There are many techniques you could apply to make a sales pitch. But regardless of your profession or reason for making a pitch, it can be a nerve-wracking experience. Presidents, CEOs, professors, and even students have confessed to one degree or another of stage fright. Part of the apprehension stems from the worry that something will go wrong and sabotage your presentation.
Instead of lying awake at night thinking of all the ways it could go wrong, plan meticulously. All your restless energy would be better used to perfect your pitch. Whether you’re facing experts in a Manhattan boardroom or at your trade show display in Las Vegas, you need to be at your best.
To help you close that lucrative deal, here are a few tips to make a winning sales pitch.
The point of a sales pitch is to convince your audience to make a purchase or get on board with your concept. For best results, you have to keep in mind that different audiences respond to different persuasions. This is affected by various factors such as:
- Business interests
- Geographical location
Reconnaissance is how you find out the factors above beforehand. Once you have collected sufficient data, use it to come up with a suitable targeted approach. For instance, middle-aged couples are more likely to take on large mortgages than older folk approaching retirement. The offer you present to one will likely not be applicable to the other, their needs differ. Suffice to say, you need to discern who to sell what to.
In addition, research is important so as to avoid causing offense. An offended customer or investor is unlikely to buy into your sales pitch. Avoid presentations that go against your audience’s value systems. Your goal is to win them over, not antagonize them.
Put your best foot forward. Your appearance will speak for you before you put up any slides from the projector. The idea here is not to transform yourself into someone you are not, but more, to project confidence and trustworthiness. It may sound unfair, but not many people are willing to trust you if you show up looking disheveled. If you can not take care of yourself, how will you take care of the needs they are entrusting you with?
Depending on where you will be meeting prospective clients, ensure that everything is well set up. If they invite you to their premises, go in slightly earlier and request to arrange any equipment you will use.
In other situations, such as trade expos, your exhibition stand ought to be properly and attractively designed. Customers’ attention needs to be drawn to your product display and branding enough for them to want to engage you.
You may have the best sales pitch but if your audience does not understand you, it defeats the purpose. Rehearse as much as possible by presenting to family or friends. They may help you build confidence and give feedback on where to improve. Coherence is equally important, aim for a routine that has a logical flow.
Effective communication is also characterized by listening and sustaining polite discourse. A brash or condescending tone diminishes the odds of your presentation being well-received. Lastly, be a lively engaging presenter as it sparks interest in what you have to offer. Visual aids such as slides and short clips are a good way to break the monotony of continuous speech.
There is a reason why organizations have departments. One person can not possibly do or know everything. Consider your content and what questions may arise from it. If there are aspects that are not in your area of expertise, bring along someone that is better versed in them. It would be terribly embarrassing to be faced with questions you have no answers or solutions to.
Props and Prototypes
Inventions are novel by nature. You may not necessarily have rediscovered the wheel but you possibly have made innovative alterations to it. In such an instance, theoretical explanations will not suffice. As you make your sales pitch, you need to have a prototype on hand. In some industries, this is referred to as, ‘proof of concept’. Neglecting to present one, dents the credibility of your endeavor.
Props, on the other hand, are meant to help you in demonstrative parts of your speech. They provide a practical understanding of what you are explaining in theory. For instance, if you are presenting a software pitch, your message gets across better when people see what it can do in real-time.
The tip here is to keep in mind that you require something to back up what you are preaching.
Pamphlets are the written version of your verbal presentation. They should be informative and straight to the point. It is advisable to use brief explanations and graphics to make your argument. Good design is a plus; if it looks drab and boring, people are unlikely to be interested in reading.
However, pamphlets work better as a post-presentation resource. The best time to hand them to your audience would be after the oral presentation. Giving them before is prone to cause distraction with people possibly scheming through them as you speak.
No one is able to do business with you if they are not able to reach you. Business cards bearing your contact information are an indispensable asset. However, understand that they are an extension of your business image. For this reason, have them designed to suit the kind of brand you want your clientele or investors to associate you with.
For every successful sales pitch you make, you will gain more than just the buyer in front of you. Recommendations are a form of free advertising, they expand your opportunities exponentially.
Handle your presentation as though you are pitching to the world, your audience will be your ambassadors.
Human beings naturally have needs, a good sales pitch simply leads them to realize they need what you are offering. Go on and give a try.