When you go to pitch your product, success comes down to the sales pitch. The best salespeople know how quickly they can make a sale and it often relies on effective pitching skills. Learn some of these tactics for more impressive pitches with confidence.
A good sales pitch is one that persuades the target audience to buy your product. There are many ways to make a good sales pitch, but some examples of effective ones include using stories and relevant statistics.
The business owner who need venture funding.
The author is on the lookout for an agency or publication.
The manager who is trying to persuade higher-ups to recruit an unusual employee.
The screenwriter is attempting to get a studio to invest in his film concept.
The financial advisor is attempting to get new customers.
The spouse who is trying to persuade his wife to change their family’s course.
We’re all attempting to market our ideas on a daily basis, no matter what line of business we’re in or where we are in life. (While we’ll use the phrases “sellers” and “buyers” in this piece, they’re only shorthand for individuals attempting to persuade others of something, and the people they’re persuading.)
Despite how often we must market our ideas and how important it is to be able to do so effectively in all aspects of our life, many guys do not give much attention to how to do so. They feel that if you have a good concept, it will sell itself.
But if that were the case, luxury automobiles would be fashioned like shoeboxes on wheels, food would be packaged in simple brown bags with just the item’s name on the front, and books’ covers would be blank.
Of course, it isn’t how things are marketed, since that isn’t how people think or make decisions. Presentation and packaging are important.
It’s similar to how you dress. Sure, what matters is what’s on the inside, but if no one is ready to get to know you because of what they see on the outside, those attributes are meaningless.
Buyers are assaulted with pitch after pitch, just as customers are besieged with product after product vying for their attention in shops. The way you package and convey your concept must persuade people to choose you over a plethora of other options.
What we’ll talk about today is how to achieve that.
Complete your homework
An successful pitch starts long before the customer meets with you. To get ready, follow these three steps.
1. Determine your “Square One”
As you prepare for your pitch, Stephanie Palmer, author of Good in a Room, advises asking yourself three questions. She refers to this collection of questions as “Square One,” and she suggests using it anytime you get mired down in minutiae, lose sight of your mission, or feel overwhelmed or agitated.
1. What am I looking for?
When it comes to what you want to achieve out of your meeting or chat with the customer, focus on one, defined, and fair aim. The buyer is unlikely to fulfill all of your wishes in one fell swoop.
Don’t set the bar too high for a first encounter. It’s an excellent goal to meet the customer, establish some connection with him, and get your name out there.
2. What are they looking for?
It’s impossible to perform too much research on the buyer and his firm. You must determine how your concept aligns with their purpose. Find out what kinds of proposals they’ve previously approved. Determine some of the areas in which they have suffered so that you can demonstrate how your solution might help them. Speak with folks with whom they’ve already collaborated. Investigate their rivals. Make a list of the terms and vocabulary that they use at the firm so that you can use it into your pitch.
3. What are their expectations?
To market your concept, you must not only satisfy but also surpass the buyer’s expectations. Your presentation must be superior than those given by your rivals, so learn as much as you can about the kind of pitches they’re accustomed to receiving.
2. Get ready for the Q&A session.
Some people devote all of their effort to perfecting their pitch and none to considering the inevitable question and answer session that will follow. Before your meeting, sit down and think questions the buyer could ask, focusing on the flaws in your proposal, and then write down your responses to those concerns. As you prepare for the meeting, go through the responses.
3. Make Certain Your Concept Is “Sticky”
The stickiness of a concept is a metric that assesses how memorable, intelligible, and successful it is at altering people’s behavior and views. The more appealing a concept is, the more likely it is to be adopted. Chip and Dan Heath divide idea stickiness down into six factors in their book Made to Stick:
There’s a lot more to say about each concept than I can fit into this article, but if you’re interested in learning more, I strongly suggest reading the book.
Making an Effective Pitch’s Nuts and Bolts
1. Schedule the meeting at the appropriate time. Remember how in our piece about bookending your day, we spoke about “choice fatigue”? It’s the idea that we all have a limited amount of willpower each day, that every decision we have to make depletes that energy, and that when our willpower reserves run out, we get irritable and make poor judgments.
