36 Experts Reveal the Biggest Sales Pitch Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Making the perfect sales pitch is as much an art as it is a science, and the perfect pitch may be different for each sales professional. After all, a sales pitch is uniquely influenced (or should be) by the sales representative’s individual style, the product, company culture and values, and, perhaps most importantly, the customer.

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Because making the perfect sales pitch requires an innate ability to perfectly balance these multiple influencing factors to create value for the customer while getting desired results for the company, it’s not a huge surprise that many sales reps make mistakes during the all-important sales pitch. From failing to tune in to individual customers’ needs to talking too much and not taking time to listen, not adequately conveying “What’s in it for me?” to prospects, to badmouthing your competitors, and more, there are a multitude of snafus sales reps can make during the pitch.

To learn more about the most common (and most critical) sales pitch mistakes sales reps are making today and how sales professionals can avoid common mistakes to craft the perfect pitch, we asked a panel of sales and marketing professionals to answer this question:

“What’s the single biggest mistake sales pros make with their sales pitch that costs them business?”

See what our experts had to say below.

Meet Our Panel of Sales and Marketing Experts:

Michael BremmerMichael Bremmer

@telecomquotes

An entrepreneur, speaker, and worldwide connector, Michael is recognized for new ways of thinking about technology, telecommunications, and having the audacity to believe common sense is still the best medicine for life. Michael is best known for founding Telecomquotes.com, helping businesses by being their defacto CIO, and finding unique ways to make their technology “roll up its sleeves and go to work.”

“The number one sales pitch mistake I see sales reps make is…”

Talking too much. Listen to your customers. They’ll tell you everything you need to know, then ask who/why/what/where/when questions based on what they say.


Karl SakasKarl Sakas

@KarlSakas
@SakasAndCo

Karl Sakas at Sakas & Company helps digital marketing agencies grow without breaking. Karl advises agencies worldwide and runs an online community for 600+ agencies in 40+ countries. Outside of work, Karl volunteers as a bartender on a 1930s railroad car. Get free tips at http://sakasandcompany.com/newsletter/

“The biggest mistake sales reps can make with a sales pitch is to…”

Focus the sales pitch on you, not your prospective client. People are thinking WIIFM (What’s In It For Me), not WIIFY (What’s In It For You). I see this problem in sales proposals and in sales presentations. Your customers and clients want to know how you’ll solve their problem, not your founder’s bio from 63 years ago. Focus on your prospect’s needs and you’ll get better results.


Ryan HullandRyan Hulland

@ryanbhulland

Ryan Hulland is the President of Netfloor USA Access Flooring.

“The biggest mistake a salesperson can make is…”

Badmouthing their competition.

You don’t want to get a reputation for being ‘that guy’ who is always talking bad about the competition.

Talking bad about your competitors hurts your sales prospects in many ways. It makes you look desperate, you come across as a negative person, and it gets your competition’s name into your client’s mind. By trying to make your competition look bad, you could actually be giving them free publicity.

The best advice I can give a salesperson is the advice I always give to employees at my companies: Always take the high road. Never, ever, talk bad about the competition. It doesn’t hurt to actually give the competition a compliment like, “He is a nice guy,” or “Yes, they make a pretty good product.”

Although many sales people are focused on what is immediately in front of them, those who focus on long-term growth and success will be the most successful in their industry. Establishing a reputation as an honest, genuine person who doesn’t badmouth the competition will eventually come around to benefit your sales in ways you can’t even imagine. And the best part is, unless you really are a negative jerk, it should come naturally to you. There’s nothing to change, no courses to take. Just be yourself, be honest, and help your clients solve a problem.


Eric EricksonEric Erickson

Eric Erickson is a business growth consultant, public speaker, and trainer.

“The #1 sales pitch mistake is…”

The lack of clarity. Sales people work so hard trying to woo or make an impression that they forget to tell the client why they are there and what they are asking for. A sales pitch should be clear, concise, and set the expectations so the client knows exactly why they are there and what they are asking for.


