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How to do a great sales pitch

In order to "sell" your product or service, you need to convince people to invest in your business idea or employ you for a project. All those group presentations in front of class prepared you for making pitches to prospective investors and clients.
By Entrepreneur Staff |

In order to "sell" your product or service, you need to convince people to invest in your business idea or employ you for a project. All those group presentations in front of class prepared you for making pitches to prospective investors and clients. But there's more at stake this time around than just a passing grade.

Geenette Garcia, CEO of Brandcom Support Network, Inc., gives three qualities of a good sales pitch:

  • Well-researched. You should know why the target client needs your products or services and why you can give them better products or services than anyone else can.
  • Flexible. While you go into a meeting with the client with a specific agenda in mind--to sell a specific product or service at a specific price and term--there should also be room for on-the-spot adjustment, especially if the client raises concerns or immediately goes into negotiations with you.
  • Should try to close the deal if possible.  Don't leave your client hanging.  If he?s not ready to make a decision right there and then, make sure he has your contact details so he can call you. But also offer to call him back.
Mike Maglipon, President of MAGCON Graphic Design, adds that a sales pitch should be:
  • Interesting. A boring pitch will not bode well for you. Even the most boring topics can be given life--it's just a matter of creativity and research.
  • Concise but comprehensive. Never has there been success in long presentations. Keep in mind that everybody's time is precious. Start with an exciting overview, follow with a concrete main body, then end with a convincing final statement.
  • Visually appealing. Aesthetics play a big role in retention. The law of extremes do apply. You have the choice of being extremely appealing or preposterously hideous. Both would certainly help you be remembered.

Emily Ford, in an article entitled "How to pitch a business idea " published in www.business.timesonline.co.uk , also gives this tip, among others:

Present yourself. When you get up in front of your prospective investors, you are presenting not only your product or service, but also yourself as part of the company. According to Lucius Cary, managing director of Oxford Technology Management, "An investor isn?t going to invest in someone they don't like or can't work with."

THE PITCH
Sweaty palms and rapid pulse usually accompany any presentation. But as long as you are well-prepared, then you should be able to deliver the pitch satisfactorily. For your guidance, Garcia shares her pitch outline.

1. Thank the client for accommodating you.
2. Introduce yourself (and any colleagues), then give a brief background of your company and products and services.
3. Give a backgrounder. State the objectives of the meeting, including why they should choose you and your products or services.
4. The Sales Pitch: FABs (features, advantages, benefits).
5. Cost - Benefit Analysis (if available).
6. Q&A. Here, address any concerns or inquiries.
7. Close the deal, if possible. If not, set next steps.
8. End by thanking the group.

DO'S AND DON'TS
Garcia and Maglipon, experienced in presenting pitches to various prospective investors, advise that you keep the following in mind:

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  1. Be punctual. Everybody appreciates being on time. It also gives you an upper hand or advantage in the event that your forum arrives late, he/she feels obliged to listen because he/she has made you wait a long time.
  2. Especially if you're making a cold call (that is, meeting the client for the first time), try to establish rapport to ensure that the client remembers you.  Compliment him/her on his/her outfit, for example.  
  3. Don't be stuck on your spiel. Genuinely listen to what the client is saying, and validate their important comments.
  4. Do not over-promise. If you can't give something that your client is asking for, then tell him/her that you will see what you can do, but will have to get back to him/her about it. 
  5. If the client has concerns, just take note.  Do not contradict or tell him straight out that he is wrong, unless he's talking about your product/service and you can tell him IN FACT that he is wrong.

POST-PITCH STEPS
So you're at the conclusion of the meeting without a definite deal in sight. Don't be discouraged. Garcia reassures that there are a few steps you can take to ensure that you still have a fighting chance.

  • If you weren't able to close the deal during that meeting, summarize next steps and confirm whether you captured key notes correctly. It tells the client that you were listening and took note of their comments, which will make them feel important.
  • Remember to leave your contact details so that they know how to reach you.

Maglipon says: "GO IN the meeting 100 percent prepared. GO OUT of the meeting 100 percent confident of your delivery."



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