A study of parole boards revealed the enormous cost of disregarding decision fatigue. Researchers looked at nearly 1,000 judgments made by one such parole board and discovered that offenders who appeared before the board early in the morning were given release 70% of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were only paroled 10% of the time. Even though the inmates had committed the same offense, the discrepancy persisted. What was the significance of the time of day?
The parole board had already made a number of judgments before the end of the day, and their willpower reservoir was depleted. People become averse to change and danger as a result, and choose the route of least resistance. In the context of the parole board, this meant answering no rather than yes.
Schedule your appointment early in the morning or shortly after lunch to increase your chances of gaining a yes from a buyer (food replenishes our willpower reserve).
2. Pitches are best delivered as a group effort.
What is the reason behind this?
The author of How to Wow, Frances Cole Jones, suggests two sets of roles that a spouse may play, both of which are beneficial:
Friend or bystander
If you assign your partner the position of ally, he will closely observe you while you make your pitch; his duty is to seem entranced, which will communicate to everyone else that what you’re saying is intriguing (we tend to imitate others’ behavior). If you want to have your partner act as an observer, his task will be to monitor the purchasers’ responses while you talk. He may then highlight areas where he spotted the customer expressing worry, uncertainty, disinterest, or annoyance after you’ve finished your presentation. “When Brett was talking about ____, I saw some uncertainty. Is there anything we can do to help you understand that?” “I saw several of you were irritated when Brett spoke about our choice to _____,” for example. I’m interested in learning more about your concerns.”
Closer or Quarterback?
You may pick whether your partner is an ally or an observer, as well as whether he is the quarterback or the closer. The quarterback makes the pitch; in the end, the closer closes the deal. Because it’s difficult for the quarterback to go from exciting the room with his ideas to being the nuts and bolts business person, divvying up tasks in this manner is beneficial. When you transition into talking about money after the customers have bought into the quarterback’s vision and are feeling thrilled, they’ll feel a bit let down. It’s good to be able to delegate “the ask” to someone else; it provides for a more seamless and successful transition.
3. Don’t bother with the Powerpoint. Powerpoint has become the de facto standard for presentations, but it’s not the greatest option unless you really have to. This is why:
- People realize they don’t have to pay as much attention when the lights go out. It’s time to whip out your Blackberry!
- In a dark environment, the customer will be less comfortable pausing to ask you questions due to the rigorous structure and cadence offered by the slides.
- It’s more difficult to gauge how the audience is responding, and even if you do, you can’t modify the presentation on the go.
Draw on the board instead of using Powerpoint. When you take up the marker, the buyer’s attention will be attracted back to you, and they’ll be watching to see what you’ll write next – people are naturally drawn to the process of creation, and they want to know what’s going to happen next.
4. Begin by establishing rapport. You want to establish some rapport with the customer before you start pitching. When it comes to joining a fraternity, applying for a job, or proposing a partnership, likability typically takes precedence over quality; what people truly want to know is whether or not they’ll like working with you.
So, identify a point of agreement with the customer. If you’ve done your homework, you should be able to bring up some common ground, such as places you’ve lived or individuals you’ve worked with.
5. Begin with the most crucial information. Make the consumer wait no more than 10 minutes before you get to the heart of your concept. Take them from the start.
6. Avoid sounding scripted. Perhaps you’ve made your pitch to a dozen different businesses previously. However, don’t make it sound like that. People want to feel unique and special, as if they are the only one in your orbit. So customize your presentation to your target market, using language and telling tales that are exclusive to that consumer. Also, don’t lose your excitement.
7. Make the word “because” stand out. Always include people in the why – the why behind your proposal — while trying to persuade them of an idea that would need them to change their behavior in some manner. “This is what I believe we should do,” don’t simply say. Explain why they should proceed in this manner. Listeners’ collaboration increased from 60% to 94 percent when they were told why something was occurring, according to a research done by psychologist Ellen Langer.
8. Explain why the customer is the best person to develop your concept. Explain why the buyers, and only the buyers, are the greatest potential fit for your concept. People, once again, want to be treated as unique individuals. They also have a hard time saying no when they are absolutely needed.
9. Anticipate and address objections in your presentation. It makes you seem omniscient when someone is thinking about a problem while you’re speaking and then you resolve that doubt out of nowhere.
