How to Make a Sales Pitch in 7 Steps: Tips from Leading Sales Experts
Crafting and delivering the perfect sales pitch is just as much an art as it is a science. Relying on data to determine the right messaging, the right channels, and the key delivery moment that can influence buying behavior is just part of the perfect sales pitch. The rest, and often the ultimate impact, relies on artful, compelling presentation. These expert tips and strategies walk you through the essential steps in making a highly effective, impactful sales pitch.
1. Have an objective. Don’t pitch your products or services for the sake of making a pitch. Every pitch needs an objective, a specific goal, a desired outcome. “It’s remarkable how few salespeople actually understand the objective of their sales presentation, especially given how easy it is to develop an objective,” says Scott Albro in a post on the TOPO HQ Blog.
“You may be trying to convey an overview of your company, your product, and the value you provide to customers. You may also be trying to learn as much as you can about the buyer, what they need, and why they need it.” Albro says the most important objective is to move the prospect to the next stage in the buying cycle or sales funnel, with your presentation focused on conveying value and getting your prospect to agree on next steps.
2. Understand your customer. The days of throwing information at your prospects and expecting your products or services to sell themselves are long gone. “Unless you’re pitching a timeshare at the fountain of youth – your product isn’t likely going to sell itself,” says Stuart Leung in an article for Salesforce. If you’re not taking the time to research your customer and gain an understanding of their key pain points, interests, and motivations, you’re severely limiting your odds of making a successful pitch.
In fact, 82% of salespeople are not aligned with the needs of their buyer – so imagine the impact your sales pitch could have if you become one of the few that are? “Great research will also eliminate unnecessary noise and will keep the buyer(s) engaged. Show them that you understand their business with a lean message that highlights your product’s features that matters to them the most,” explains Leung.
3. Set a time limit to your meeting or discussion. According to Eric Markowitz in an article for Inc.com, this achieves a few things: “First: it will make you seem important and needed. Second: it shows that you’re not going to waste precious time. Third: it will differentiate you from every other salesperson, who would likely stay until kicked out.”
Tell your prospects that you have about 20 minutes to cover the essentials and a few minutes for discussion. It will put your time-pressed prospects at ease knowing that you won’t stage a camp-out in their conference room until they give in, plus, it creates the perception that you’re a rare commodity and increases your value perception.
4. Have empathy. According to Steli Efti of the Young Entrepreneur Council, empathy is the real secret to sales. Asking questions is one of the best ways to really understand what your buyer needs and wants and is the key factor in positioning your products or services as the best possible solution to their challenges.
“Ask them about their work. Ask them about their situation. Ask them about their frustrations. Ask them about their ambitions. Do this until you know what they care about and understand what they need,” Efti explains. “Only then should you sell them the right solution, and only if it truly is the best solution for them.”
5. Push where it hurts the most. Armed with the right information about your customer and having established empathy through asking the right questions, you can now present your customer’s key challenges to them using their own words.
This is a proven and incredibly effective strategy. “In the United States, beginning in 2002, Verizon Wireless milked the simple phrase ‘Can you hear me now?’ for almost a decade, to describe the frustrations that their customers were having with other networks. And get this: in the first year alone this lead 10% increase in new customers and a reduction in churn rate from 2.5% in 2000 to 1.8% in 2002,” explains Vladimir Blagojevic at ScaleMyBusiness.com.
6. Convey your unique value proposition and tell a compelling story that differentiates your company, products, and/or services. In many cases, there’s an overlap of about 70% or more between competing products and services, according to Corporate Visions. “So rather than focusing on that ‘parity area,’ you should focus on what you can do for the customer that is different from what the competition can do – this is your ‘value wedge.’ Your value wedge must be unique to you, important to the customer, and defensible.”
That means telling your story in a way that differentiates your company from your competition. “When you tell customer stories, don’t be afraid to link data with emotion. Often the best way to do that is to talk about the people who were affected by the challenging environment they were working in. Then talk about how their lives became better, easier, more fun, or less stressful after using your solution.”
7. Confirm and establish the next steps. At this point, you’ve engaged your prospects by establishing empathy, asking critical questions, and demonstrating an understanding of your buyer’s biggest challenges. You’ve positioned your products or services as an ideal solution to their most pressing obstacles. You should go into every sales pitch with some pre-determined, yet flexible questions that you can use to bridge your prospects from the pitch to agreeing to next steps.
Connor Burt, Head of Relationships at Lesson.ly, explains in a contribution to Sales Hacker: “Confirming and establishing the next step keeps the sales process fluid. It makes the prospect feel comfortable and not rushed. At Lesson.ly, once we reach an understanding with a prospect, we confirm a time to show our product by asking something along the lines of, ‘Can we throw some time on the calendar next Tuesday to go through a more in-depth demo with your VP to discuss X, Y, or Z?'”
If your sales pitches are having less than the desired effect, try approaching your next pitch using these seven strategic steps to effectively capture your prospect’s attention, identify their biggest challenges and create empathy, differentiate your product or service from your competition, and position your solution as the only solution to solve your customer’s most pressing problems. Thanks to step number three, in which you’ll create the perception that you’re a limited resource and set a time limit on discussions, you’ll do all in less time than you’ve been spending on a typical sales pitch, but with better results.
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