How to win more sales pitches

Sales PitchingThe most pivotal point in a sale is the part where you try to persuade somebody to buy your offering – this is called the pitch.

You can spend months, or even years, building a relationship to the point where the buyer trusts you, likes you and feels your offering might work for them and then blow the whole deal on a weak pitch.

Or you can get it right and tap into a new revenue stream. The good news is you can take steps to significantly increase your chances of winning the deal!

It amazes me how many salespeople don’t prepare properly for a pitch even though being unsuccessful means no money! In fact, some salespeople don’t prepare at all; they just show up on the day and kind of wing it. Madness!

Can you imagine an athlete turning up for the big race without training or a concert pianist rocking up to the big show without bothering to practice? I think not and yet, turning up for the big pitch without due preparation is exactly the same.

The question is how should you prepare?

Well, there’s a wide range of things you can do but I’m going to concentrate on just one: knowing your buyer.

The key to a sale is to understand more than just your buyer’s needs, so let’s focus on that. I’m going to show you 3 things you can learn about your buyer which will significantly improve your chances of success in a sales pitch.

1 Focus on the outcome the buyer wants

People who buy an electric drill don’t really want a drill they actually want a hole in the wall. When it comes to a pitch this is easy to miss, especially if we really like drills (or whatever it is you sell).

Your buyer actually wants an outcome, so what is the outcome your offering gives? When pitching, if you focus too much on the drill and not enough on the hole, you’ll lose their interest and probably the sale.

Sell the hole, not the drill!

2 Tie features to tangible benefits

I see this all the time. Salespeople list out the features of their offering but fail to pin these features to a tangible benefit such as increased revenue, cost reduction, risk reduction, quality improvement, making things happen faster etc.

They often list the features of their offering and then leave it to the buyer to work out the benefits. Rookie error, right there!

Pin each feature to a tangible benefit and watch your buyers face when you mention each one. Their body language and interest levels will change when you mention a tangible benefit that’s important to them.

3 Use your buyer’s hidden drivers

These are sometimes called Personal Drivers. They are as important as the tangible benefits but, are often ignored completely.

Hidden drivers benefit the buyer personally. Such things as giving them an easier life, improving their skills or experience, making them look good to their boss/peers/team etc. Whilst they will never admit to having hidden drivers they almost certainly will have them.

If you can discover what they are and weave them into your pitch they can be massively influential on the buyer’s final decision.

A buyer who is short of time and believes they’ll have to find even more time to implement and run your offering is probably not going to buy it. Demonstrate to the same buyer that your offering is easy to implement and will save time and the reverse is true.

Do your best to pick up on the buyer’s hidden drivers and then meet each one during the pitch – this is an unusually powerful way to increase your chances of a sale. Kind of like cheating really.

My final word

There’s no doubt the pitch is the most crucial part of a sale – you win; you gain; you lose; you get nothing.

Knowing your buyer’s desired outcome, the tangible benefits they value and meeting their hidden drivers give you an insanely unfair advantage when pitching and it’s there for the taking.

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Posted in Blog, Sales Effectiveness, Sales New Business, Sales Presentation Skills
2 comments on “How to win more sales pitches
  1. Andrew Stilton says:

    This point is very well made.

    I remember flying out to Hong Kong to pitch for a superb piece of work, only to find that a member of out team blew it in the first five minutes by being under-prepared.

    Very disappointing for me, as I had previous experience which (in my not so humble opinion) made me ideally qualified for the assignment – but your team is only as good as your weakest link.

    • Melanie Painter says:

      Mike here – thank you Andrew. I’ve seen a few bad pitches but that’s a humdinger. Bang on about the weakest link in the team too.

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