A sales pitch is the foundation for any business because without them, you wouldn’t have any customers. Therefore, the stake can be high when delivering a sales pitch. This is your chance to make a great first impression and impress your prospects, or leave your prospects shaking their heads and looking for the door. The fact is, capturing a buyer’s interest is only half the battle. The hard part is keeping it and convincing them that your product or service is valuable enough to purchase. Don’t let your sales pitch fall flat! Here are ten ways you can prevent your next sales pitch from bombing.
1. Avoid reading from a slideshow.
There is nothing wrong with using a slideshow to assist you with your sales pitch. However, YOU are the presenter, not the slides. Nothing bores prospects more than listening to someone read to them from slides. Text heavy slides are not only boring, but they are difficult for audiences to follow. Instead, strike a balance between your speech and your visual aid in order to connect with your audience.
2. Avoid giving a comprehensive list of features.
Inexperienced salespeople may start by rattling off a long list of their product’s features in hopes that the sheer magnitude of the list will impress customers. The reality is that this can actually confuse and even irritate customers. Instead, figure out what the customer really needs and only pitch that.
The ability to listen has become a rare commodity so it’s not surprising that the majority of salespeople struggle to listen. Instead of talking the entire time and planning everything you want to say, spend some time listening to what the customer actually wants.
4. Avoid using filler words.
It’s easy to stumble over your words when you are nervous but don’t let filler words be the demise of your sales pitch. Avoid saying something like, “With our product, you can expect to see…um…a 50%…uh…increase in sales.” To eradicate these words from your speech, rehearse your pitch until you are comfortable with it.
5. Never apologize in advance.
Never start a presentation with an apology. “I’m sorry I am a few minutes late.” “I’m sorry for taking up your time.” Regardless of your reasoning, an apology says that you have done something wrong and you immediately lose credibility. Rather than apologize, remain self-confident and simply do your best.
6. Arrive on time.
First impressions mean everything so always arrive on time. This usually means arriving at least 15 minutes early. When you show up late, you are immediately showing your prospect that you are not reliable.
7. Don’t cram too much information.
It will take some practice to get a feel for how long your sales pitch will last. You may need to make some adjustments and cut back or add content accordingly. The last thing you want is to rush through a bunch of slides trying to cram too much information into your meeting.
8. Don’t stick to the script.
It is perfectly acceptable to have an outline of what you plan to say, but remember that a sales pitch is a live event so things may change along the way. If your prospect wants to change directions and talk about something else, allow them to do so and meet there where their interest lies. Be prepared to be flexible.
9. Prepare for technical difficulties.
Technical difficulties will happen from time to time but the best way to prevent them is to prepare in advance. Arrive early and run through all technical aspects of your presentation well before your appointed time. It’s also important to have a backup plan in place should you experience unforeseen problems.
10. Never “wing” it.
No matter who you are pitching to, you should always be prepared and have a set agenda and goal. Going into a presentation without a clear agenda will make you appear disorganized and incompetent.