Jennifer MartinJennifer Martin

@ZestBizCoach

Jennifer Martin is a Business Coach and Corporate Trainer who helps Small Business Owners, Leaders, and Managers understand how to build a thriving business and a life they love.

“The number-one sales pitch mistake sales professionals make is…”

Over-selling. You need to know when to ask for the sale.

As a sales trainer, the biggest problem I see is when a salesperson talks their clients into a sale and then talks themselves right out of a sale by not knowing when to stop, listen, or ask for the sale.

Bottom line: you’ve got to keep your conversation client-centric. Make sure you are keeping eye contact with your prospect and watch or listen to their verbal and non-verbal cues so that when they are ready to say yes, you let them sign on the bottom line.


Cheri Spets FarmerCheri Spets Farmer

@cheri_spets

Cheri Farmer is a veteran of sales with 30 years’ experience. She started her career as a media Account Executive, became a manager, and eventually rose to the position of VP & Director of Sales for Barrington Broadcasting, where she oversaw sales managers of 26 television stations. Most recently, Farmer consults companies by training sellers and coaching sales managers.

“The biggest hang-up for sales reps when it comes to making sales pitches is…” 

Listening comes hard to most of us extroverted, type-A personalities. Talking, now that’s another thing. We can talk to a wall (and sometimes do). In our minds we perceive the ability to “espouse our wisdom” to be a much-admired, highly sought-after, “man-I’m-really-nailing-this-one” skill in a presentation. When in reality, if we would just listen, our audience, or the buyer, would tell us exactly what they’re looking for. Then we could align their need with our product, close the deal, and everyone goes home happy.

Today, the sale area has shifted and the buyer wants a partner of sorts, someone they can trust to work through the purchasing process with them. A relationship is what we’re talking about. A relationship where the sales professional is a trusted resource. And being a trusted resource means listening to what the buyer has to say.


Barry MaherBarry Maher

@barrymaher

Selling Power magazine said, “To his powerful and famous clients, Barry Maher is simply the best sales trainer in the business.” Barry has appeared on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CNBC, and he’s frequently featured in publications like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the London Times, Business Week and USA Today.

“The #1 sales pitch mistake, one I encounter all over the country (actually all over the world) entails…”

Salespeople acting like it’s all about their product, their company, or themselves. It’s not. It’s all about the customer. Which means finding out about the customer is far more important than explaining that ‘deal of a lifetime’ salespeople would like customers to believe they’re offering.


Jonathan KendallJonathan Kendall

@SucceedFast

Global advisor, keynote speaker and selling-business coach, Jonathan teaches organizations and individuals how to use and expand their skills to best develop their organizations. For over twenty-five years, Jonathan has owned and managed a diverse group of interrelated companies around the world, specializing in the break-through Global Leadership and Management, Innovation, Technologies, Selling, Training, and Learning & Development Skills. His professional experience in technology and business from the USA to Latin America came from his synergetic love for all things technological, entrepreneurial, and commercial. Always focused on success by building on each individual’s potential, Jonathan’s career has enabled him to create massive value and help others build and expand their success. He enjoys making money, helping people, and having fun.

“The biggest sales pitch mistake being made by sales representatives today is…” 

Unbelievably, in this day and age, it’s still poor communications skills. Storytelling and public speaking generate more anxiety and fear than most anything else.

First, most people are scared to death of speaking in front of a crowd, or client, or even their boss, and they must be coached to be completely secure and sincere when they speak.

Second, for the ones who are not afraid of speaking, and for those who are taught to speak well and learn to enjoy it, most will have no idea what to say and will blather on endlessly, which is deadly to their chance of success. It is critical to all pitches that they are not boring!

People must be taught to properly tell stories. We all enjoy a good yarn. It’s a skill that can and must be learned. And research has proven that stories can lead to increased retention and acceptance of the message (i.e., more rewards for all).

Don’t blather like a bore; communicate like a storyteller.


