The term sales pitch is sort of misleading because it assumes the action is entirely dependent on the salesperson. Like the salesperson has a stock of pitches, the fastball, the curveball, the grounder and he or she chooses the one that best suits the circumstances and throws.
With baseball, where the pitcher’s intention is to strike out, that might work, but with sales where you’re looking for the hits, each pitch is going to have to be customized for the person you’re talking to. A strong pitch isn’t something thrown at a customer, it’s part of a conversation, a relationship you’re building where two people talk to each other, discuss benefits and questions and how the product being discussed could be a solution.
Of course to get into that conversation you’re going to have to do your homework. Knowing everything about your product is only the beginning. Equally important is knowing how it can benefit different people with different lifestyles and sensibilities. You will discuss the benefits differently when you’re talking to a busy professional than you will if you’re talking to a stay at home parent. You need to know exactly how to appeal to the person you’re talking to, exactly how this product is going to impact them. Discuss specific features about the product that will address their situation.
Targeted, specific questions
By asking lots of specific questions to determine the life circumstances and sensibilities of the person you’re speaking to, you’ll be able to tailor the rest of your pitch accordingly. With the right questions you’ll be able to figure out if the person is a good fit for the product and what you can say to make it more attractive to them. Remember, questions are no good if you’re not paying close attention to the answers, so listen carefully to what the person is saying and respond accordingly. A strong sales pitch is a conversation between two people about the product at hand, not a one-way list of benefits and features.
In a perfect world, a dialogue about a product is a smooth direct line from introduction to interest to sale. In the real world there will be objections. If you’re a strong salesperson who’s done your homework those objections can work to your advantage as you overturn them and make the product even more appealing in the process. That means you need to have figured out every objection in advance and have the response appropriate to the person you’re speaking with ready.
Sales professionals at IBM realized that most objections fall into four categories, Budget, Authority, Needs, Time or BANT
Budget: Can they afford your product? Will this product save them time or money in the long run or improve their life in some way that makes the expenditure worthwhile?
Authority: Can this person make the buying decision? Do they need to speak with anyone else first?
Need: Will this product improve their life in some way?
Time: If they’re in a hurry to get somewhere else they won’t be able to pay attention to you or your product. Do they have the time to listen to what you have to say?
The final push
Your conversation has come to an end. You’ve answered all the questions and have an interested, invested person in front of you. Encourage them into action while they’re still excited and motivated. If you are the point of sale, great. If they need to follow through at the cash register, explain what they need to do. If they need to follow through with someone else and get back to you then set a time for that.
By making yourself an expert salespitcher you can turn your strike-outs into homeruns!
Are you a visual learner? Here’s a detailed explanation of How To Deliver a Good Sales Pitch from wikiHow – with pictures!