The traditional sales pitch of spouting information at potential clients is dead. These days we communicate in a very different way. It is very much a dialogue between interested parties with listening on both sides. However you still have to reach out and get that dialogue going, so whether you are engaging in some telemarketing, at a networking event or engaging in e-mail marketing here are 7 steps to an effective sales pitch.
1. Understand your Audience
Never has the old adage of understanding your potential client been more important. Do your homework, profile existing clients, what do they have in common? What are their likes and dislikes? Do you really understand the buying process for all your clients and the different services you offer? You can only have a meaningful conversation when you know who you are talking too.
2. Solve the problem or answer the question
Once you’ve got a real understanding of your audience, you will know what common issues they have. What services do you offer that could solve these issues? Is there a gap in their knowledge that you can fill? 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. For face to face pitching, involve the client by asking them about the issues they face. By tackling the problem head on, your customers will see that you can address their needs.
3. Back it up with facts
So you can solve their problems but it could sound too good to be true. Provide evidence, back up your claims with facts and figures. Face to face, drop in a story about how you helped a client with a similar problem. With written pitches include reviews from other clients. A survey conducted by Dimension Research found that 90% of respondents claimed that reading positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions.
4. Ask for the sale
You have discussed their needs and how you can help them – now what? Believe it or not so many sales pitches just stop there; in fact research shows that incredibly, 85% of the interactions between salespeople and prospects end without the sales person ever asking for the sale.
Now help them with the next step, tell them how they can get the ball rolling and move one step closer to having their needs met……ask them for the sale, give your buyer some clear instruction on what they need to do next. Your call for action, whether it be a ‘click here’ to go to the sign-up page on your website from an email, or in your meeting just ask your contact ‘How about it?’ It’s as simple as that. If they can’t answer you right away, ask what additional information they might need to help them down the decision route.
5. Time is money
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.
Equally keep your face to face meeting short and to the point. Your potential clients are busy, try not to take up too much of their time. If you have done your research right, you can get to the point early on in the meeting,
6. 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. Get a colleague to proof read it for you; two pairs of eyes are better than one. 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 as possible.
Equally if you are meeting face to face, make sure you are appropriately dressed and that your chosen meeting place is suitable. For someone you have known a long time, after work drinks may be appropriate but maybe not for the MD of a large corporation you are meeting for the first time. Remember they are busy people, offer to meet at their premises to help save them time.
7. Don’t forget to follow-up
I know that sounds like a no brainer but a recent study found that 70% of unanswered sales email chains stop after the first email attempt. However, there is a 21% chance you will get a response to your second email if the first goes unanswered. A call to your email recipient to ask whether they got your first email is a good opener. Or even a ‘just in case you missed it’ reminder will do the job. Just a casual follow-up to an email will do, you don’t want to come across as a business stalker. In both written and spoken pitches it’s a good idea to forewarn the recipient that you will be following up in a few days and to expect your call. That way it gives your contact a deadline for reviewing the information and preparing any secondary questions they may have when you call. Otherwise they will sit on the information and only think about it again when you prompt them with your follow-up communication delaying the whole process.
By following these steps even the most non-salesy of people have the framework to get their message across, just remember it’s not about how wonderful your company is but how you can help your customer.
If you need some additional advice on implementing our 7 Step plan to an effective sales pitch or sales training we at Consortium can help – just give us a call on 01903 530787 for a no obligation chat.