Josh CurrierJosh Currier

@CurrierMktg

Josh Currier is a certified Duct Tape Marketing consultant and founder of Currier Marketing. He is a business acquisition specialist and provides turnkey marketing services to local and national businesses.

“The biggest mistake when making a sales pitch is…”

Not tying the solution to the problem/pain point the prospect desires to solve. As a sales professional, you may absolutely know that your solution will provide the outcome the prospect is looking for, and you may think it is obvious. But, if the connection isn’t clearly made that your offering does provide this very solution, the prospect may not make the connection on their own. Understanding the exact problem or pain point that the prospect is trying to solve is crucial to the sales process, both for the prospect to justify the purchase and for the sales person to qualify the individual/company as a fit for the product/service.

As a bonus, if you disqualify a prospect and know that you cannot provide the solution they need, then you can avoid wasting both their time and yours and focus on more qualified prospects.


Nick SantoraNick Santora

@Curricula

Nick Santora is the Chief Executive Officer of Curricula, a leading provider of cyber security awareness training.

“As a SaaS security awareness company, the biggest mistake we can make during a sales pitch is…”

Pricing too early during the pitch. We need to describe the value proposition prior to releasing any pricing. If a potential customer hears a price too early in the pitch, they are going to be comparing the price of each and every function and feature they hear to ensure they are getting value for their investment. This complicates the sales process since the potential customer is only listening to the value propositions offered. They become impartial in the sales process and wind up becoming discouraged when attempting to close a sale. The final sale has become an expectation during the closing process and allows the customer to easily remove themselves from the sales process.


Joe RucciJoe Rucci

@bfwebtraffic

Joe Rucci is the creative officer at BuyFastWebTraffic, helping businesses strategically buy web traffic.

“The biggest mistake sales representatives can make in the process of a sales pitch is…” 

We run a website that sells internet advertising. Of course, our users have a lot of choices when it come to choosing an internet advertising campaign. When we have sales calls with potential customers, the biggest mistake we can make is not describing what we can do differently than our competitors. Think about it: if you are in the insurance industry, every single company is selling the exact same product. It is up the the business owner to demonstrate to the customer what differentiates them from the competition and then take advantage of that differentiation.


Lou AltmanLou Altman

@GlobaFone

Lou Altman has been a Customer Service Redeemer for more than 30 years and is currently the CEO of GlobaFone and CEO and Lead Trainer at Next Level.

A die-hard entrepreneur with expertise in psychology, sociology, and marketing, Lou Altman is always asking customer-centric questions, always asking ‘why” and turning simple questions into profoundly complex action.

Lou has been a front line CSR, and managed groups in call centers. He ha’s led record-breaking sales teams and created/trained/implemented asset retention programs. His current company has a 90% retention rate and a client life cycle 3X the industry average. His depth and knowledge is a result of real world experience, a deep tacit understanding of the psychology of customer service, and the creativity to solve complex problems.

“The most critical mistake sales reps make in making a sales pitch is…” 

We’’ve all experienced the hard sell; the pressure, the limited time offers (which in their own right are bad policy), and the terrible, “If you buy this, I can win the trip to Hawaii’.” There are plenty of obvious sales pitch mistakes, and my favorite– (if you can call it that)– is the mistake of selling for the wrong reason. Here’’s what I mean by that:

I am a corporate trainer under my Next Level company. My approach to training is all about the customer perspective; what is best for them, even if it isn’’t your product or service. There are several reasons why approaching a sale from the customer perspective is the best route:

1. It demonstrates that you are more interested in their results than yours. Being of service to others is the highest calling in life (and when you get paid for it, even better).

2. The most popular radio station in the world is still WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?). Your winning the sales trip to Hawaii is an insult to your customer and among many wrong reasons for you to be in sales.

3. If you are going to be trusted, you need to work together. People still always buy from people they know, like, and trust. Trust is HUGE in sales, especially for high-impact and high-involvement purchases, such as homes, vehicles, and investments. As a salesperson, you had’ better have the customer’s perspective. People can sense if you are being genuine and authentic, and if you’’re not, you will struggle.

