Everyone's a skeptic nowadays. Once you say the dreaded “best decision you'll ever make” cliché, shutters fall over eyes and suddenly you are faced with wry smiles. Not a good sign. Furthermore, the mode of sales pitches have changed dramatically since salespeople came into existence. Technology and social media now shape the modern elevator pitch, and living in a fast track world means that you need to get your point across in a snap. What better way to make your product stand out and blow away potential customers than with an incredible sales pitch?
So how can you do that?
Listening will give you insight on what your potential customers need. Ask the right questions, and you will know just how you can help them. Present to them the solutions they need, and not the features you can offer. Honesty comes a long way as well. If they tell you that they need a service to perform a certain action, and you know it can't do that, tell them. In a culture where we expect salespeople to twist the truth to tell you what you want to hear, there is nothing more refreshing than a salesperson telling you that their product might not be able to solve your problems. This adds to the integrity of your brand and who knows, a few months down, you'll have a new customer who came to you because of what they heard from that other company!
2. Never use the same pitch twice.
Short of long, each pitch you give should be a new pitch. You can recycle some good lines, but the overall pitch should have something original in it. Your customers are different, and when you do your research, you will realize that no two customers want the exact same thing. And since what they want from your service is different, why waste their time by not giving them exactly what they want? Because when you give them the answers to their problems, as Guy Kawasaki writes in his book, you have 'enchanted' your customers. You have empathized with their goals, and given them a way to achieve them. And isn't the ideal product one that allows you to reach your goals?
3. Prepare for objections.
Imagine that you have a most difficult potential customer. They have a con to every pro you mention and a counterpoint to every point you make. There is nothing worse than being put on the spot by someone with good objections that you can't respond to, so why not prepare for it? Brainstorm possible objections, and prepare answers to them. That way, not only do you look incredibly well-informed on your product (always a good thing), you're cutting down the number of reasons they would use to say no!
4. Look good and sound good.
Yes, you want to be careful with what you wear when you go to these pitches, but that much is obvious. More important than that is your body language and your tone of voice. You want to be confident but not arrogant. Enthusiastic but not maniacal. Practice a few power poses (watch this popular TEDTalk about what they are) before going in front of the audience and make sure you project assurance. Speak as though you believe in your words and enjoy talking about your product (which you already should). If you're confident in what you're selling, your potential customers must be able to see it in the way you move and speak.
5. Follow up immediately after.
Regardless of whether or not your potential customers sounded interested, always follow up with them. Thank them for their time, quickly summarize your pitch in a few sentences, and leave them with your contact information. If they loved your pitch, they will know how to contact you, and if they were on the fence, why not sweeten the pot with a deal they'd appreciate? Following up with them shows initiative and reminds them of what specific problem your product or service is going to solve for them. Plus, it's also just nice to thank people!
These tips are a handy way to help guide the way you plan your pitches, but remember that there is never going to be that one method that will close all your sales. People will say no, and being comfortable with that will help make sure you stay enthusiastic and eager even when you're on your 5th pitch of the day!