How to Pack a Punch in a Sales Pitch
“The business plan is the all-encompassing thesis on why the business is a good opportunity. The pitch is the entrepreneur’s defence of the opportunity,” says Danny Rimer, partner at Index Ventures, a pan-European venture capital fund.
Sales is an art that requires precision and talent. Some may think sales is a technical skill but you’d be surprised to know how much emotional intelligence you need to buy someone over. After all, closing a sale requires your customers to feel a connection with you and your idea.
Pitching is a highly charged make-or-break opportunity to create a good impression and attract an investor’s interest. Making a business case is like playing a sport — to master it, you’ll need practice and be unafraid of taking risks and making mistakes. Learning from your mistakes helps you become a better speaker to make the perfect pitch.
Before you master the art of a business pitch, it’s good to understand the challenges in tailoring a perfect sales pitch and the common mistakes to avoid when making a business case.
What Is a Sales Pitch?
A sales pitch, in layman’s terms, is a condensed version of an idea that fleshes out its benefits in an attempt to persuade and convince your audience into buying or believing your idea. A typical business pitch should include:
- Why should one buy the product?
- What is the goal of the product?
- Will the product solve the problem of the buyer?
A good sales pitch sounds more like an enlightening conversation that directly deals with the needs of the customer rather than a business presentation.
Why Is It So Difficult to Sell Now?
Everyone wants to nail their sales pitch but producing one is more difficult than you’d think. Understanding the challenges of creating a sales pitch can sometimes help us develop the perfect pitch that directly targets your audience. Here are some reasons why creating a compelling sales pitch is a challenging process.
People dislike knowing they are being sold to
Customers today are bombarded with online advertisements, commercials, and telemarketers vying for their money. With the internet, many customers have already done their own research and know exactly what they’re looking for, so they rarely need you. If you can’t immediately hook a potential customer within a few seconds, you’re likely to lose them.
There is specificity in customer’s demand
While it’s easier to write sales pitches that can be blasted out to a larger audience, it won’t appeal to most of your customers. Consumers buy into businesses that understand exactly what they need and offer the perfect solution. Generic templates can make consumers feel like just another cog in the machine and are definitely doomed to fail. This is a challenge that you have to overcome when creating a broad pitch that also targets each unique customer’s issue.
Connecting with prospects is rather difficult
When customers are being sent sales advertisements through various platforms — phone, email, or LinkedIn message — many modern customers start to consciously avoid sales efforts. According to Sales Hacker, 90% of cold calls go directly to voicemail and the majority of the remaining 10% will hang up as soon as they learn they’re speaking with a salesperson.
INSIDER INFO: With the modern customer’s attention span reaching a new low of 8 seconds, our Pitch to Win™ workshop focuses on presenting a clear and to-the-point business pitch that persuades and influences your target audience.
Common Mistakes in a Sales Pitch
The world is constantly changing and as products evolve, needs change, markets shift and so should your sales pitch for each consumer you meet. What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. Learning from others is always beneficial to improve your own business pitch. Here are some common mistakes sales reps make that you shouldn’t!
No matter how confident you are in your business pitch, preparing before making any business case is an important presentation skill. While you may know your pitch at the top of your head, you don’t know your new prospect as well. Every prospect you meet has their own unique needs, budget and requirements so your memorised pitch may not even cover their pain points. It is your responsibility to gather all pertinent information before speaking with the prospect. The more prepared you are about the customer, the less you’ll sweat over it.
Too much talking
While making a business case requires you to persuade and influence your prospects, a successful sales pitch is not just about speaking, it also requires listening skills.
Many make the mistake of hijacking the entire conversion without allowing their prospects to speak. If your client doesn’t feel like they’re being heard, they probably wouldn’t buy into your pitch because how could you know their needs without listening to what they have to say?
While presentation skills are important to have when giving a business pitch, improving listening skills is one that many sales reps tend to overlook. As a salesperson, you should also ask your clients questions and listen to their needs to build trust and rapport. Once you know what makes them tick, you can tailor and tweak your pitch to fit their needs.
Asking the wrong questions
Asking questions is a great way to get more information from your client to fit your pitch into their needs. However, it can get tricky because asking the wrong questions will get you nowhere. Not all questions are good questions so studying your client and their responses can help lead you to the right questions.
An example of a bad question is “Do you need this product?” This question gets you a yes or no answer without any insights into how this product could benefit your client. Instead, tweak that question into, “How will your company benefit from this product?” This will also get them thinking of the advantages of buying your product themselves without even having to sell that hard!
INSIDER INFO: Not every meeting with a client can be a planned script. Some questions may catch you off-guard or you may fumble because you’re not sure how to exchange information clearly and quickly. Think of Your Feet® is a communication workshop that can help you organise your thoughts and respond to challenging, impromptu situations.
Accepting defeat under false pretences
Getting rejected is a common occurrence for many sales reps. You’ve probably heard one too many times the rejection argument, “Your service is too expensive” or “I don’t need this product right now”. Here’s some tough love — if your prospect says this, you’ve probably failed at showing how your product can benefit the client.
Instead of accepting defeat, realise that the client is not sold on the plus points of your product and switch up your game. Ask them questions to figure out what exactly is missing. For example, you can directly ask them what is lacking that’s making them doubt your product or service. Knowing the key issues can then help you solve those problems to persuade them into buying into your business pitch.
Not reviewing your pitch
It’s human nature to get complacent especially when you’ve memorised and presented your sales pitch multiple times. However, a lot of the time, sales pitches that work at the beginning won’t get you sales in the long run. This may be because you’ve forgotten to apply the key tips above after a while.
Every few weeks, review your sales pitch and ensure that you’re applying the tips to cater to each client that you meet. Having that self-awareness to analyse your faults is a great way to learn and boost your professional development.
“The questions you ask are more important than the things you could ever say.”
~ Thomas Freese, Author
What You Should Do in a Sales Presentation
With the knowledge of things you should avoid when crafting a sales pitch, here are some positive tips to remember for a memorable business pitch.
Read the room before pitching
When it comes to the success of a pitch, timing is key.
When you meet a potential prospect, don’t chime in immediately with your sales pitch. Improve your conversation skills by asking them questions to build trust while also learning new information that may be helpful for your pitch. In some cases, you may realise that pitching may not be the appropriate step to take. Read the room and be emotionally aware of your prospect’s willingness to hear your pitch.
Make your pitch customer-centric
Don’t create a general sales pitch for every prospect you meet. A good sales rep will take some time to research their client and understand how your product can benefit that particular customer. Each customer has their unique pain points so ask the right questions that get them to open up about their needs so you can better understand their demands.
Prospects that feel like you are truly listening and understanding their viewpoint are more likely to buy into your sales pitch.
Follow up with your prospects
According to HubSpot, 80% of sales require five follow-up calls to close, but 44% of salespeople quit after the first call. Every step of the sales process is considered a win even if all you got is a customer’s contact information! Don’t give up too quickly and persist through any hurdles because it’s proven that several calls are needed before closing a deal.
Pitch with passion
Investors are looking for passionate people who truly believe in their pitch ideas and are eager to deliver. In the words of Danny Rimer, “Passion is critical. Passion is what allows the entrepreneur to stay the course when confronted with major obstacles.”
Pitching is definitely not an easy task. You’re dealing with other humans with emotions and building a connection is not child’s play. The key to the perfect pitch is having the emotional intelligence to ask the right questions, analyse the stakeholder’s needs and present a solution that solves their problems. Unfortunately, we don’t have a standard template that we can use for every presentation but that’s also the fun part about a business pitch — you get to challenge yourself with every new prospect you find!
1 Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash