In an increasingly competitive business environment, having a successful sales pitch has never been more important. No matter how good your product is, if you can’t communicate its benefits to prospective clients you’ll never close a deal.
We take a look at 7 steps to perfecting your company's sales pitch.
A carefully crafted sales pitch structure ensures you say everything you need to say to close the deal but also prevents waffling which will only confuse the customer. When it comes to choosing a structure, there are dozens of options available and a bit of trial and error may be necessary to find the one that allows you to showcase your offering most effectively. At a minimum, essential elements of a successful structure should include:
But remember, while having a defined structure is a good thing, you also need an element of flexibility. The customer may ask questions which mean you have to go off-topic slightly or they may be unresponsive to a particular part of the presentation. Don’t just carry on regardless: adapt your sales pitch as needed and then try to make sure you've covered everything that's in your original structure.
Developing a sales pitch template based on best practice means you’ll be able to deliver successful presentations time and time again. If you have a large sales team, working from a template ensures that the company’s voice comes through in every pitch and that vital information isn’t missed out. It also makes it quicker and easier to put presentations together.
There are some things you’ll always want to talk about - your offering, your credentials and how you fit into the competitive landscape, for example – and having a template means you’ll have slides covering these areas prepped and ready to go.
The chances are you’ll be passing on lots of information in your sales pitch, but make sure your main message doesn’t get lost. You should aim to make your key points 3 times; in the introduction, in the main body of the sales presentation and in the conclusion. Make sure you’ve got evidence and examples to back up these key points, otherwise they may fall flat. This is also great practice to get in to for when you are preparing for those small business networking events you'll be pitching at.
Every customer is different and will want different things from your products and services, so it’s important that you personalise your sales pitch. Take your sales pitch structure and template and adapt them to each client’s particular needs. Encourage salespeople to think about that customer’s pain points and how your products or services can help them.
A great way to personalise a sales presentation is to ask questions. Encouraging a two-way dialogue helps you find out what challenges the customer is facing and what their priorities are. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to personalise your pitch, so make use of any information stored in your CRM about their background or past interactions with your company.
Practice makes perfect – it’s always worth rehearsing your standard pitch with salespeople before you put it into action, and refining it based on customer feedback. Salespeople should know the sales pitch almost by heart; it's fine to take notes or prompts into a meeting, but reading from a script will look unprepared and unprofessional. Recording and playing back your pitch is a great way to pick up on any weak points.
If your standard pitch includes visual aids, make sure your salespeople practice with them – not much looks worse than a presentation with slides in the wrong order, or a salesperson who doesn't know how to open a vital document halfway through a pitch. Knowing your material and your story well also gives you insurance in case technical problems mean you can’t use the presentation you’ve prepared – it’s worth occasionally doing a run of your pitch with no slides, just to make sure you’re prepared for this scenario.
Sales pitches are increasingly becoming two-way dialogues and prospective clients are likely to have questions. While your pitch can’t possibly predict everything they could ask, it’s worth prepping answers to some likely queries in advance. Think about what you’d want to know if you were a potential customer, or any potential objections they might have, and make sure you have your answers ready.
The work doesn’t finish once the sales pitch is over: the follow up is often as important as the presentation itself. Make it a standard practice to record details of any questions which need answering or recommended follow up activity in your CRM as soon as salespeople get back to the office so that nothing falls through the cracks. Even better, if you’ve got access to a mobile CRM you can update vital customer information the moment you’re out of the meeting.
So there you have it - 7 steps to perfecting your company's sales pitch - happy selling! If you're after further tips to help you grow your business, grab a copy of this Top 25 Tips for Growing Your Business e-book.