4. Trust: Once you have trust, you no longer have a customer; you have a client, and a client is a remarkable thing to have in sales. Clients trust you, take your advice, and pay a premium to feel special and to be taken care of by a professional. Be that professional. While other sales staff in your office are working on transactional quotas, you work on your trust quota. You’’ll have long relationships (my longest client relationship is 15 ½ years with a Fortune 500 company, through three staff turnovers), a raving fan base, and a ready source of referrals.

When you approach sales from your perspective, you miss all of this, and you will struggle.


Michael JosephMichael Joseph

Michael Joseph is the Head Strategist at WME Group.

“There are two major sales pitch mistakes reps commonly make, including…” 

1. Through personal experience, I’ve learned that when a sales representative knows the product too well, they forget to understand the customer’s objectives and it turns into a ‘push sell’. The rep simply talks more than they should . Listen more than you talk!

2. When a sales representative asks a question, they need to be silent and let the customer answer elaborately, so that they understand the customer’s objectives and are able to start the ‘solution sell’ with the end in mind.


Dave SchneiderDave Schneider

@ninjaoutreach

David Schneider is the cofounder of NinjaOutreach, an innovative new Blogger Outreach software for marketers. He writes about business and entrepreneurship at SelfMadeBusinessman, and enjoys travel.

“The single biggest mistake sales reps can make during a sales pitch is…”

Focusing on yourself and not the customer.

Many people are very me focused, such as:

  • “Our product does this.”
  • “We do that.”
  • “We’re the best at this.”

People don’t care about these things. They want to know how you can add value to what they’re doing.

Don’t talk about how your product finds contact information. Talk about how your product will save them time by automating the process of searching for contact information, which will result in man hours saved and decreased costs (or a large opportunity for them to contact potential leads).

You have to have a ‘what’s in it for them’ perspective, and frame everything that way.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the natural tendency for most people, which is why sales falls flat on its face for many people.


Michael KrasmanMichael Krasman

@UrbanBound

Michael is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded five high-growth businesses over his career. He is currently the co-founder and CEO of UrbanBound, a cloud-based Relocation Management Software company. UrbanBound is reshaping the way employers offer and administer relocation benefits for their employees. Through the platform, employees can learn about their new city, organize their entire move, and get connected to a vetted network of service providers. Michael has spent the past 15 years focusing on the cross section of technology and Human Resources and is also a co-founder and board director of Hireology, a platform that uses data to make better hiring decisions. Michael holds a Bachelors of Business Administration with High Honors from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and is a past-president of the Chicago chapter of the Entrepreneur’s Organization.

“The number one mistake a sales rep can make in making a sales pitch is…”

Failing to paint a picture of the problem you solve, and jumping in to answer the question. This can be fixed by asking a question that gets the person to place themselves in the position of someone who is an ideal customer for you. For example, at UrbanBound, if I were asked what we do, my first response is to ask, “Have you ever moved before?” In almost all cases, the answer is yes. My follow-up is, “Did you find the experience frustrating and complicated, and did you find that you had to do a tremendous amount of research on neighborhoods, service providers, housing, etc., on your own?” Again, the person will typically answer in the affirmative. Once the picture is painted, it is appropriate to explain the business. We solve that problem by providing web-based tools that make the moving process easy. We help someone who is moving get organized, save money, and save time.


Ryan O'DonnellRyan O’Donnell

@RyanOD

Ryan O’Donnell is the Director of Marketing for Avalara TrustFile, providing automated sales tax filing for small business owners.

“The biggest sales pitch mistake sales reps commonly make is…” 

Failing to listen to the customer.

It’s easy to get caught up in one’s own product or service and forget to ask questions and listen, listen, listen. Forgetting to focus on the customer is the kiss of death for any sales call. Period.


Lisa ChuLisa Chu

@BlackNBianco

Lisa Chu owns a children’s formal clothing brand named Black N Bianco. Her apparel brand is dedicated to providing affordable and adorable children’s formal wear.

