Delivering a great sales pitch can be the difference between securing a contract and failing to do so, or persuading a business to fund you rather than going it alone. Not knowing your pitch content or the needs of the person you are presenting to can cost you the sale – on top of this, you’ll need to practise your sales pitch so that you can deliver it flawlessly when the big day comes.
Before you practise, you’ll need suitable content for your presentation and a meaningful solution to put in front of the client. You’ll have to learn your client’s needs, learn what their problems are, and find a solution that fulfils all of their requirements. Only then can you present the pitch to close the deal.
In this article, we explore how to deliver a great sales pitch, covering everything from composing yourself correctly to anticipating any objections from clients.
Whether you like it or not, first impressions have a huge impact on your sales pitch. Shuffling in and looking nervously around as you set up will ensure you lose the client’s attention. Instead, practise maintaining eye contact with each audience member for a few seconds and keep your shoulders open so that you seem friendly and approachable. Open with enthusiasm and ensure that you speak clearly from the outset – if you’re nervous you may automatically speed up your pitch, try to avoid this.
People engage much more with information displayed visually as oppose to just text. It’s therefore vital that you offer either clear images, diagrams and other visual material, keeping text to a minimum. A vibrant and appealing cover slide will capture their attention right away.
Clients will immediately see through a pitch that has been reworked from an old one. To really grab their attention you need to show them that you care about their business and have done the research to tailor your pitch to them. There are three simple ways to do this:
Before you begin writing a pitch you should find out what the client weaknesses and needs are. No client will begrudge you doing your homework before the pitch and it will add a huge amount of value to it.
Every company has their own jargon and set of ‘sayings’ or ‘mottos’. Integrating these into your pitch will resonate with the client and show that you have tailored the pitch to them.
Relating to the problems of the client and showing empathy with them will clearly put you on ‘their side’. This will help you to position yourself as a solution and will increase your chance of pitching successfully.
Clients love to hear a story about how you have helped another client and the more detailed you can be with this the better. Don’t give them a blow-by-blow account of how you helped, but be sure to put some concrete numbers in front of the client. Telling them that a similar company invested X and got Y in return will show them that what you are saying really works and has a proven track record.
Providing actual number in improvement sound much more impressive, such as this client saw their userbase grow by 3X, or this client increased their revenue by 10% due to our implementation.
The key element in every sales pitch is offering a solution to their needs - this is where you should focus most of your attention. You need to outline the problems and present the solution as a saleable and actionable product. This is the bait to make the catch and complete the sale, so it needs to be an appetising solution. Present it in bite-sized chunks with the benefits clearly outlined.
A common point wherein sales pitches fall down is when the solution is challenged. The client may see a problem or want to know more about an aspect of the proposal and you need to be ready to answer these questions quickly and effectively. Failing to do so will make you seem under-prepared and unreliable.
Whilst you do want to focus on the highlights of the pitch, you also need to pick it apart and challenge it so that you can identify the weaknesses and prepare answers and solutions should you be questioned on these.
Every client wants to see the value they will get form their investment. Make it clear how what you are offering will benefit the company. Powerful diagrams, headers and testimonials will help you here. Give them impressive figures that they can jot down, remember and come back to when considering the pitch.
MIT's 100K finale presentation:
MIT's 100K finale presentation in 2015. The winner was Raptor Maps, a drone-based approach to monitoring crop health and yields. Watch team members Nikhil Vadhavkar and Forrest Meyen deliver the winning sales pitch!
Notice the following:
It can be tempting to offer clients a large range of solutions at varying price points to ensure a sale, but this can actually be detrimental to the pitch. Keeping the list of options down to a minimum shows that they are well thought through and makes them stand out as the key solutions. If you have a wide range of solutions, this may very well confuse the client.
Backing your claims up with the words of other clients can go a very long way. Statistics show that 5 reviews is the magic number for increasing online sales and the same principle applies in a sales pitch. Telling the client about a happy customer is one thing, but showing them how happy a customer is in their own words is another thing entirely.
Integrate your most complimentary testimonials into the pitch and you’ll be more likely to convert. Clients will believe the words of others and trust you more when they see how others have praised you in the industry.
The final stage in any pitch is to end on a clear call to action. Tell the client what needs to happen in order for them to realise the results that you have discussed. Set some clear timelines of when they can see results if they meet your call to action. If you can tell a client that they can achieve a goal by a certain date then they will recognise that delaying is only to their detriment.
One key thing to avoid in your pitch is the pressure sell. Using tactics like offering a discount if they sign up now will only put prospective clients off and drive your pitch into the ground. It is important that the client sees the purchase as their own decision based on well thought out business principles.
The best you can do is to lay the arguments for a purchase in front of them clearly and allow them to decide that this is the right step to take. As long as your call to action is strong enough then they will make the right decision in the time frame you have outlined for them.
Read more about this in our article: Powerful Sales Techniques & Tips
When you end the pitch and walk out of the door you want to already have your follow up or at least a mechanism to follow up in place. If you leave with no means to contact the client then you will effectively be cold calling when you pick up the phone to make contact again.
But if you have a meeting lined up or a call in the diary then you can leave with a clear time frame for them to consider the proposal and reach a conclusion. This will add urgency without pressure and will increase your chances of success.
Following the steps above will ensure that your sales pitch is clear, direct and effective, but there is still no replacement for practice. Making a sales pitch is much like acting in that you need to convey the message in a certain way to elicit the reaction that you desire. Very few people can make a great sales pitch on the first attempt, so you will need to practise (a lot).
Begin with a solid pitch that is ready to present to a client and read it through until you are familiar with each slide. Read out loud and focus on your tone of voice and presence and then perform it in front of peers who can critique your pitch or in a realistic environment using virtual reality. This allows you to simulate giving an actual pitch in a realistic, immersive way.