October 21, 2011

How to Keep Your Sales Pitch from Falling Flat

By Selling Power Editors

When was the last time you watched someone’s eyes glaze over the moment you started talking about your product and what it does?

The old sales pitch, or elevator pitch, definitely has its place–but it can also go very, very wrong. Why do so many sales pitches fall flat? In many cases, sales professionals have never been coached or taught to avoid these three particular traps:

Too much jargon. Corporate-speak and insider industry terms are generally more confusing than helpful to someone who’s asked you a straightforward question. Jargon limits your reach to folks who already understand those phrases and terms. What about the people who could use your solution or service but don’t know it yet?

Too much information. In the interest of leaving nothing out, salespeople often insist on saying everything. Don’t be afraid to edit. You’ll be better off if you say less, not more.

Too little direction. Many sales professionals treat the pitch like a dead end instead of the start of a conversation. A good sales pitch should spark engagement and further interaction.

An effective sales pitch follows these four rules, respectively:

  1. The introduction: Your opener should set the right emotional tone and allow you to seamlessly segue into more detailed information.
  2. The content: These are the specifics–who you are, what your company is, and what your company does for customers. Each of these elements should be presented in a way that invites curiosity.
  3. The question: An open-ended question serves as a conversation starter. The question should be designed to elicit a response that allows the sales rep to assess the potential for an opportunity. This could be the beginning of a sales cycle.
  • The call-to-action: Whenever possible (and appropriate), use this time to suggest follow-up action. If the prospect can’t meet in person, suggest a video conference call to <!– –>facilitate face-to-face interaction<!– –>. Any of these steps could help move the relationship to the next level.
  • Sales leaders have a responsibility to make sure that the result of a sales pitch is dialogue, not a monologue. If you can’t communicate who you are and what you do clearly, simply, and quickly, your value isn’t yet as high as it could be.

    Tips are taken in part from a conversation with Barry Rhein.