“The single biggest sales pitch mistake in my opinion is…”

Being overly aggressive. If you are too pushy, you will turn a lot of people off. In many ways sales is like dating. If you smell like desperation, no one will want to buy what you’re selling. Overselling will make you seem insincere. Being authentic is crucial to letting your consumers trust what you are offering. At the end of the day, if you have a great product, you will not come off desperate trying to make a sale.


Richard MangahasRichard Mangahas

@rmangaha

Based in Reno, NV, Richard Mangahas is a small business consultant specializing in efficiency who has been helping businesses improve since 2006, through his company Rikema. Richard has been featured in a Crestron case study and in Sound and Communication magazine.

“The single biggest mistake I often see sales people make is…”

Expecting a product to sell itself. Despite every sales training session I’ve ever seen, sales people constantly highlight the features of a product instead of the benefits or how it will solve whatever concern the customer has. I especially see this in electronics, where the latest technological advances are highlighted instead of how the technology actually helps.


Tim NguyenTim Nguyen

@BeSmartee

Tim is CoFounder & CEO at BeSmartee, a do-it-yourself mortgage marketplace where you can get a home loan as easy as booking a plane ticket online. He’s directly sold to and managed sales teams who’ve sold to medium, large, and enterprise banks, credit unions, and lenders nationwide. In his personal life, Tim enjoys family, writing, music, no limit poker, and basketball.

“The biggest mistake sales reps can make while making a sales pitch is…” 

Talking too much and not asking enough questions. Too many sales people overly talk and pitch their way to $0 sales. This isn’t TV. Don’t aim at getting a Golden Globe for your sales performance. Instead, remember that your #1 responsibility is to help your customer succeed. But, you can’t help if you don’t understand what they need and where their pains are. Take a consultative approach. Ask questions and genuinely seek to help instead of sell, and you’ll sell more than you ever dreamed.


Spencer X SmithSpencer X Smith

@spencerXsays

Spencer X Smith has built and sold one company, and is currently running two others he started. He’s also an Instructor for the University of Wisconsin. He is the veteran of over 3,000 in-person sales meetings.

The biggest sales pitch mistake is one that I was guilty of many times…”

Using the term ‘fees’ instead of ‘cost’ or ‘price’. Why?

The term ‘cost’ or ‘price’ is something we all readily comprehend. We grew up knowing that if a pack of baseball cards cost a dollar, or if the price of the magazine was a dollar, that’s how much we needed to save.

Fees, however, are a different story. Any time the term ‘fees’ was used in a sales-related presentation, I could see people get a little uncomfortable in their seats. Why?

Fees usually occur in bunches. Think about it: do airlines have just one possible fee? Nope. There’s a checked bag fee, carry-on bag fee, overweight bag fee, ticket change fee, extra legroom fee, and on and on. What do bunches of fees require? Math. Customers don’t like math. They simply want to know the all-in cost or price of something.

After banning the term ‘fees’ in my sales presentations, I found a dramatic shift occurred. Instead of discussing fees for 20 minutes, we quoted a cost or price in one minute. We spent the precious meeting time actually discussing the important factors involved in their decision…not doing math. Eliminate the term ‘fees’ from the language you use with your customers, and be prepared to have better and more meaningful conversations.


Jeff KearJeff Kear

@planpod

Jeff Kear is founder/owner and head of marketing and sales at Planning Pod, an online software company that provides web-based event management tools for professionals.

“By far the single biggest sales pitch mistake is…”

Talking too much. In my experience, the length of time you talk is inversely proportional to how often you win the business. Instead of filling up the silence with your voice pitching a client, you must focus on asking salient questions and listening for a majority of the time. My rule of thumb is if I am talking for more than 20% of the time, I am digging my own grave. People want to be understood, heard, and then provided with the right information so they can make a decision. Oh, and they do business with people they like, and the most likeable people are those who ask lots of questions and show an interest in others, not those who blather over you and don’t seem interested in your issues or challenges.


