sales pitch

Crafting the perfect sales pitch is no easy task. Entire books are devoted to the art, and countless hours are spent studying the craft. But the art of selling and delivering a perfect sales pitch is much more than just persuasion and words you practice before giving a pitch. How? The best salespeople ALWAYS authentically communicate a desire to serve the customer.

Even though today I serve as a social and sales influencer, no matter what, every day I am still a salesperson with “trusted advisor” pinned on my back by both current and future clients. Yes, as a business owner and CEO, I open new accounts, increase account spends, and capture new business. I guide resource teams comprised of internal specialists and channel partners to ensure delivery, training and total client satisfaction. Over the 18 years I spent in corporate sales, 15 of those were spent in the 100%+ club and thus I have learned a lot about how to communicate authentically to drive sales.

My best piece of advice is a sales pitch isn’t just an event. The sales pitch is a series of events. So here are four ways to increase your communication skills and deliver a winning sales pitch.

BE HUMAN

While you may be selling a product or service, customers ultimately buy from another human being. Make a personal connection with a potential customer, and show genuine interest in them and their interests. Don’t be afraid to ask questions honestly, and let them know when you don’t have all the answers. Saying “I don’t know” is a magical word. It shows your human and that you don’t have all the answers. Even better using those words, affords you the opportunity at the end of every meeting to confirm your buyer wants to have an answer to the question. In turn, you now get to “touch your buyer again.” Yes, saying I don’t know affords you the opportunity to follow up or have another conversation further humanizing the new relationship. This will help create an authentic foundational relationship upon which a sale can build.

In fact, I am working on a series of articles (or eBook) titled “Humanizing the Connection Experience.” These articles are all about how to build a relationship faster and better than your competition from the moment you say “hello” after connecting to a prospect via social.

BUILD TRUST

It takes time to develop trust with a customer. There’s no shortcut, but there are things you can do to facilitate trust. Always keep your word. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and admit when something is beyond your control. Consistency and reliability, shows you care about your customer as a person and that you won’t let them down when it really matters.

As Forbes contributor and CEO of Fishbowl David K. Williams said, trust is “a non-negotiable trait.”

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER’S BUSINESS DRIVERS

Knowing as much as I can about a company or a decision maker prior to a meeting means I can not only show value in what they want to talk about but that I can also offer additional solutions to problems they may not have thought of before.

Some salespeople approach every customer as if their only pain point were price or focus on looking for the business problem which matches their products “sweet spot”. The truth is that while price is a factor, businesses are more complicated than that and often place value over price. In addition, while your sweet spot is a nice place to start, don’t underestimate the hidden opportunities allowing you to get your foot in the door. Showing how your service or product meets other specific needs will go a long way to alleviating any potential budget concerns.

BE UNSELFISH

Give your customers and even your coworkers a reason to care about you by truly investing in them. Approach each new opportunity in terms of your customer’s benefit, not your own. In the long run, customers will be able to recognize you are working for them—and you’ll develop lifelong relationships that will pay in spades over time.

I know this for a fact because I have enjoyed calling some of the most powerful CXO’s in corporate America friends. These individuals have been there with me through divorce, marriage, babies and when I almost lost my wife. By giving unselfishly it established opportunities to close contracts that ranged from $30 million – $120 million. By giving unselfishly I could get the former EVP, CIO and CTO of a then fortune 16 company to join me as one of my panelist on streamed to tens of thousands. During that event he said these unexpected words to me:

By giving unselfishly, it helped to save deals even when the Chief Procurement officer of a Fortune 10 client informed our executive leadership team and I that we lost a near $40 million-dollar deal (as the incumbent). After receiving the news, I received a call from our internal executive leader and he said, “Well Mario, no one can say that you and the team didn’t give it your all. You guys did everything right.” My response was “the deal isn’t over.” He said, “What?”… and the rest is history.

What the CPO didn’t know was I had had built a friendship with the only person who could overturn this decision. This friendship was with the Global CIO and I knew: the company was making the wrong decision and I needed to use the “bat phone” to try and stop what was about to happen. That afternoon, I sent a text and 4 hours later I was on the phone for a 20-min conversation with the Global CIO. The result? He would not reverse the decision but he would influence who he empowered to double check the decision.

He specifically instructed us to lay low. He didn’t want the CPO to know I engaged him. His plan, he would stop by the CPO’s office, poke his head in and ask about the deal. Then, when he told him of the decision to leave, he would ask one question: “Did you ask if they would wrap custom SLA’s around “improvement” and if they don’t meet them we could then walk?”

Since he knew the answer to the question, he knew the CPO would reengage with us to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. The result? Window of opportunity was opened back up again and eventually the decision was reversed. 60 days later we signed a near $40 million-dollar contract.

Conclusion

So, remember, every decision you make impacts your professional success. By following these guiding principles, you can communicate your authentic desire to serve customers and create a work environment for yourself that you love and feel good about. When you love what you do, you will always be successful, customers will trust you and your sales pitches turn from pitch to helping a friend in a trusted partnership.

SOURCES

http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-first-principles-2015-1