In selling technique, a sales presentation or sales pitch is a line of talk that attempts to persuade someone or something, with a planned sales presentation strategy of a product or service designed to initiate and close a sale of the product or service
Examples of successful sales pitch
Reference past conversations
If you’ve spoken with your prospect before, don’t start a pitch by talking about yourself, your product, or your business. You’ve already built some rapport, so use it!
Refer back to the conversations you’ve had previously to show the prospect you remember them, and remind them that you understand their problem. It helps if your last conversation included solid discovery questions like these:
- What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?
- How are you addressing that problem today?
- How are you measuring your goals?
Start your elevator pitch with a question
When asked for an elevator pitch, or simply when asked what they do, most unpracticed reps will say something like this:
“I’m Greg and I work for ACME Corporation. We design, build, and distribute elaborate and dangerous devices to coyotes who want to eat roadrunners.”
Those facts may be true, but just stating facts does not make a good sales pitch! How would Greg’s prospect respond to that statement other than saying, “Oh, that’s interesting”?
A successful sales pitch begins a dialogue. Rather than starting with an opening line that’s all about you, try posing a question.
Here are a few questions that a qualified prospect might say “yes” to:
- Have you ever noticed…
- You know how…
- I’ll never forget when…
- Doesn’t it seem like…
You can also reverse this. If your prospect knows you will try to sell them, they may have their guard up, and they’ll be wary of being pushed towards a “yes”. So instead of asking them to admit they have a problem, you could assumptively say they don’t have the problem.
Keep it short
You don’t need to tell your prospect everything you can do for them all in your first pitch. In fact, a perfect sales pitch should leave the prospect wanting more.
If you’ve done a good job identifying your prospect’s pain points, and you really understand how your product or service helps alleviate it, you should be able to pitch with one short sentence.
Highlight benefits, not features
A feature is a factual statement about a product or service. Factual statements aren’t why customers buy; benefits are.
Many factual statements are often referred to as benefits:
- Self-cleaning oven
- 200-CD jukebox
- One-click buying on Amazon
- Live operator on duty 24/7
- 125-page owner’s manual included
- In business since 1910
- We have the biggest widget maker
Prospects and customers care very little about these statements: Not one of these examples tells a prospect how their life or business will improve as a result of buying your product or service.
The latest and greatest equipment means nothing to a prospective buyer unless that feature translates into lower costs, quicker delivery or something else of value. Being established 100 years ago means nothing to a prospective buyer unless that feature can be translated into a benefit of reliability and a guarantee of being in business in the future.
Now let’s translate the factual feature statements above into benefits:
- Time savings
- Easy access
- Quicker answers
- Immediate access to information
- Fewer resources required
Benefits sell. Benefits clearly answer the customer questions “What’s in it for me?” or “What results will I get that will improve my current situation?” or “Will it make me healthier, wealthier or wiser?”
The most compelling benefits are those that provide emotional or financial return. It’s not the steak, it’s the sizzle. It’s not the gift, it’s the thought. It’s not the price, it’s the overall value. Emotional returns are related to making the customer feel better in some way. Financial returns generally save money or make money for a customer.
Anchor your pitch in data
Your prospects hear a lot of claims from your competitors. After a while, and especially if your prospect has made purchases that didn’t pay off, those claims start to sound dubious.
So use clear data from reputable sources as an anchor for your pitch.
Tell a story
If you have a little more time for your pitch, or if you’re preparing for a product demo, create a story that illustrates how your product benefits your customers.
Note: this isn’t the “About Us” slide some people still include in their pitch decks. Your prospect does not care about your founding story, or where your offices are located. Conversely, this story makes your prospect or customer the hero—their problem is the dragon they need to slay, you are their trusted advisor, and your product is the magic sword.
Keep it conversational, not formal
Your elevator pitch should be practiced, but it shouldn’t be a monologue. Just because somebody has asked what you do doesn’t mean they want to hear every little detail.
So, start by giving them just a quick snippet of what you do that will pique their interest. If they verbally (or non-verbally) indicate that they’re interested, that’s your cue to continue.
Brian Walter calls this the WOW, HOW, NOW framework, and it goes like this:
- WOW – Offer up some short, interesting statement that will make the other person think to themselves, “wow!”. This statement might even be slightly confusing, as long as it’s not just industry lingo.
- HOW – If you’ve done the first part right, you got an eyebrow raise, a tilt of the head, or a “huh?” in response. Now’s your chance to clarify and expand just a little bit.
- NOW – End by giving a specific example of how you do what you do.
Steps to writing an effective sales pitch
Find the perfect hook
If you’re planning to send your sales pitch via email, crafting the perfect subject line is imperative. Your subject line or opening sentence will be the hook to capture your buyer’s attention. It is the difference between your client reading or simply dismiss your pitch altogether.
Taking inspiration from the points stated above, your hook needs to connect with your buyer’s needs while also communicating the story of your business. By getting these two aspects right, you can successfully engage your customer and convince them to read on.
Solve the problem
Once you’ve convinced your buyer to continue reading your pitch, you next need to show how you can help them. Are you aware of a common issue that your buyer faces, which your product or service can solve?
In your written pitch, directly address the issues that your buyer faces. Then focus on how your product or service can help fix these problems. By tackling the problem head on, your customers will see that you have taken their needs into account and found the fix. What better way to prove the brilliance of what you have to offer?
Back it up with facts
When it comes to writing your sales pitch, be sure to include testimonials and case studies, which also contain statistics and figures to prove the success of your product or service. If you claim you can solve your buyer’s main problems, show them how with facts.
Ask for the sale
You should now have a pitch that addresses your buyer’s problems, shows how your product or service offers a solution, and backs this up with facts and statistics to support your claim. The next step is to give your buyer some clear instruction on what they need to do next.
So what would that be?
Ask for the sale of course!
By now, you’ve convinced your prospective customer of the brilliance of what you’re offering and next up is how they can take advantage of your product or service. Do they need to click a link to your website? Or pick up the phone and call you directly?
Don’t be shy to ask for the sale. You’ve come this far, so why stop now?
Whatever action is required; make it clear with a well-written call to action
Keep it short and sweet
The length of your pitch is important. If it’s too long, there’s a good chance your buyer will lose interest and fail to read on. But getting your written pitch to the perfect length is likely to result in your buyer maintaining an interest right through to the end.
The number of words you use differs depending on the recipient. Try to be strict with your word count to avoid information overload, which will result in your buyers ditching your pitch.
What could be worse than your pitch being ignored because it’s simply too long?
Grammar and spell check
Finally, once you’ve written your sales pitch, don’t forget to check your spelling and grammar. There’s nothing worse than being let down by a few mistakes that could be corrected before clicking send.
Once you’ve checked through your written pitch, it’s time to send it out to your buyer. Remember to tailor your pitch to each individual and make it as personal to him or her as possible.
Don’t forget to follow up
A recent study found that 70% of email conversations end if a prospect doesn’t reply to the first email.
However, there is a 21% chance you will get a response to your second email if the first goes unanswered. These statistics further prove the importance of a follow up email after the initial sales pitch.