Dan WhiteDan White

@wikijob

Dan White has over ten years’ experience as a sales professional in the graduate recruitment sector. He currently works at WikiJob in London, UK.

“Having spent much of the last ten years pitching to potential customers, established accounts and advertising agencies, I can safely say that the biggest mistake a salesperson can make is…”

To do all the talking. I think the term ‘pitch’ makes sales people feel like they should talk at their audience.

Too many sales professionals will enter a boardroom or meeting room, plug in a laptop and bore the room with a Powerpoint presentation, or baffle their audience with a swirly Prezi presentation. I’ve seen it happen more times than I care to remember, as I watch a junior salesperson lose their audience to thoughts of what to have for dinner, what to watch on TV later, etc.

By far the most effective pitches start as a consultation whereby the salesperson gets the potential customer talking about their needs, challenges, what’s worked well, and what hasn’t worked so well in the past. Only after they feel listened to and consulted with will your audience truly listen to what you have to say, and only if they feel it is relevant to them. This is not the salesperson’s cue to fire up aforementioned Powerpoint and ramble through it. Only talk about the things that will be of interest to this individual customer. You can then agree on next steps, outcomes, and timelines knowing that you have much greater buy-in.


Robin WaiteRobin Waite

@hostpipe

Robin Waite is a Business Strategy Expert and Co-Founder of Online Strategy Agency, Hostpipe.

Waite specializes in creating growth and scalability within established SMEs turning over £500k+. Hostpipe (formerly Coconut) has helped over 200 organizations to grow over the last 11 years and he runs weekly workshops with business owners.

“The single biggest mistake sales professionals make in the process of a sales pitch has to be…”

Getting the name of the person you are pitching to wrong. This has happened several times from sales executives selling to me, and I tend to just shut the conversation down. While it is a simple mistake to make, the sales conversation is the interaction which matters the most, and I feel that referring to someone by the wrong name shows a lack of attention to detail, lack of interpersonal skills, and a lack of research.

For a long time, I introduced myself as Rob, but eventually got bored of having to correct people when they called me Robert instead of Robin. Now I introduce myself as Robin, and when someone is familiar with me I then invite them to shorten it to Rob to avoid any confusion.


Jon HodgsonJon Hodgson

@spinnaker918

Jon Hodgson, Director at Spinnaker 918 Ltd., has 25 years’ experience in business and specializes in sales transformation, leadership & management development, and communications. Particularly effective as a coach, Jon is passionate about the difference people can make for themselves and their organizations through quality relationships with colleagues and customers. Jon is a motorbike nut and a sports fanatic!

“In my experience the single biggest mistake that occurs during sales pitches is…”

A misaligned customer agenda. Everything you present must demonstrate the logical and emotional value people can expect in their world. Truly understand the value of win-win and be fully focused on them.


Alan GuinnAlan Guinn

@aguinn

Alan Guinn is the Managing Director of The Guinn Consultancy Group, Inc. The Guinn Consultancy Group, Inc. is based in Bristol, TN, and works with sales executives and business owners all over the world.

“By far, the most egregious error in sales pitches is…”

The lack of follow-up. Years ago, we used to call it, ‘not asking for the sale.’ Today, we still call it ‘not asking for the sale.’ I cannot tell you how many great sales pitches I’ve seen, and then…WHAM. Nothing. The sale wasn’t asked for, so it wasn’t closed.

EVERY sales pitch should be accompanied by ‘asking for the sale.’ The way that you ask for the sale may vary from client to client, but ALWAYS ask for it.


Mike MoyerMike Moyer

@mikemoyer

Mike Moyer teaches entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. He is the author of 10 books, including Pitch Ninja, a book about giving an effective presentation.

“The biggest pitch mistake I see over and over is…”

A general misunderstanding of the purpose of a formal pitch. Most people think it’s about communicating information, data, and facts. However, the real reason you pitch is to transfer your personal excitement, enthusiasm, and confidence to your audience. You need your audience to rise to the level of your own emotional state before any of the messages, facts, and figures even matter. Emotions are generally communicated through body language, motion, eye-contact, and smiles. Without the right moves in place, your message will be lost. Remember, nobody cares what you know until they know that you care!


