6 Keys to a Compelling Sales Pitch
A good marketing strategy revolves around much more than short-term sales numbers. You have to think about long-term factors like brand awareness, customer loyalty, and more. However, you won’t keep afloat to focus on those long-term goals if you don’t make sales now. To hit those sales goals, you’ll need a sales pitch that is informed by expert advice and seasoned by your (and your employees’) personality.
Of course, you’re going to bring the unique flavor of your industry, your brand, and yourself to your sales pitch. But there are also a number of best practices that you should keep in mind when thinking about the optimum way to get potential customers to see the worth of your products or services.
To help you develop a sales pitch that is effective for making both sales and happy customers, here is a list of 6 keys to a compelling pitch.
Study Your Target Market
A surprising number of companies are missing their marks with their target markets. That’s because they neglect one of the most important steps in sales and marketing – research. You’re understandably eager to get out there and get selling. You believe in your product and you expect consumers to recognize its value.
The problem is that you just can’t have a successful sales pitch without understanding your target market. You need to know your customers as well as they know themselves (maybe even better!). What age demographic is most likely to be interested in what you’re selling? What other critical demographic information can you find out about your target market (culture, income, education, interests, online habits, etc.)?
You should also learn about the social media platforms your potential customers are using, and how they’re using them. One way to gather this information is by conducting your own research. You can use surveys, or conduct an observational study of online activity. You can also use research conducted by others – there are plenty of studies out there; all you have to do is search for them. A combination of original and borrowed research is often the best way to get to know your specific customer base.
Demonstrate the Problem
Before a consumer purchases a good or service, he must recognize that there is a problem to which that good/service is the solution. The problem could be as simple as “my feet are cold” (therefore I need socks). Or it could be far more complex (“My business is growing and I need someone to help me manage that growth while maintaining a consistent brand identity.”).
Your job as a businessperson, a leader, and a salesperson is to get potential customers to recognize the problem. In other words, not every person who comes through your door (or your website) realizes he needs what you’re selling. You’ve got to point out where the issue is before you can offer a solution.
Often this aspect of the sales pitch is often accomplished through carefully crafted questions. The right questions allows the prospect to self discover their problem, rather than you telling them they have a problem. After all, who will they believe more?
Emphasize Ends Over Means
Whatever you’re selling, it works in a certain way. It might be simple or complex. It might be very easy for the average joe to understand, or it might be way beyond most people’s comprehension. Either way, there’s no need to dwell on the details of how it works. Instead, your sales pitch should center on directing consumers’ attention to what the product or service will do for them.
In other words, how will your customer’s life be different (better!) if she purchases this? That doesn’t mean you should promise your customers everlasting happiness and prosperity. Your promises have to be realistic based on your own understanding of and experience with your industry. But do think about the best effects of owning your product or using your service, and then emphasize those.
You don’t have to be an electrician to use a light switch. You just need to know that by flicking that switch, you’ll receive the benefit of illumination.
Show Why You’re Different
In almost every case, consumers have multiple options for how to fill their needs, and your product is only one of those options. Sometimes, the reasons for choosing a particular brand are mysterious, or they’re completely out of your control.
Some people just go with the first company they happen to find that meets the need they’re looking to fill. Others do meticulous research on their own before making up their minds. But there’s a significant subset of the population that makes a point to actually communicate with different companies before choosing one. If you want to snag their business, you have to show them what distinguishes your company from those other guys.
Whatever you choose to emphasize, make sure it is real, not just an arbitrary positive characteristic. For instance, don’t say that your amazing customer service is head and shoulders above that of your competition if you know that your customer service is really just so-so. Instead choose your best authentic characteristic that is unique or special.
This is something businesses spend far too little time in developing, but frankly can be the difference between short term sales, and long term success.
Acknowledge Customer Concerns
Just about everything has a downside. You’ll seem disingenuous if you try to pretend that your product doesn’t have one. If a customer brings up a concern that might hold him back from a purchase, acknowledge and legitimize that customers’ concern. Then, turn it around and show why any disadvantages shouldn’t be dealbreakers.
Imagine you are selling time-management software. You’re speaking with a potential customer, but he’s concerned that the software will slow down his computer. You know that there may be some loss in speed, but you want to show that the benefits outweigh the costs. You might say “You’re right – this might slow you down ever so slightly. However, most users don’t even notice any difference. Plus, the increase in your overall productivity will more than cover a few seconds here and there.”
With this response, you’ve validated the customers concern while demonstrating that the downside is relatively small and that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. And your willingness to acknowledge the disadvantages shows the customer that you’re genuine as a person and as a salesperson.
Finish with a Call to Action
You don’t stop when you’ve finished talking about the benefits of your product. Your sales pitch is done only when you have laid out the next steps for the customer. Even if she isn’t ready to pull the trigger, you have to offer an alternative action to keep the process going.
That action might be to read some literature you’ve provided and call you back when she’s ready to discuss it further. Alternatively, you might encourage the customer to take advantage of a free trial or other free resources you provide. Don’t leave it up to the customer to figure out what the next steps should be. You provide a roadmap depending on where the customer is in her purchasing journey.
This is a critical step, that most fear in the “sales journey”; however, you are doing your customer an injustice, if you don’t help guide their process. It’s something that you must believe and fulfill.
These 6 points are, of course, a barebones set of guidelines. You’ll have to use your own knowledge, your own intuition, and your own personality to fill in the rest. You’ll also want to ensure that you train your employees to deliver a killer sales pitch. After all, great salesmanship is not an accident. Some people are natural salesmen and women, but even the most intrinsically skilled individual can benefit from strategic planning. And those who aren’t natural-born salespeople can still develop a very strong sales pitch if they take the time to think about their approach. Sales, like everything else in business, requires an investment of time and effort. But that investment can and will yield results.
Now it’s your turn. Any killer sales pitch ideas you would like to add? Leave me a comment below on what you find is crucial to your sales pitch.