Sales pitches are golden opportunities. Which is why you will be keen to Win your next Sales Pitch.
You’re pitching because someone is interested in what you have to offer. In this post I’ll share tips, ideas and advice to help you Win your next Sales Pitch next time you pitch to a potential customer.
I think of a Sales Pitch in terms of time and money. The more time you put into the preparation, and practice, the more likely you are to succeed and sales pitch success usually means money in the form of revenues.
So here are my ‘routes to sales pitch success’ – things that will help you win your next sales pitch:
- Make it easy to say yes
- Focus on Benefits over Features
- Make your pitch compelling, irresistible
- Focus on your audience not yourself
- Run on Time
- Maintain Momentum throughout
- Follow Up
You can use these as a checklist to help you ensure that your sales pitch is one that will succeed. Here in a bit more detail is how to prepare and practice:
Preparation and Practice to help you win your next sales pitch
Give yourself plenty of time, don’t start preparing your pitch the night before, start working on it as soon as you know you are going to be delivering a pitch.
Make sure you are on top of the numbers and the data – most pitches start to unravel when questions asked about the numbers.
Be a ruthless editor when preparing the content of your sales pitch, you have to leave out stuff which you quite like but won’t help you win the pitch – don’t fall into the trap of the kitchen sink approach where you simply include everything that you know.
Take your practice seriously – two or three times runs throughs should be sufficient to ensure that the pitch content is correct, that it flows to deliver it within the allocated time – a top tip to make sure this happens is to deliver in practice in 80 to 85% of the allocated time – if you take 100% of time in practice you will almost certainly overrun on the day.
On the day have with you a prompt card or two with a few single words to ensure you don’t forget any key parts of the pitch – whatever you do don’t turn up with A4 notes or if you are delivering virtually reading from slide notes. Wear clothes that you feel good about yourself in and arrive early so you can check your setup, whether that’s in-person or virtual, and then you can focus on meeting and greeting those you are pitching to. Building some rapport in the few minutes before you do the pitch can potentially make a huge difference to the outcome because the buyer is looking at you and thinking this is a great idea can I work with this person?
You need an engaging start so don’t ramble on and don’t talk about yourself, especially how great you are, instead tell your audience how the pitch is going to work, including interaction in the form of questions, and what’s in it for them.
Then kickstart your pitch with something eye-catching such as a big stat, headline statement or powerful image – but in all cases make it relevant to the pitch not something just to get attention.
Focus then on three key messages – this is the bit where you have to be the ruthless editor – there are more than three your audience will forget them and be not sure which are the most important ones.
Don’t save the best bits of your pitch until the end, get them in early because the best dates will come and the most attention and you risk if you save them up until the end that the audience engagement has gone and that you run out of time to give them full justice.
If you going to use slides then please keep the content to a minimum – view the content on your slides as a prompt not a script – and think about using props, especially for in person pitches, as a way of breaking up the slides.
If there is a Q&A at the end of your pitch then try and pre-empt the questions you will be asked, be prepared to ask yourself a couple of rhetorical questions in case there aren’t any from the floor and if you do get asked questions then don’t spend too long answering them otherwise you risk running out of time to answer further questions which might be much better questions than the one you are answering.
And be ready to ask your own questions such as:
- What are you thinking about what I have shared?
- What do you want to do next and when?
- Apart from yourself who else is involved in the buying decision making process?
Lots of sales pitches seem to go great on the day and have real momentum but then quickly fade away. This is often because there is no agreed follow-up strategy with those who were in your audience the pitch. Suggesting that you will make some sort of contact in a week or so diminishes rapidly your chances of success. If you send a summary of your proposal make sure you include three alternative options, all of which are similar but not the same, so the buyer has a choice. If your proposal has one option you are essentially saying to the buyer take it or leave it, buyers like to feel that they are in control to giving them the space to make a choice can be really helpful. But the key to the follow-up is agreed before you leave the pitch exactly what’s going to happen and when, and if you have sent a proposal then follow that up in the first instance with a phone call rather than another email.
For more sales pitch tips and advice check out my website : trevorjlee.com
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