Deborah SweeneyDeborah Sweeney

@MyCorporation

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO and owner of MyCorporation.com. With her extensive experience in the field of corporate and intellectual property law, Deborah can provide insightful commentary on the benefits, barriers, and who should consider incorporation and trademark registration.

“One of the biggest mistakes in sales pitches is…”

Trying to close the deal too early. The best sales pitches are those that do not feel forced or thrusted upon the potential customer. Ask them about their day or what they want in your type of product, and the customer is much more willing to look into your product.


Gerardo DadaGerardo A. Dada

@gerardodada

Gerardo A. Dada is a technology marketer and strategist who has been at the center of the web, mobile, social, and cloud revolutions. He has worked for Microsoft, Rackspace, Motorola, and Bazaarvoice, and today is VP of Product Marketing & Strategy at SolarWinds and the author of The Adaptive Marketer, a blog about marketing strategy and leadership.

“The biggest sale pitch mistake is…”

Making it about you, not about the customer. The conversation needs to start with the customer context, with what they care about, and why they should even spend a couple seconds of their time listening to your pitch. Most people get multiple pitches per day, via email and on the phone. The natural response when a salesperson calls is to find the fastest way to end the conversation without being rude or in the case of email, hitting the delete button.

The pitches I hear more often start with an introduction, your role, and an overview of the company and your products. In reality, prospects don’t care about you, your title, how your company is doing, or what products you sell. You need to earn the right to spend your prospect’s time. And you do that by explaining how you can help and what customer problems you can help address. I challenge sales professionals to do their pitches without mentioning your company or your product names in the first conversation. You simply need to shift the conversation to the customer’s perspective.


John NigglJohn Niggl

@InTouchQuality

John Niggl is a salesperson at InTouch Manufacturing Services, a quality control firm in Shenzhen, China, where he has worked in sales and marketing for two years. Previously, Niggl worked in B2B, door-to-door sales selling office supplies on behalf of Quill.com and then selling electricity contracts for Liberty Power across Massachusetts, as well as in parts of New Hampshire, New York, and Maine.

“The biggest sales pitch mistake is simple…”

Failure to listen. Too many sales pitches begin by telling the prospect all about their product or service and how it will help them solve X, Y, or Z, without first establishing whether or not the person even has a problem that’s solved by the product or service being offered. The most successful salespeople are often the best listeners. They spend much of their efforts actively listening to the prospect’s wants and needs before they begin to tailor their product or service and offer a solution. And really listening to a person means more than just hearing the words they’re saying – it also means listening for their tone, observing their body language, and trying to understand any apprehension or rapport that person is displaying. Really understanding the prospect and their needs is the first step to getting them to say “YES.”


Connie KadanskyConnie Kadansky

@ckadansky

Connie Kadansky is the Sales Call Reluctance coach who helps salespeople get their ask in gear through her business, Exceptional Sales Performance.

“The single biggest sale pitch mistake is…”

A prospecting script that is NOT written from the prospect’s perspective.

Good script: “Companies rely on us to…”, “People count on us to…”

Bad script: “I help companies…”, “I help people…”


Carl MazzantiCarl Mazzanti

@emazzanti

Carl Mazzanti is the founder and CEO of eMazzanti Technologies, a premier IT consulting firm throughout the NYC Metro area and internationally. A frequent business conference speaker and technology talk show guest, Carl has often contributed at Microsoft-focused events, including the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).

“The single biggest sales pitch mistake is…”

Telling the prospect how great your company is. The pitch should discover the client’s needs and then inform them how your solution with solve their problem, identifying the great things that will happen, and what it will do for them personally.


