As a sales representative, you may be wondering how to make sure you’ll make a great first impression when pitching to potential leads, or how to best form a relationship and secure repeat customers. While there are many important aspects to a successful pitch, such as using engaging and organized content, according to this Harvard Business Review article, one of the key differences that distinguished the top salespeople from those who didn’t reach their quotas was their communication skills.
While communication skills may seem like common knowledge, employing these simple techniques will ensure your pitch is clear, focused, and personal:
- Make eye contact: this may seem obvious, but eye contact is key to making a connection with your customer. Not only does it show that you’re focused on the conversation, but keeping a steady gaze also expresses confidence and interest in the customer.
- Actively listen: this means looking for cues that may express how the customer is feeling, such as their tone or volume. If a customer stays very quiet for example, this could express that they’re not sold on your product or idea--encourage them to ask questions and join the conversation.
- Pay attention to body language: this refers to both you and your clients. Make sure you are facing the client and either sitting upright or standing with proper posture. You want to appear confident but not stiff, as this will reassure your customers that you are taking your role seriously but are still approachable. Pay attention to the body language of your audience as well--you’ll be able to gauge their interest level and comfort, which can help you adjust your pitch accordingly.
- Be personal: little details such as using a customer’s name will add a personal touch to your pitch, which is more likely to lead to making a connection with the customer. Whatsmore, if you’ve met a potential lead before, you might add a few details, such as asking about a trip they’ve taken recently or their beloved dog. A little gesture can go a long way--personal details will show you care and take your customer relationships seriously.
- Speak at the customer’s level: this means speaking in a way that establishes authority and shows that you’re knowledgeable about your product--without using confusing jargon. If the customer doesn’t understand your pitch, how will they know if they’re interested in what you’re offering? Using some unfamiliar terminology that’s specific to your product is okay, as long as you explain it to your audience in terms they’ll understand.
Although these tips may seem simple, they’ll help you feel prepared for any sales situation--whether it be a casual pitch to a neighbor or a presentation to an executive board. These techniques will keep your focus on the customer experience, which will show your dedication to your role while converting leads into new customers. By demonstrating confidence in your abilities as a sales rep while still being relatable and starting a conversation with your audience, you’ll be able to make connections with your leads and close deals.