that your pitch hit the mark, and that you won’t be disappointed with little or no progress later?
Here are some ideas.
After your pitch, don’t just ask ‘And that’s it really’
I’ve mentioned trial closes earlier. That’s just to gauge interest. What I’m talking about now is how to progress the sale to the next stage.
They may nod in the right places and give you the right signals, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are really interested and if you’re not careful your sales funnel will become bloated with uninterested prospects when you think they are.
Ask what the next stage will be
Having pitched your solution, get the prospect to take the initiative by asking what they see as the next step in the process. It’s important you gain commitment from the prospect at this stage, rather than trying every trick you’ve learned to get them to sign up. The more in control the prospect is during this stage, the more they will tell you how agreeable they are to your solution.
Discuss what the results will be when they start using your solution
Remember, people won’t be buying your products or services; they buy what your products and services will do for their business or themselves after the purchase decision has been made. This means you must paint a picture of what the results will be when they have been using your product or services for some time.
Will they be more profitable?
Will their productivity increase?
Will their customers get better delivery terms?
In other words, what will be the benefits they will achieve after using you?
Interest is transitory until they make the decision
Our English word ‘decision’ comes from the root Latin word meaning ‘to cut off from’.
Until the prospect has made a decision, options are still open to them, and the pitch hasn’t made a difference to their future yet. What needs to happen is for them to determine the next stage.
At the end of your sales pitch, here are some examples of what you can say:
What would you like to do next?
Is there anything else you need to ask or go through before you make a final decision?
Do we have anything else to cover before we move onto the next stage?
Each of these stages will help you determine if your presentation has been successful before moving on to the next part of the sales process.
If the prospect has been impressed sufficiently, you should be able to gain commitment to the next stage.
If not, then you need to ascertain how the process needs to be progressed, so you help the prospect gain confidence in making a decision.
Either way, you help both of you decide which direction you need to go next.
I hope these tips have been helpful. Two courses that might be relevant to you are our Sales Negotiation Training and Consultative Selling Training programmes. Each of them will help you before, during and after your sales presentations. Not many salespeople are skilled in the art of negotiation and if you come up against a well-trained buyer then they can wreck your margins if you’re not careful.