Ten powerful sales pitching tips

One

Think very carefully about exactly what want the client (or potential client) to say, feel, believe or do as a result of your sales pitch.  What are the specific results you want to achieve?  What is the next action that you want the client to take after your sales pitch?

Two               

When designing your sales pitch always start with the client and not by talking about you and your products and services. Start by demonstrating that you understand the client’s aims and objectives.

Three        

A powerful pitch structure is:
Client’s aims / objectives
Client’s needs / problems (Where they are now)
Client’s success criteria (Where they want to be
How you can help the client move from where they are now to where they want to be.
Case studies / testimonials about how you have done this for other clients
Investment required from them.
Suggested action / implementation plan.

Four              

Does your pitch answer they questions:
1) Why should the client buy from you?
2) Why should the client only buy from you?  What are your points of differentiation?
3) What is the most important thing you want the client to remember about you?

Five               

Less is more!  Keep your pitch as short and punchy as possible.
Too many sales pitches are too long, too self-indulgent and too boring.

Six   

What is your main message – the most important thing you want to client to remember?

Repeat this three times during your pitch.

What are your three key points?  If you include any more than three then the client is likely to forget.

What facts do you have to back up what you claim?

Seven       

Do you have a story about how you have helped another client (preferably as similar to the client you are pitching to) to achieve the results they wanted?

Introduce the client character, describe the problems they were experiencing, show how you provided the solution they needed and then describe the results they achieved.

Eight

Can you create curiosity right at the start of your sales pitch?  A curious client is very attentive and receptive. One method you can use to create curiosity is to tell them some of the things that you are going to reveal during the sales pitch and then to tell the client about these at different stages as the sales pitch progresses.

For example, “As we progress I am going to show you three tried and tested and proven ways that we can deliver exactly the results you are looking for and provide you with rock-solid evidence of our capability.”

Nine             

Provide clarity and contrast about the difference the client will experience as a result of working with you or from buying your product and service.  Make it very clear and specific.

Ten  

A confused client never buys. Limit choice if you want them to make a decision. Provide and clear choice and next action and give the client something to buy.

Why Salespeople Don’t Make Good Negotiators

Do you think that sales people are as effective at negotiating as the procurement professionals they are facing across the buying table?  I’ve got some bad news for you.

In the course of my work as a speaker, consultant and corporate trainer in the areas of sales and negotiation I have spent increasing amounts of time working the “other side” of the buying table.

Over the last few years, I have trained both sales professionals and procurement professionals in approximately equal numbers to negotiate.

And I have come to a disturbing conclusion – in the majority of cases, salespeople just aren’t as good at negotiating as they need to be.  As this concerning reality became increasingly apparent, I spent much time and thought working out why this is the case and what can be done about it. My conclusions are as follows:

At an early stage in their career, sales people are usually told to “keep the customer happy”.  They have been taught that happy customers are good customers and will go out of their way to placate unhappy customers.   Professional buyers know this and will deliberately make salespeople uncomfortable by appearing to be unhappy as a way of tipping the power balance in their favour.

In addition selling and negotiating are two distinct skill sets.  Although selling and negotiating are inextricably linked there are distinct differences:

In selling we are attempting to persuade, convince, enthuse, justify and explain.  By contrast in negotiation we are stating our position, considering, making and weighing proposals and making demands for what we want.

In the majority of cases, sales people are far less comfortable with negotiating than buyers are.   If salespeople receive sales training the majority of the time will be spent on the process of selling and very much less time (if any at all) will be spent on the process of negotiating.  Buyers on the other hand will usually only receive training in negotiation.  Therefore when it comes to the negotiation stage of the sales process buyers have the advantage.

Buyers will attempt to short cut the sales stage and pull the salesperson out of their selling comfort zone and into their negotiating discomfort zone.  The experienced buyer will increase the levels of discomfort as much as possible using psychological ploys and tactics.  The uncomfortable salesperson will often pay their way out of discomfort in the form of (at best) some form of financial concession or (at worst) a non-reciprocated give-away.  They will literally pay their way out of discomfort with their employer’s profit margin.

For salespeople to become more effective negotiators, they need to recognise this and get more comfortable with being uncomfortable!

Having spent countless hours running realistic and demanding negotiation simulations, I have often seen the salesperson’s selling comfort zone once again rearing its ugly head in terms of negotiation behaviour.  Salespeople will tend to do far too much information giving in the negotiation, driven by their predilection for persuading and selling.  In doing so, they miss out on gathering the necessary information that would enable them to make effective negotiation proposals.  They spend far too much time thinking about things from their perspective and not enough time where their focus should be – getting inside the buyer’s head, understanding things from the buyer’s perspective.  Professional buyers will tend to exhibit higher levels of information gathering, giving them far more knowledge and information that they can the use to their advantage.  In negotiation knowledge is power.

To successfully negotiate you need to understand – really understand – what the other person wants to achieve.  When you fully understand this, you can create a deal that meets the needs of both sides.  If you fail to gather enough information (as sales people frequently do) your chances of securing a profitable deal are very limited.  Salespeople need to move their own agenda and objectives from the front of their mind to the back of their mind.  The buyer’s needs and priorities need to be in the front of the sales person’s mind, and they usually are not.

If this situation continues, sales professionals are going to continue to be taken advantage of by the procurement professionals they encounter.  The sales profession must put more far more emphasis than it currently does on equipping sales people to be more confident and capable negotiators.