A Great Sales Pitch Starts with Effective Communication
A good sales pitch can be used almost anywhere: in business presentations, at conferences and networking events, on the telephone, or even over coffee with a friend. That’s because a strong sales pitch isn’t really about making a sale for you; it’s about you solving a problem for someone else.
But having the solution is only half of a great sales pitch. Even if your product or service is faster, more cost effective, and superior in every way to your competitor’s, it’s effective communication that will get others interested.
Have you noticed that your sales pitches aren’t getting the results they should? Do you find people ask what you do and then lose interest once you give them your elevator speech? Don’t assume it’s because they have no use for what you do. It could be because you’re lacking the effective communication skills needed to convince your listener your product or service can make their lives better.
Keep reading to learn about the 6 mistakes you’re probably making in your sales pitches.
Your sales pitch is geared to a large audience.
Even if you’re giving a sales pitch to a committee or board, deliver a message that’s impactful on a personal level. You’re not speaking to a group; you’re speaking to a group of individuals. Each has their own feelings and opinions about what you’re saying. When you see your audience as a collection of individuals, it’s easier to apply effective communication strategies, such as connecting with eye contact and using good body language.
If you are pitching to just one person, make your sales pitch as specific to them as possible. Find out who they are and what matters to them. With that information, you can tailor your sales pitch to appeal to them personally.
You come on too strong.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and sometimes you only get a sliver of time to make a first impression. Nevertheless, the person you’re pitching might not even be interested in what you’re selling, so give them a chance to figure out first if they are.
Offer a brief description of what you do and see if they show an interest. You could introduce your product or service by offering a morsel of data that might spark some interest. (For example, “Americans spend an average of 24 hours a week online but complain they can’t find any time to exercise.”) Or you could talk about how your competitors have tried to solve a problem and how or why your solution is different. (e.g., Is your solution cheaper? Faster? Better?)
You promote the features instead of the benefits.
Unless your product or service solves a problem that a potential customer has, it’s useless. People aren’t looking for features, they’re looking for benefits. How will your product or service benefit them? Will it make their life easier? Will it save them money? Will it give them peace of mind?
I like to compare it to shopping for a new car. Personally, the fact that the vehicle I’m looking at has an automatic transmission, tinted glass, and a full-sized spare tire means nothing to me. What I do want to know is how fuel efficient it is, the crash test safety rating, and if the seats are stain resistant. This vehicle will be transporting my family for the next five years; I want to know that it’s economical, it’s safe, and it’s easy to clean.
Your customers are no different. Don’t bury the benefits in your sales pitch. Tell them up front how your product or service will meet their needs.
You talk too much.
Effective communication isn’t just about knowing what to say; it’s also about knowing how to listen. Of course, you want to fit as much information into your sales pitch as possible, but when you’re doing all the talking, you sound pushy… and you’re missing a prime opportunity to have your client tell you exactly what they’re looking for. Give your customer a chance to tell you about a problem they face, and then adjust your sales pitch accordingly.
You lack confidence.
We can all pick out a person who lacks confidence: They fidget, they avoid eye contact, they say “uhh” and “umm” a lot.
If you don’t sound confident delivering your sales pitch, your listener will know. And when you don’t sound confident, you lose credibility with your audience. People want to buy from someone who knows what they’re talking about. Maybe it’s just nerves, creeping in and messing up your sales pitch. The best remedy, of course, is to practice.
Don’t just practice ahead of a presentation or meeting; practice your sales pitch frequently. It can double as an elevator speech when an unexpected opportunity comes up.
You don’t ask for the sale.
We’re used to seeing CTAs (Calls to Action) on sales pages, social media posts, email campaigns, and advertisements, but that’s not the only place they belong.
Once you explain the benefits of your product or service to a customer, you must tell them what to do next. Even if it’s just handing them your business card (in the case of an impromptu delivery of your elevator speech), give them something to take away from your sales pitch. How can they access your service? Where do they start? Present them with a professional takeaway so they know.
Does Your Sales Pitch Need Work?
The foundation of any strong, persuasive sales pitch is not the product or service you’re selling, it’s the value of what you’re selling. And without effective communication skills, it’s impossible to convince your customers you can help them.
How many opportunities in a day do you have to give a sales pitch? If you’re coming on too strong with a lengthy sales pitch that highlights only the features instead of the benefits, you’re probably seeing fewer sales and more missed opportunities. Remember, to communicate effectively, you have to be just as good at listening as you are at talking.