Scaling Up Your Sales and Marketing II: Perfect Your Sales Pitch

In part I of our Scaling Up Your Sales and Marketing Series, we learned about some of the traits that customers share. In this article, learn how to build a sales pitch that takes these things into account for a surer sale. 

By thinking about the customer, and not just the product, you can build a much stronger pitch. Even in niche industries, you’ll have competitors you want to stand out from. However good what you’re trying to sell may be, you want to get it across to the customer in a way that will make them genuinely interested. 

The following are 7 tips and techniques you can work into your sales pitch to tap into how your customer thinks.

You will want to make sure your sales and marketing strategies take some of these ideas on board to gain the customers you need to support your growth. If it’s not your area of expertise, you may benefit from additional marketing support at this crucial moment.

1. Is the customer really always right?

Possibly the most misused quote in all of business, it’s become the bane of many who work on the shop floor. It’s worth looking at what it actually means though.

The saying doesn’t mean bend over backwards to do everything a customer demands. In fact, it’s best that you don’t, so rethink if this is your current strategy.

This saying instead refers to the consumer in general.

People will only buy what they want to buy and skip over what doesn’t interest them. If the retailer and the customer disagree on how desirable a sale is, it’s the customer that’s right.

What this means is that you have to make people want what you sell. The core of any good sales pitch is driving interest and building desire quickly. The rest is there to help you achieve this.

2. Selling with emotion

People make decisions emotionally more than they do logically. This means you need to use those emotions to make the sale. If you elicit nothing from them, they won’t care about what you have to say.

Firstly, understand what it is your product or services does emotionally. What are the pain points you can use and how do you want the product or services to make them feel?

If you’re selling the solution to a problem, you want to start by bringing the emotions of that problem to the fore. Then, when they’re feeling the associated worry, you can present your solution to them and create a sense of relief. This way they associate that positive response with what you are selling and will be more willing to buy it.

3. Benefits-led sales pitches

If you have a product you’re proud of, it can be tempting to list off all the features you think make it great. But, unless they know your industry well, the features won’t interest them much. Instead, lead your sales pitch with the benefits that come from those features.

Why was it that they were part of the design in the first place? What problems do they solve? What makes your one special that your competitor doesn’t have? 

If you can answer these questions, then you have the building blocks to construct your pitch from. You can tell them a feature or two, then follow it up with a benefit. This way you tap into the way people think.

For example, your new phone has a larger capacity than your competitors. You can say the capacity of your memory, but that’s just a number. Back it up with how many more pictures or apps it could fit and it becomes tangible and interesting. 

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4. ‘You’ language

Have you ever noticed how much advertising is in 2nd person? Like with benefits led pitches, this is because people think mostly about themselves. By talking to you it makes it about you.

A common trap is to talk about what your service does or what’s special about your product. You’re saying everything you need to say without really answering the customer’s question of “what about me?” You want to put the customer directly into the scenario you are posing. 

To continue the previous example, your phone is bigger and it can store more. Just like how you want to give a sense of scale with more pictures and so on, you want to make it about the user. Don’t say this phone can store 1000 more photos, say you can store 1000 more photos.

This makes it easier for your customer to connect with your pitch and more likely to feel something that makes them want it.

5. Asking questions

When posed with the question in the last section, did you stop to think about your experiences in advertising? Chances are you did, and that you also thought of an answer for that one too. 

Questions mean automatic engagement. If you pose a question, they’ll think about how they would answer. Sometimes this answer is an instant dismissal, but if you pose the question right you’ll probably pique their interest. 

Asking the right opening question won’t just grab their attention, but allows you to lead with your primary benefit. When pitching a solution to a problem, the question should focus around that problem. 

A common format is “have you ever noticed?” It doesn’t need this exact wording, but gives them a chance to relate to your scenario. 

Instead of simply telling the customer they could store more of their photos, make them think about the problem of not being able to store enough. “Have you ever had to delete apps or photos to make way for new ones?” Even if they haven’t, they’ll be thinking about the possibility, and those that have are now onboard with what your sales pitch is saying.

6. Challenging and leading

One of the most effective, but challenging techniques is to let the customer sell your product to themselves. This can be done at distance, but works best on the sales floor.

When using a standard advert, you can challenge the customer in order

to engage them. Almost everyone has a story about doing something to prove they can. The right statement can tap into this drive and make buying your product the way to prove yourself.

When in the sales room, you can take this much further. By asking the right questions at the right time and offering the right reassuring statements, you can direct someone to build your scenario and solution for you. At the end, it’s hard to justify why you wouldn’t buy something when you yourself just said it would be perfect. 

7. Building trust

You have an obvious vested interest in the customer buying what you’re selling, and they know that. This means you need to convince them to trust that you’re being honest with them.

One of the best ways to do this is to borrow trust. There are two ways to do this: statistics, and peer approval. This is why we have review sites and customer feedback. By building a collection of other people that the customer can see as peers, you show them that there’s support for what you’re saying.

Ask your customers for reviews or case studies.  If they’re satisfied, they’ll be happy to provide you with one that you can use to spread the word. And, encourage them to be honest; a couple of weaker reviews makes the whole look more honest.

There’s a general opinion that numbers can’t lie. And while not entirely true, this is a way to gain trust. Statements like 9 out of 10 or 79% agree look good because they feel like they’re a truth of the population.

To summarise

By working psychology into your sales pitch, you’ll be able to much more quickly grab and hold your customer’s attention. You’ll be able to hook them by getting them involved. And you’re much more likely to succeed. 

Your marketing team should be able to understand and work these ideas into their campaigns and your sales team should understand how to continue to take the messaging forward into their sales pitches. If you feel that your sales and marketing process is not as strong as it could be then consider enlisting the support of a Part-time Commercial Director who can help you create a commercial strategy for scaling up your business effectively.

 In the next article, learn how to make your sales team shine.

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Written by: John Courtney

John is highly ranked in the Top 100 UK Entrepreneurs list by City AM and is winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from techSPARK. He has been a Board Director himself for over 40 years and first started placing Non-Executive Directors over 25 years ago. John founded and ran six of his own businesses including a Management Consultancy for 10 years, a Corporate Finance offering for 10 years and a mid-sized Digital Agency for another 10 years.