The art of the sales pitch is not easy to master. We’ve all been on the receiving end of a sales pitch that was simply painful to sit through—either because it was boring, pushy, or both. As a sales representative, you want to craft truly compelling pitches. To do this, you need to fully engage your prospects.
Here are six fundamental sales pitch ideas to help you create a human connection with your prospects:
1. Listen to your prospects.
Sales isn’t only about speaking. Listening is as critical a skill to cultivate. When you’re making sales pitches, pay careful attention to what the prospect is telling you. Take note of their pain points, and resist the urge to automatically interject. You will be able to use the information learned to make an effective pitch, but first you need to let the prospect speak.
Don’t just leave a period for questions and answers to the end of the pitch. Incorporate opportunities for prospects to contribute throughout the entire conversation. This forces prospects to become active participants in your sales pitch rather than just passive listeners.
Once you’ve gained the insights you need, then you can make a tailored pitch that connects prospect pain points to your solution. Demonstrate to them that you were really listening and you will create trust.
2. Ask engaging questions.
Sometimes your prospect will be hesitant to speak. Although it can be tempting to fill the silence by talking yourself, resist the urge to babble. Instead, ask the prospect well-chosen questions that will allow them to open up to you. Avoid yes or no questions. Good questions are open-ended and allow the prospect to discuss the issues most important to them.
Examples of good questions include:
- What are your long-term business goals?
- What factors are preventing you from reaching your goals?
- What projects are you currently working on?
- How is your current solution working for you?
- If budget weren’t a consideration, what would you like to accomplish with this initiative?
By asking the right questions, even the most hesitant prospects will begin to open up to you.
3. Craft a sales pitch that centers around a powerful story.
As human beings, we’re wired to respond to stories. From the Odyssey to Harry Potter, stories have captivated the human imagination since the beginning of time. When we can attach an anecdote to a piece of information, we remember it better and are more likely to believe.
Of course, every good story has common elements. There is a hero for the audience to root for, who encounters roadblocks along the way. Ultimately, the hero triumphs over these obstacles and emerges as a new, improved version of himself. This is a tried and true formula that people respond to.
Although it may be tempting to position you and your company as the hero of this story, that’s actually not the most effective sales tactic. In B2B sales, the hero should ideally be one of your clients, with whom the prospect can identify. So you may, for example, tell the story of how one of your customer increased sales by 30% when implementing your software solution. But instead of simply stating that outright, use tried and true storytelling formulas to make it more interesting.
Remember that everyone wants to be the hero of their own story. If your prospects can imagine themselves as the heroes of your story, your chances of making a sale will skyrocket.
4. Use a demonstration in your pitch.
You’ve probably heard that seeing is believing, but it’s even more true that doing is believing. Incorporate a hands-on demonstration into your presentation to engage your audience and powerfully illustrate the benefits of your solution. Don’t be afraid to get creative in your presentation. Although many sales presentations incorporate a software demonstration, using another a physical demo in addition can make your presentation more memorable.
If you watch Shark Tank, then you know that the most effective presentations typically involve some form of physical demonstration. It’s one thing to say that your product cleans counters more effectively than a standard sponge, but it’s quite another to actually do it.
5. Be unexpected.
Let’s face it. Your prospects have sat through other sales presentations before, likely for your competitors’ products. In order to get a leg up on the competition, it never hurts to be memorable. One way to accomplish that is to do something that’s not entirely expected.
Although you want to maintain professionalism, don’t be afraid to go outside of the box a little in order to differentiate yourself from the crowd. When done well, humor can be a potent tool. Even in B2B sales, your prospects are still human and can respond well to a good joke.
Popular culture references are another way to be unexpected and therefore memorable. But be careful. If the Kardashians really don’t relate to your business in any way, don’t stretch it.
Another way to be unexpected is through honesty and transparency. Most people have become so accustomed to slick sales presentations that they respond well to a sales representative who actually comes across as honest and genuine. By all means respond to any objections that prospects raise, but don’t be afraid to acknowledge imperfections or past mistakes. Being able to speak to a prior mistake well can actually enhance your company’s reputation in the eyes of many prospects.
6. Close by asking the customer to take the next step.
At the end of the day, you want the prospect to demonstrate the ultimate sign of engagement by agreeing to a sale. Yet 85% of interactions between sales representatives and customers do not end in a sale. Make sure you end your pitch by explicitly asking the prospect to take the next step.
For best results, experiment with these ideas and discover what works best for your audience. By using these sales pitch ideas, you will engage your prospects more and generate sales.