Moving Away from the Typical Sales Pitch
We’ve all sat through the stereotypical long, boring pitch of a sales rep who goes through every aspect of everything their company offers, including all of the information that is largely irrelevant to our specific business. Many of us have probably been on the other side – giving these pitches to prospects.
It’s an easy trap to fall into as a sales person. The fear of missing some important aspect of our offerings and the desire to be thorough can lead to overly long-winded presentations. What if we missed some key feature that would have made the sale? We also have a different perspective than our prospects. We love our own product and we want to talk about it and share the love! But our prospects don’t feel that way. Once you start to cover aspects of your offerings that don’t apply to them, they completely check out for the rest of the presentation and all of our well thought out words are for naught.
So how do you avoid the mistake of missing something critical while avoiding alienating your prospect in the process? Let’s talk about a few simple guidelines that apply whether you’re emailing, calling, or giving a full presentation.
Make your communications honest and straightforward.
Never start with a pitch. Your prospects are tired of being pitched products and services that aren’t even relevant for them. Start your initial communications with a straightforward statement of who you are and what you do. If that’s not relevant for the person on the receiving end, they are given the opportunity to either ignore your communication or let you know that it’s not for them.
Follow that up with an invitation for a conversation to allow you to learn more about their business. Making sure you understand their needs and processes will allow you to tailor the next part of your explanation to their specific interests, avoiding the lengthy and irrelevant “pitch”.
Know your own offerings
Think of your conversations with prospects like a job interview. It’s an opportunity not only for them to learn about your product, but also for you to learn about their business and to see if there is actually a fit. Make sure that you know exactly how your product benefits specific types of businesses and be honest! Don’t be afraid to walk away from a prospect that isn’t a good fit for your product. If you won’t end up with a happy customer, there’s no reason to proceed.
Don’t go into a sales conversation with the goal of selling your product to the prospect no matter what. Go into it with the mindset of finding whether there will be a mutual benefit for both parties. Keep asking questions and giving honest answers. Not only will the prospect appreciate your straightforward attitude, but you can take the pressure off yourself and you will appear more confident and trust-worthy. It’s a win-win!
Keep it short and sweet
This simple rule doesn’t require much explanation. Give the basic overview of what you offer, ask questions, tell the prospect what they need to know, and end it there. We’re all busy and we all appreciate people who respect that fact. Prospects will also appreciate your professional approach to the fact that they will make their own decision and they don’t need you to stick around to convince them.
End with a positive
Wrap up your communication with a quick (one sentence) overview of the biggest benefit you can offer your prospect. We all know the adage of the importance of first impressions, but the impression that you leave them with is also key. What do you want to stick in the prospect’s mind? What steps do you want them to take next? Ending on a high note will make the prospect more likely to engage further and take those necessary next steps.
Don’t Give Up! Keep in touch.
After making initial contact with the prospect, one of the biggest and most common mistake that sales reps make is to drop the ball on follow ups. Of course you don’t want to appear too eager or harass your prospects, but most people will expect the sales rep to take the initiative in keeping the communication lines open.
Timely and professional follow-up communications go a long way in staying top of mind for your prospect and in motivating them to engage further and move to the next step in your sales process. Even if it turns out that the prospect is not immediately ready to buy, be available and easily reachable and make sure you touch base periodically to stay engaged.