If you’re pitching in a baseball or softball game, you want to get the batter out, whether swinging or just watching as those perfect pitches drop right into the strike zone. With sales pitches, it’s a little different—you want to deliver the perfect pitch, but you want the batter to swing and connect, because ultimately, you want to be on the same team. What makes up a perfect sales pitch? How can you be confident it will drop right into your prospect’s strike zone, enticing him or her to swing? Here are some things to consider.
Essential Elements of a Winning Sales Pitch
The perfect sales pitch isn’t pitched “at” someone, but is delivered “to” that someone, with due consideration to facilitating a dialog using the context in which you’re working. In other words, it’s more of a collaborative consultation rather than a scripted sales pitch that you’ve memorized—and the numbers show that sales consultation will do better than scripts in the next several years. A great pitch is a process of engagement, during which you discover whether there is a good fit between the other person’s problem and your solution.
A good sales pitch inspires confidence that what you sell best meets the other person’s needs, given their situation and parameters within which they’re working. In contrast, a bad sales pitch is a canned, one-size-fits-all spiel in which the potential customer barely figures into the conversation. Good pitches are about the person with whom you’re talking, while bad sales pitches are mostly about you, your products, and how fortunate people are to have them.
Sales Pitch Examples: A Winner
Winning sales pitches share some common factors, in that they focus on the needs and concerns of the potential customer. Though they may contain “I” statements, they’re actually about the customer. For example:
- “I help software companies reduce their time to profitability.”
- “I help medical practices drive revenue through efficient billing.”
- “I show small businesses how to automate workflows for higher productivity.”
Notice that although each of these statements begins with “I …”, they’re designed to stimulate further conversation, encouraging the potential customer to ask questions like, “How do you do that?”
Sales Pitch Examples: A Loser
“And this chart shows what percentage of my vocabulary is made up of arcane jargon.”
Terrible sales pitches give the impression you think your potential customer should feel lucky to share that elevator with you, considering how impressive you are. Many of these have a goal (often completely unacknowledged by the seller) of beating the prospect over the head with industry jargon and name-dropping. For example:
“Our core competency is helping struggling outfits like yours get buy-in from bigger clients. We really moved the needle for XYZ corporation, which landed a big contract with Microsoft. Bill Gates called them personally.”
To the potential customer, it mostly feels as if the salesperson is doing everything he or she can to impress. The problem is, there is a vanishingly fine line between impressing someone and completely putting them off. If you pepper the “elevator speech” with jargon and boasting, a prospect may be reluctant to participate.
Supporting Your B2B Pitches
B2B businesses have to find ways to set themselves apart from competitors at every step the customer interacts with them. Strive to provide the kind of service a potential customer gets from B2C brands that have heavy focus on customer service. You want customers to see you as the Nordstrom of VoIP systems (or document management, or invoicing) by customers and potential customers.
How you mentally approach your pitches (i.e., pitching “to” instead of “at”) is part of it, but it’s also how you put it in practice. Meeting buyers’ needs requires not only the right attitude, but the right way to back the attitude up with value.
If you’re interested in perfecting your pitch, a great place to start is by evaluating your sales content. The right sales content helps connects the needs of your buyers to the capabilities that you offer, and the wrong sales content leaves them to connect the dots themselves (or more likely, go to someone else). Want more insights into how your organization’s sales content is being used? Download our sales content audit worksheet and learn which content is earning its keep.