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A sales pitch is hard to nail. All the time and preparation in the world boils down to what seems like a make or break moment. Most business people, even most salespeople, believe that there is only a select minority of very lucky folk who know the formula for the perfect sales pitch.

We believe that there is, in fact, no such thing as the perfect sales pitch. What may be perfect for one, may be totally wrong for another. You may be pitching the same product or service several times to several prospective buyers, however each time you deliver the pitch should be different from every previous pitch. So, we have put together our top ten tips that you can apply across your sales process that will guarantee your business success.

Rethink your pitch

Think about what image the word ‘pitch’ conjures for a second. Chances are you imagined a salesperson talking to a potential buyer in a very one-sided presentation. Am I right?

The first thing you need to do before you even begin to plan a sales pitch, is get out of this ‘monologue mindset’. Successful pitches are a dialogue - a two-way conversation between salesperson and prospective buyer. Think less pitch, more conversation, and you’ll head in the right direction.

Know your customer

Research, research, research. Businessmen and women are busy people, and they don’t have time to listen to pitches from salespeople with a limited understanding of their business. Knowing your prospect’s business inside and out - their goals, their values, their pain points- will show them two things.

Firstly, that you have taken the time to understand their problems and therefore can better deliver targeted solutions. Secondly, that you are not trying to shoehorn your prospective buyer into a one-size-fits all approach.

Find the decision-maker

Business is fast paced, and consequently salespeople are rewarded for closing leads quickly. There is therefore no point pitching to anyone other than the key decision-maker or budget-holder in a business. While middle and lower level managers may be interested in, or may even be the ultimate users of your product or service, it is the CEO or CFO, who will ultimately sign on the dotted line. Don’t waste your time pitching to the wrong people. Use your network, or continue your research, to ensure that you have the right ears listening.

Set yourself objectives

This will determine the information you need to collect both prior to, and during your pitch, and will consequently enable you to make the most of your time with your potential buyer. The objectives can and will vary between customers - it could be for the prospect to agree to a meeting, or to close a sale.

Build the relationship

Make sure that you demonstrate your understanding of the buyer’s position and viewpoint early on in your pitch. Do this by asking questions during your pitch. Enquire about the problems they face, the results they want to see, and then work together to see how your products or service fits.

Be solutions focussed

A pitch is not a verbal showreel of the features and characteristics of your product or service. You want to sell your product or service as the ultimate solution to a customer’s specific problems. Focus on value and benefits, not descriptions.

Reinforce your credentials

Don’t be scared of dropping in the names of your current backers and explaining the results you have delivered. This makes your product or service more relatable in a real business environment. Name your big distributors and investors to show that you’re engaging with credible businesses.

Know your company

While you should avoid talking about yourself, your product or your business too much, be prepared for the customer to ask. As you will have built a strong rapport with your prospect throughout your pitch, they may want to know more about the company with which they are going into business. They may ask about your company’s growth, expansion, goals and upcoming opportunities. Be selective, don’t brag, but equally sell your success as people want to work with other successful people and businesses.

Anticipate the Q&A

Think ahead and try to predict questions that prospective customers may have. You may need to go back and rework your plan to fit something in that you have missed. Additionally, make sure you have answers for obvious challenges such as “it’s too expensive”, “we have a long-standing relationship with a competitor”, “we have heard you did not deliver for another business”. Preparing yourself for such objections will enable you to tackle them well under pressure.

The call to action applies to you!

Make sure there is a clear action for the prospect at the end of the pitch. As the salesperson, you must follow up any phone calls, further meetings, demonstrations, free trials or contract signings. Be proactive, decisive and timely in any further correspondence.

Personalising your approach and truly listening to your audience will keep the conversation, and consequently business, flowing long after you have left the meeting room.