It's impossible to overestimate the importance of the sales pitch — it’s what separates an average salesman from a good salesman.
A sales pitch is more art than science.
You're dealing with people here, and getting a potential customer or client fired up about your product or service is about more than just showing them some numbers.
Overview: What is a sales pitch?
A sales pitch or sales presentation is simply a technique that aims to educate a potential buyer about a product or service, and then attempts to convince that individual that the product will solve a need that the buyer has.
A good sales presentation quickly identifies the problem, succinctly lays out a solution, and convinces that buyer that now is the time to act. Sales pitches may be formal or informal, depending on the type of client or customer and the setting.
How to create your own sales pitch
A product pitch that is all in your head is not good enough, particularly when you’re talking about B2B sales. You need to put it down on paper and create a presentation that can communicate the most important aspects of your pitch clearly and succinctly. Here are the most important elements of your pitch and some sales pitch examples.
Step 1: Research the client
You can't just wing it when you're pitching. You need authority in order to close your sale during the sales process, and a thin presentation will give you the opposite of that, potentially even driving away a buyer who initially was interested.
A big part of research is not just knowing your product, but your buyer. In fact, it's probably more important, because you can't sell anyone anything unless they feel like you understand their needs. You want to make the buyer think, “This company cares about helping us and is willing to do the legwork.”
What researching the client looks like:
- Find their objectives. Are they trying to grow revenue? Increase efficiency? Find better employees?
- Find their problem. Are costs eating into their bottom line? Are customers returning their products too much?
- Find what questions they are likely to ask. Will they want to know how your service will shorten their product's time to market? Will they want an exact figure on how much more bandwidth your product provides them?
Step 2: Lay out the problem
Your customers will come into sales pitches thinking about their company’s problem, and they are going to walk out thinking about the problem. So you need to address those problems right out of the gate.
First, demonstrate to the client that you understand the problem. State it briefly and directly, and describe what this problem is doing to their business. Don’t be afraid to ask them if you have it right, and if they would like to add anything to your analysis.
Once you’ve demonstrated that you get where they’re coming from and you understand what this problem is doing to their business, you can move on to how you’re going to solve it.
What laying out the problem looks like:
- Make the buyer think, “They understand our problem.”
- Spell it out in terms of what specific impact it is having on the client’s company.
Step 3: Describe your value proposition
Whether you call it a solution or a value proposition, the goal should be the same: to quickly identify exactly how your company is going to solve your customer’s problem.
You should be able to succinctly describe the benefits your product or service will give the client immediately upon making a purchasing decision. Perhaps your client is struggling in the sales department, and you’re going to provide a custom report and training that can increase their sales close rate and boost their effectiveness on the phones.
Or maybe a client says they need to increase network speed to increase the company’s efficiency, and your equipment can boost their speed by 20 percent as soon as it’s installed.
What describing your value proposition looks like:
- Make the buyer think, “They’ll be able to help us right away.”
- Outline specific benefits your client will enjoy right away after choosing you.
Step 4: Introduce urgency
An asteroid that will wipe out all life on earth is a heck of a problem, and a laser that would destroy it is a fantastic solution, but if experts think such a situation is a few million years away, no one will buy that product.
One thing you don’t want a potential customer to do is walk out of the room saying, “great presentation, we’ll think about it.”
Those words suggest that you really haven’t convinced the client that they need to act now, so you need to emphasize that before you wrap up your presentation. For example, you might drive the point home by creating a slide that lays out exactly how much money the company is losing each month that they don’t buy your product.
What introducing urgency looks like:
- Make the buyer think, “I need to pull the trigger right away.”
- Describe the immediate impacts of what will happen to your client’s company if they don’t buy, like projected lost revenue in the next month.
Step 5: Provide evidence
Your clients know that talk is cheap, and they’ll be expecting you to prove your product is service is worth the investment. Testimonials from happy customers or independent data on your product’s performance will both offer convincing proof.
Another option is to go beyond the standard testimonial and find a client who really loves your product to interview.
Then create a case study that describes in detail the problem your client faced, how you solved it, and what benefits they enjoyed. This is a very powerful element to include in your presentation.
What providing evidence looks like:
- Make the buyer think, “I am confident that this company will not let me down.”
- Ask yourself what would be the most powerful piece of evidence you could produce for your client. It could be revenue growth for a previous customer, or it could be performance data for your product. Whatever it is, find a way to include it.
Step 6: Include a call to action
In sales, you need to lead potential clients by the hand through every step of the process. Don't assume they will take the initiative to buy from you even if you've convinced them up to this point. Relax at this point and your sales pipeline will suffer.
You need to provide a clear next step, depending on what you want your customer to do. It could mean simply asking for the sale there, or it could mean signing them up for a trial subscription. Whatever it is, finish your pitch with it and then wait for them to answer.
What a call to action looks like:
- Make the buyer think, “I need to take action X.”
- Use a statement, not a question that the client can say no to. For example, say something like, “If everything looks good to you, let me draw up the paperwork and we can move forward.”
Types of sales pitches you can try, with examples
Now that you know how to create a sales pitch, it’s time to learn how to deliver it. Let’s try out a few types of pitches that you can adapt to any situation.
1. The one-word pitch
The one-word pitch is simple: it's that one, powerful word that describes your company in a nutshell. This is a word you want to use at the start of your presentation to immediately hook your client into a simple idea. After that, you’ll build your presentation around this one-word concept and flesh it out.
Examples of the one-word pitch:
- Obsession: Your customer wants a solution they will obsess over and not simply endure.
- Authentic: Your clients are tired of lower-quality, imitation options.
- Affordable: You’re the lower-cost option compared to competitors.
2. The elevator pitch
The elevator pitch is that quick description of what value your company offers that is so short, you could deliver it in a few seconds while taking the elevator with a client.
Examples of the elevator pitch:
- "[Your product] cuts the cloud computing costs of clients in half without sacrificing performance."
- "[Your service] will save up to 20 percent of your employees' time, freeing them up to work on more valuable tasks for your company."
3. The question pitch
The question pitch is where you reframe your elevator pitch so that it reads like a question, challenging the client to actually think about what it is you offer.
Examples of the question pitch:
- Would it be helpful for your company to cut client cloud computing costs in half without sacrificing performance?
- Would saving 20 percent of employees’ time, freeing them up to do more valuable tasks, be beneficial to your company?
4. The email pitch
A good initial email or follow-up email pitch has a compelling subject line and a succinct message. The body of the email should, in a sentence or two, describe the problem, the value proposition, and the urgency. It should always conclude with a compelling call to action.
Examples of an email pitch:
- Personalize the subject line by noting something specific about the company, like a mention in the news.
- Put yourself in their shoes: What subject line would cause you to take notice if you worked at your client's company?
A great pitch is vital to your success
As you can see from the examples we provided, a great sales pitch is all about connecting with the problem that is on the client's mind at that moment, and then quickly and succintly answering how you're going to solve that problem.
In order to be a good salesman through the entire sales process, you need to do more than be good at the fundamentals of sales forecasting or have great CRM software: most importantly, you need to be constantly learning and growing in your B2B sales skills.
That’s why it is imperative that you practice these pitches in front of a mirror or with a colleague who can act as a stand-in. Put in the time and effort into mastering a range of pitches, and you’ll find that your sales success rate will grow exponentially.
The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends HubSpot and Salesforce.com. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.