How to perfect your sales pitch
At an exhibition, or on the telephone, you will only get a few minutes to make a good first impression. Perfecting your sales pitch is vital to grab a visitor’s attention in those initial minutes of contact. Your sales pitch is crucial because it’s likely to be a prospect’s first in-person interaction with your company. It’s a perfect opportunity to expand their understanding of your company beyond what they might already know.
But what is the best way to go about this? A good sales pitch should be a 2-way affair – it is your chance to find out more about your customer and their needs, and their chance to learn more about you. Here we cover some pointers to help you turn a quick conversation into a promising lead.
1. Know your product
It is vital to know the product you are selling inside out. You need to be prepared for any questions you might be asked. Make sure you understand exactly how it functions, technical features and all the advantages it can bring. If necessary, make sure you can demonstrate it properly and show the customer exactly what it does. This is fundamental, if you don’t know the product yourself, how can you expect someone else to understand it.
2. Know your customer
Who is your typical customer? What are their needs? What problems do they have and how can your product solve them? Researching your target market will enable you to have a better understanding of the person you are pitching to.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with a sales pitch is to make it all about them, reeling off the benefits of their product and company without finding out about the customer’s needs. Your sales pitch should be tailored to the customer, you need to find out their needs and demonstrate how you can help them. During your initial contact, make sure you ask the right questions so you can tailor your message to address that business’ specific needs and ease the deal to the next step. Successful selling is about building a relationship with the customer.
3. Target the decision maker
There is no point in pitching to someone who doesn’t have the authority to approve a purchase. Finding the right person to target is often the most difficult part of a salesperson’s role. Before the actual sales pitch, ensure that you are talking to the person who not only truly understands the business, but is also a decision-maker. Fortunately research shows that 81% trade show attendees have buying authority. They are there to find out more about certain products and are in buying mode.
4. Have an objective
It’s amazing how many salespeople launch into a pitch without having an objective in mind. It’s vital to know what you want to achieve from the conversation. The most important objective is to use your sales pitch to move the buyer to the next step in your sales process. Your presentation should focus on providing information such as the value you create and what the buyer should do next, so they agree to additional steps with you.
5. Begin with a hook
A truly great sales pitch contains a hook at the beginning of the pitch that pulls on those needs and hints at a solution. To pique interest and spark curiosity, use a hook in the form of a question that includes phrases such as “Have you ever noticed” or “Have you ever thought about”. Aim to draw the customer in rather than launching straight into a monologue about your products.
6. Tell a story
Paint a vision of the future and where they could be if they purchase your product. Being a good storyteller can make the difference between a good sales pitch and a great one. Outline where the business is now and where it could be in the future with your help. Align your vision of the future with their needs met.
Any successful sales pitch can benefit from telling the story of your brand and product. And when you do this effectively, you will create a stronger connection between you and your buyers. This connection is often based on the fact that they can relate to your brand on a personal level, giving them even more reason to buy.
According to author Erik Luhrs, “In sales situations, stories allow the subconscious mind of the prospect to truly ‘get’ and see the valuable application of the solution.” This is because neuro-linguistic programming shows that “all humans run 99% subconsciously and 1% consciously.”
7. Solve their problems
Once you have the customer on board and you’ve listened to their needs, share your insights into how their problems can be solved. Use the knowledge you have gained through experience with other customers to demonstrate how you can help them. You should hone your message on the specific features of your product that will help them the most.
8. Use relevant examples
Be prepared with examples of how your product has helped other customers in a similar industry. If possible have some statistics based on the success of your product or business and what others have achieved by using it.
9. Overcome any objections
As well as solving your prospect’s problems you need to be prepared to overcome any objections they may have. Be prepared with answers to common issues. Common problems include issues around:
Be prepared to discuss each of these in depth. If they have used or are using a competitor’s product, be prepared to differentiate your product against your competitor’s.
10. Agree the way forward
If you have got this far and the prospect is still interested you need to agree what the next steps will be. That may be a phone call or a customer visit, whatever it is make sure you do it. Many exhibitors make the mistake of not following up the leads they gain from a trade show, losing out on many opportunities and reducing the show’s return on investment (ROI).
A good sales pitch takes practice so try it out on colleagues before the event. To perfect your sales pitch, it is vital that you make it a conversation rather than reciting a monologue. The more you can find out from the prospect about their needs, the better you will be able to sell the benefits of your product or company to meet them.