At Salestrong, one of the most popular enquiry requests we receive is around the presenting or Sales pitch process.
A Sales pitch should not be you simply bombarding the customer with information. In fact, the process of creating and communicating insight to a prospect or client should always be on the mind of the most successful sales people, particularly when creating a pitch. More on that below.
A good Sales pitch should be a two-way conversation – where you listen to them, ask questions and then offer a value-driven approach to a challenge they are experiencing.
You know all this, of course. But do your team? As a Sales Manager, you’ve been perfecting your Sales pitch over the years, but they are still learning. It’s time for you to pass your skills and knowledge on and ensure your team members are up to speed.
They may know how to do a Sales pitch – but do they know how to completely nail it? To make a memorable and positive first impression, a presentation that holds the customer’s attention and then a closing statement that seals the deal?
For Sales people, it’s an essential skill. The below informal guide looks back at some tricks, techniques and ideas we’ve seen in our sales training programmes. Share them with your team and help them prepare effectively.
Be prepared to persuade the Customer, overcome objections and close the sale.
As Benjamin Franklin once famously said, by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.
Firstly, this means knowing your product inside out. If you don’t this will quickly become very obvious to the Customer and they are unlikely to buy from someone they don’t have confidence in.
If the presentation is a product-based approach, then you should also know the benefits of the product – because it may be these that ultimately sell it to them or not.
Ask yourself: what is the key message? What do you want the Customer to take away from your presentation? What is the main benefit that makes your product so attractive? You should also establish a few key points that support this – relating them to the customer’s needs and interests.
Finally, prepare a logical argument, which will convince the Customer to take action. At this point you should also anticipate any objections or questions the customer might raise. You will also want to collate any evidence and facts to support your argument – product samples or brochures, for example.
First impressions are crucial, so you need to be prepared to ensure yours is a memorable one – establishing credibility, warmth and trust.
The rest of your pitch could be 100% perfect but get the body language wrong and that sale could quickly and easily slip out of your fingers. You need the Customer to like you because if they don’t they’re never going to buy from you.
Poor body language can be a big turn off. So, what should you be doing?
Lean in and forward: Doing this when in discussion with a customer signals commitment. It shows you are engaged and paying attention.
Open your arms: Crossing your arms makes you look defensive and closed – but keeping your arms open shows that you are fully involved with the conversation and look more welcoming.
No pointing: Pointing can come across as both rude and aggressive. Instead, gesture with your whole hand.
Give a genuine smile: Smiling with just your mouth can seem fake – a genuine smile uses the eyes as well.
Make eye contact: Eye contact helps to build trust and shows that you are both engaged and interested. Look customers in the eye as often as possible during discussions.
Don’t use too many gestures: Let your hands rest naturally at your side or on your lap – depending whether you are sitting or standing. If you fidget or use too many gestures this will be distracting and take the focus away from what you are saying.
The power of touch: Touching an arm creates a human bond in seconds, helping to establish a connection and build a relationship.
Don’t let your feet give you away: Did you know that feet positioned close together can be seen as timid, while those placed wider apart display confidence?
The tone of your voice can also determine how well your pitch is received.
Bring your voice down to optimal range so it isn’t so loud and brash that it is overbearing or too soft and gentle that the customer has to strain to hear and understand you. Slowing your speaking down should help you to do this.
Be careful not to make your voice monotone, and use your tone to emphasis key points within your pitch.
The language you use – alongside the tone and body language – will determine whether you build rapport with your customer or not.
Word choice is critical in Sales. Try to avoid jargon and ‘sales speak’ and instead use language that really explains what you offer and how you can help the customer. Keep it simple and don’t be tempted to use over-complicated language thinking it will impress – it won’t.
At all times, think positive, persuasive, professional and informative. Don’t be afraid to be friendly but remember – there’s a fine line between that and overly friendly and too casual. Stay on the right side of the line.
Anything rude, negative or pushy should be avoided at all times.
Whether your pitch is a detailed PowerPoint presentation with an abundance of slides or simply a vocal pitch, you need to make sure that it holds the Customer’s attention – the longer you have their attention, the more chance you have of winning them over.
Your presentation should be different every time because it is vital that it resonates with the individual you are pitching to. What are their specific needs? If product-based, how will your product fulfil them?
Your presentation should pre-empt questions and answer them – giving them all the information they need to make an informed decision.
Asking the right questions is key to pitching well. You should be asking leading questions throughout the pitch – starting with broad, open-ended questions and then getting more specific as the pitch goes on.
This will help you to gauge how interested the Customer is and will enable you to steer the pitch depending on how they answer each time – helping you to discover their needs and solve their problems.
Make sure you keep questions simple because if you want useful answers you need to ask useful questions. Complex or two-part questions should be avoided.
This is arguably the most important part of your Sales pitch – ultimately it is make or break time. Has all the hard work paid off?
One tactic you could try (particularly if price is a barrier to sale) is now or never – this is where you make an offer that includes a special benefit that prompts immediate purchase. Perhaps you could offer them a discount that will only be available on that day?
Another option is the summary close – this is when you reiterate the key triggers you hope will prompt the Customer to purchase, stressing the value and benefits. This summarises everything that has been discussed, making it appear more impressive when all bundled together and enabling the customer to see exactly what they will get.
Alternatively, a more modern closing technique is to have already discovered the Customer’s needs through insight and communicated how your specific product or services is a solution to that. So now, you can ask your closing questions.
Effectively you will have been focusing on closing the sale at the very start of the conversation (through the questions you have already been asking.) Now you’re ready to ask the final one, such as ‘is there any reason we can’t proceed with the sale?’ This question either closes the sale or enables you to give more information if the Customer still isn’t convinced.
All sounds achievable if you have a clear strategy in place.
At Salestrong we train Sales professionals to focus on two key areas when creating a successful pitch:
- A compelling business case.
- Insights that will significantly improve a prospect or client’s business.
As part of this approach we take delegates through the key steps of the PITCH framework, often using simulated environments to allow them to fine tune their style.
Click here to download a copy of our PITCH framework to share with your team or contact Salestrong to learn how we can take your Sales training and presentations to the next level.