Ben JacksonBen Jackson

@bnjackson
@voices

Ben Jackson is the VP of Sales for Voices.com, the largest online marketplace for voice-over. Ben’s experience in marketing and business development enables him to establish fundamental strategies that grow and strengthen partnerships, attract and retain clients, and promote the Voices.com brand.

“The single biggest sales pitch mistake I’ve seen over the years is simply…”

Sales reps not asking for anything at the end of the pitch. Most reps will naturally open the conversation, ask a few questions, and then talk about their service, but when it comes time to close, they fall short. A rep’s natural tendency is to take what they feel is the path of least resistance. Sales reps will typically end with, “Is it okay if I follow-up with you?”, or “Can I send you more information?” The goal is to clearly identify the objection for the call. Not every pitch has to end with the rep obtaining a credit card, but the rep should be asking for something that will get them closer. For example, this may be a request for a meeting, additional information needed to prepare a quote, or for the sale itself. The mistake is leaving the opportunity on the table.


Jo ClarksonJo Clarkson

@TAB_Boards

Jo Clarkson is an experienced director and entrepreneur who has worked with hundreds of business owners all over the UK during the last 30 years. In 2009, she assisted in bringing The Alternative Board to the UK, as the first phase of TAB’s global expansion.

“My advice for sales reps to overcome common sales pitch challenges is…” 

Don’t have a sales pitch!

In my experience, if you’re trying to make a sales pitch, you’re doing something wrong. If you genuinely feel your product or service is great and can help people achieve what they want from their business, then all you have to do is offer it to them. In sales, your efforts should focus on the customer: what they need first, and what you have second. If you don’t think what you have to offer is that great, then it’s probably time to find something else to sell.


Dean LoganDean Logan

@Deano1739

Dean is currently the Founder + CEO of FOUNDATION, a marketing consultancy for technology and technology-related organizations. Graduate of the Ringling School of Art & Design with over 25 years’ experience as an Art Director/Graphic Designer in consumer and B2B marketing for advertising and design firms across the southeast.

“The single biggest mistake anyone can make is…”

Not knowing the problem your prospect/audience is trying to solve.

I’ve seen countless pitches where someone rambled on about how great their product or service was to someone who didn’t care because it turned out what they were being pitched had little or nothing to do with their unique pain point.

I get this all the time on Linkedin too. People connect, then hit me up with a way-too-long message about whatever it is their company sells then ask if we can “get on a call to discuss opportunities.”

Um, no thank you.

Too many salespeople talk when they should be listening. Ask questions, then offer up solutions that are truly relevant.


Barney CohenBarney Cohen

@business360nw

As the owner of a single record store to the largest wholesaler of prerecorded music in the world, Barney Cohen now shares his knowledge and expertise with companies to help them grow and prosper. You can read Barney’s story here.

“The number one sales pitch mistake is…”

Not making a complete presentation. A sales presentation has three components: a description of the product or service, an explanation of the benefits to the customer, and the price. This presentation will take a different form with prospects depending on the setting, how familiar they are with you and your product, and who made the initial contact.

What we call the sales pitch is actually a step-by-step process that starts with qualifying leads and includes contacting the customer, making a presentation, overcoming objections and/or explaining concerns, and finally, asking for an order.

Great salespeople learn to be patient and go through these steps in order. This approach will result in the most sales.


Ava WaitsAva Waits

@AvaWaits

Ava Waits is an inspirational speaker, business mentor, sales trainer, and forthcoming author. She believes that making money should feel like bliss, and through her work, she provides innovative business, money, and marketing guidance to entrepreneurs and companies worldwide. To connect with Ava, please visit www.AvaWaits.com.

“One of the biggest mistakes I see sales people make is…”

Trying to close the deal before identifying that a potential client actually wants to do business with them. I think back several years ago, when I toured a local radio station. The woman who invited me in no way made it clear that she was going to sell me radio advertising during that visit, and she then spent nearly two awkward hours of her time trying to hard sell me. If she had asked a few simple questions prior to the meeting to determine if I was actually interested in radio advertising, she would have not used two hours of her precious time speaking with someone who had no intention to buy.

 

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