9. Take care of the questions and answers like an expert. When the buyer raises questions, resist the impulse to get defensive, especially if you feel like they’re criticizing your concept or attempting to dig flaws in it. Instead, project confidence, as if you already know the answer (here is where your homework will come in helpful)! Never interrupt someone’s question to correct them; instead, wait until they’ve finished and then provide your opinion. And if someone asks you a question about something you’ve previously discussed, don’t react with, “Remember when I covered that?” Simply go through the subject again.
Also, remember that asking questions is a positive thing! They’re asking questions because they’re interested. It’s a negative indicator if you don’t receive any inquiries.
10. Conclude with a straightforward and straightforward request. Keep in mind that you’ll only ask for one item. And when you do ask for that one item, be as specific as possible. “Okay, this is amazing, soooo?” don’t leave them pondering.
11. Make it simple for the buyer to accept your offer. Tell them you’ll handle the follow-up, make the necessary connections, deliver the required information — whatever it takes. They should just have to say yes.
12. If they say no, work with them to find a solution to their problems. If they say no, find out what they’re worried about and attempt to address their worries. Continue in this way if it stimulates fresh interest of their part — they start asking more questions. If not, thank them for their time and move on; their expressed misgivings were most likely a polite way of saying no.
13. Make an orderly escape. The beginning and finish of an event have the most impact on a person’s recall of it. Make a graceful departure to end on a good note. To avoid overstaying your welcome, seek for indicators that the meeting is coming to an end: the buyer may begin packing his belongings, check at the clock, move to the edge of his seat, and/or utter phrases like, “Well…” “Okay then…” “Right, then…” The meeting is done when you notice these indications; don’t keep talking because you haven’t covered one of your topics yet.
When the buyer joins you in a post-pitch discussion, pack up your materials as you speak so you can get out the door as soon as the session is complete.
Give the buyer a firm handshake, look him in the eyes, use his name, smile, and express gratitude for the chance to meet.
14. Write a thank-you message to the person who helped you. Write a handwritten thank you letter to the buyer and send it in the mail as soon as you go home or to your workplace.
Follow-up is number fifteen. Send a follow-up email to the buyer if you received a maybe during the meeting but haven’t heard from them in a week. Include specifics on what you discussed during the meeting. Wait a week more. If you still haven’t received an answer, try again. Some experts recommend following up three times in total, but I believe this is excessive. The buyer isn’t interested if they don’t react to two emails.
16. Be prepared for the buyer’s decision to alter. If you do obtain a follow-up appointment, don’t be disappointed if the buyer’s thinking has changed by the time you see him. It’ll happen. He will have naturally thought things out to a larger degree in the period between encounters, and new issues will have developed in his mind. “But you said you liked the concept last time!” don’t become irritated and remark. Work on resolving his problems the same way you did previously.
We’ll talk about the minor deal-breakers that may earn you a “no” no matter how wonderful your concept is in Part II of this two-part series.
Further Reading & Resources:
Stephanie Palmer’s “Good in a Room”
Frances Cole Jones’s How to Wow
Chip and Dan Heath’s “Made to Stick”
Chip and Dan Heath’s “Made to Stick”
What are your recommendations for pitching an idea? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Watch This Video-
The “sales pitch template” is a document that gives an effective sales pitch. The document includes the words and phrases that the speaker should use to give their best possible sales pitch.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 7 steps to making a good sales pitch?
A: There are 7 steps to making a good sales pitch. These seven steps will help you make an effective, compelling and persuasive presentation that is very likely to succeed in your goal of getting the client on board with your idea.
What are the five elements of a great sales pitch?
A: The five elements of a great sales pitch are the ability to personalize, be persuasive, have an audience that wants what youre selling and has a need for it, show evidence that your product is better than other similar products in the market, and provide solutions.
What are the elements of a good sales pitch?
A: To be effective, the sales pitch must have three key components. The first is to identify your target audience and why youre appealing to them in particular; the second is to establish an emotional connection (you can do this by using either positive or negative language depending on which style resonates more with people); finally, its important that you include a call-to-action so your readers know what they should be doing next.
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