How to Make a Sales Pitch on Short Notice
These days, meeting new customers happens both online and offline. Sales teams need to be ready with a unique way to sell themselves and the products they’re handling over a wide range of mediums at a moment’s notice.
It’s close to impossible to rely on memorizing and practicing 250 perfect words in front of a mirror so they can repeat it verbatim to a prospective client and expect them to be charmed enough to buy. The sales pitch needs to be tailor-made for each customer and often has to be thought up on the spur of the moment. Not an easy task.
So how can you come up with a sales pitch that hits the right spot when you have less than 10 minutes to prepare for it?
Prepare Ahead of Time
There’s no shortcut to this one. I’m not suggesting that you write down a pitch and memorize it. Far from it. But imagine yourself talking to an exacting client before you actually encounter one. You should already have the answers to a few questions like:
- What are the main advantages and disadvantages of the product?
- What kind of people do the disadvantages affect?
- What kind of emotional and logical triggers can you use to support your pitch?
- Do you have a repertoire of entertaining stories handy to dish out on short notice?
- Do you have all the facts, prices, numbers and metrics ready in your mind?
Put yourself in another person’s shoes and anticipate questions that the person will be likely to ask. This will help you by reducing last-minute tension and stress.
Evaluate the Person You’re Talking To
The important part of your sales pitch is the person you’re talking to. It’s not you, it’s not the way you talk or what you want to say. It’s all about what the person you’re talking to wants to hear. Your product might solve ten problems, but your customer only wants to hear about two of them that he’s actually facing. The other eight don’t really matter to him. They’re only additions. Nice to have, but not vital.
If you begin by pitching the extras, your lead is going to lose interest fast. But how do you know which points to pitch first? Simple. Have a conversation. Talk about the person’s business and what they do before you plunge headlong into what you do.
This doesn’t have to be a list of questions that will annoy them and make it look like you’re taking a survey. Be subtle. Enquire about how their business is going. Say something nice about the business locality or a small story about the problems someone in a similar business was facing. Once they open up, you can watch body language and tone to gauge what’s really bothering them, at least vaguely.
Try to Help with Something Your Business Can’t Handle
Do you have contacts who can help the person with a small problem they’re facing? Offer to introduce them. Or if you know about a tool or website that will help them with something that your business can’t, recommend it to them. And do it on the spot. Make it clear that they’re not obligated to buy anything from you and that the information is just one human being trying to help another.
This may not always lead to a sale, but it always leads to a bigger, more responsive network in the long term. And sometimes that’s even better than a sale.
Show Authority and Make it Personal
No one likes sales pitches. The minute people realize they’re being sold to they put up their defences and become much less receptive to what you have to say. But there is one thing that people can’t resist: expertise. You need to walk the walk to talk the talk.
Are you selling travel packages? Tell them about all the exciting out-of-the-way places you’ve been to personally and how much you enjoyed yourself. If you’re selling a tool, talk about how many problems you were facing before you created the tool and show how much your business has grown thanks to the tool. Make it personal, instead of anecdotal.
Always Give Them a Means to Contact You
When you’re closing the pitch, always ask if they’re interested in buying right then. If it’s relatively inexpensive, most people won’t hesitate. But if it’s an expensive product and they need more information or time, leave an email ID, phone number or a business card with them.
If this helped you with your on-the-spot sales pitch, you can also read about some really effective sales presentation ideas.