The Sales Pitch - Are You A Dud In The Boardroom?

The sales pitch. Yep, even in this day and age, a good old face-to-face, nerve-busting sales pitch can still work wonders for your bottom line. While the web is probably the best way for you to generate your initial leads nowadays, it's hard to argue against the idea that getting in front of someone is still the best way to build that relationship and win their business.

Clearly this wouldn't be the case for e-commerce businesses, although for service based businesses it's probably true without exception.

The sales pitch - are you a dud in the boardroom?
Hmmm, am I a dud in the boardroom?
So, let's say you've gained the initial lead through great marketing strategy, you've nurtured them through your amazing lead nurturing process and now they want to meet you and hear your proposals.

Eeek! How retro.

With all the focus on digital marketing, what on Earth do you do when someone wants to meet you in the real world? Well, here are 4 tips that I hope will help you sail through your sales pitch - after all, it would be a shame for you to waste all of your digital marketing expertise by being a dud in the boardroom now, wouldn't it?

Tip One

Well the first one is probably quite obvious, but it's without doubt one of the most important parts of a successful sales presentation. Actually, it's two things - be on time and make sure you don't look like you've just crawled out of your bed. I've written another post on how to make sure you come across well in terms of your presentation, although here are some general tips that you might want to keep in mind about time keeping and professionalism:

  • Try to get to your appointment around 30/45 minutes early - if it's a large company you are pitching to, you'll probably have to go through clearance procedures that can take some time the first time. And if not, there's nothing wrong with being early and having time to compose yourself
  • Make sure you bring business cards with you - the excuse 'Sorry, schoolboy error, but I forgot to bring my business cards with me' won't wash

Tip Two

This tip is massively important to the success of your pitch - make sure that it's tailored to the person/company you are pitching to. Again, this might sound obvious, although if you consider the way in which most pitches are delivered, hopefully you'll see where it goes wrong:

  • The presenter will introduce themselves
  • They'll then talk about their company history and where they came from
  • They'll then talk about their products and associated benefits
  • They'll then open the floor to questions

Can you see what is up here? The problem is that it's way to generic and also that the person hearing the pitch probably doesn't care about most of the information. They only really care about the problem they need a solution for.

A better format would be as follows:

  • The presenter introduces themselves and gives a brief summary of their company
  • They then describe the particular problem their prospect needs solved - you have done your research and asked questions prior to the meeting. haven't you?
  • They would then describe exactly how one/some of their products or services can solve that problem - the pitch is tailored exactly for the recipients
  • They then open the floor to questions

This might not seem like much of a change, although by doing this you make it clear that you understand their problems, that you have a solution and that you can be a trusted and reliable partner for them.

Tip Three

This tip is related to the advice directly above - you should make absolutely sure that you know exactly what is important to your prospect so that you can tailor your pitch exactly for them. For example, considering the following questions might help get you closer to understanding their needs better:

  • Why does my prospect need this product or service?
  • Are they looking to reduce their spend in this area?
  • Is it more of a PR plug, ie budget not so important
  • What do they need from a partner/supplier - is it 90 day payment terms, 24/7 customer service, a dedicated account handler etc, etc,

Sometimes, we all make the mistake of assuming that cost is the major buying motive or decision maker, although the truth is that there are many reasons as to why a person or company may need a particular product or service. 
The key is to find out exactly what the main reason is for the client wanting your particular type of service. Often, if you ask enough questions you'll find out something that helps you really narrow your focus and deliver a pitch that shows you are intent on giving the prospect exactly what they need.

Tip Four

Finally, don't forget a crucial part of your meeting - asking for the business. If you have done everything correctly up until that point, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't ask for an order. You don't necessarily have to phrase it like so, although here are a couple of ways you can phrase your initial statement in order to move toward the close:

  • Based on what you have just heard, what are your thoughts on our products ability to fulfil your needs?
  • At this point, is there anything standing in the way of us being able to do business together? You'll then have a clear route forward, depending on how they answer.

In Sum

So, hopefully this post has given you some idea as to how you can deliver a killer sales pitch and avoid being a dud in the boardroom. Here's a quick recap:

  • Be on time, prepared and well presented
  • Make sure you tailor your presentation specifically to your prospect
  • Make sure you have done your research beforehand so you know exactly what your prospect needs and how you can deliver it
  • Don't forget to ask for the business, or at least what the next steps are in your prospects mind

Thanks for reading!

By Alan MacDougall

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Revenue Builder is a small business marketing strategy and tips blog designed to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.