Regardless of the industry that you’re involved in, some aspect of sales almost certainly works into the equation. Even if you are not involved in direct sales, there’s still a good chance that you have to sell potential clients, investors and colleagues on ideas, new directions or specific products and services. In that sense, sales is really just the process of pitching someone else an idea that you’re particularly partial to.
Unfortunately, the concept of a ‘sales pitch’ is a bit toxic to many people. Consumers dread being on the receiving end of one; and inexperienced salespersons dread delivering them. But this isn’t the way that it has to be. In fact, the right sales pitch—expertly crafted and properly delivered—can be an enjoyable experience for everyone. Obviously, the salesperson is going to be happy when they successfully close a sale. But even the consumer is likely to be pleased once they’ve purchased a product that can help solve a problem—even if they weren’t previously aware that they had a problem to solve.
At Message Direct, we offer an outbound marketing service, and we consider ourselves experts when it comes to crafting and delivering an on-point sales pitch. With that in mind, we’re going to provide a few tips on how to tweak your sales pitch and turn it into a beneficial conversation between buyer and seller.
Make a point of understanding the other person.
The problem with an unmoving—or even irritating—sales pitch is that it’s often a one-sided affair. We’ve all been on the receiving end of a painfully rushed sales call in which the caller clearly feels that he has to get through x-amount of words before you start trying to hang up on him.
What we’ve described above is not a conversation. It’s a monologue—and no one wants to sit through that. Instead, try to establish empathy with your listener by asking questions and taking a genuine interest in the answers they supply. Not only will this build trust; it will also guide you in modifying this particular pitch to suit this particular customer.
Once you have an idea of what motivates a person, you’ll be in a much better position to offer them meaningful solutions made possible through your product or service.
Be aware of how you sound.
The content of your pitch is important, and as mentioned above it should reflect a genuine attempt to connect with and understand the potential customer’s needs and circumstances. But there’s more to it than that. What you say during the pitch is important—but so is how you say it.
Have you ever sat within earshot of a conversation that was in a language you didn’t understand? There was probably a person in that group who was more enjoyable to listen to than the others—even though you didn’t understand what they are saying. This is because tone of voice and even non-verbal cues such as body language have a tremendous impact on the way spoken words are received.
We’ve touched on this in a previous post when we talked about how some voices naturally sound more trustworthy than others. However, that’s only one facet of the situation. The bottom line is that every sales pitch needs to be fine-tuned and rehearsed. Paradoxically, you’ll need to rehearse it enough times that you can actually deliver it naturally and off-the-cuff. In other words, the more that you practice a sales pitch, the less it’s going to sound like you’ve delivered it countless times before.
Shy away from features; favour benefits instead.
To be fair, this is an entry-level sales tip, and most of us are at least generally aware that we should be selling benefits (i.e. how the product can solve problems) instead of features (i.e. measurements, dimensions, specs and other figures about the product). Even so, many sales pitches suffer from feature bias.
It’s not difficult to understand why. As a salesperson, we become very familiar with the products that we offer; and we know precisely which features set them apart from the competition. But potential customers are less concerned with, for example, the type of processor their smart phone has (a feature) than they are with how fast it can switch between apps (a solid benefit).
Pay attention to your everyday conversations, and note that people much more likely to highlight benefits over features in life. For example, instead of telling your colleague the actual speed at which you drove to work today, you’re much more likely to report how delightfully quick your morning commute was. In that sense, highlighting benefits instead of features makes a sales pitch feel more like a natural conversation.
Make this conversation all about the other person.
A typical conversation should be a balanced affair. But the dynamic is different when you’re trying to make a sale. In this case, the best thing that you can do is keep the conversation focused on the target customer. Ideally, you want to try and steer this dialogue towards potential problems the person has—problems that the product you’re selling can deal with.
Some sales gurus say that upwards of 90 per cent of the pitch should be focused on the target customer. In this case, it’s okay to make the conversation one-side, so long as it favours them and not you or your product.
The truth is, all of us enjoy talking about ourselves. Spending a disproportionate amount of the conversation speaking with the other person about themselves will actually serve to grease the wheels of the dialogue. It will make them feel more comfortable—and that’s always a good sign in the context of a sales call.
Conclusion: Embrace the Art of Conversation
Some people are just gifted conversationalists. But everyone can improve their own skills with a bit of practice and repetition. And don’t forget, Message Direct employs more than a few expert sales conversationalists. If you need a hand, we’d be happy to assist with your outbound marketing needs.