A good sales pitch is when you demonstrate to the prospect that you have their interest in mind and the conversation is based on what you can do for them (ease their pain, make their life easier, or make them more money) and that will not happen unless you know a bit about your prospect and that will not happen unless you ask the right questions. The questions will change slightly from prospect to prospect, but not very much.
1. Questioning (Qualifying Questions)
A really good place to start is to compile a list of qualifying questions relevant to your services and the needs of the prospect as this will be the first step in generating interest in your service and it will ensure the conversation follows a step by step process toward a conclusion.
If you provide sales training, a good question would be “Do you have people in your business dedicated to sales”? followed by “are you happy with the sales results so far”?
You possibly can see where this conversation is going and as you are gathering the answers, note them on a pad as they will become the basis of your conclusion once you are satisfied the right questions have been asked and answers have been gathered.
Take your time in listing the questions you will ask your prospect and change them around until you are happy they will gather the facts you need to conclude your fact find with your prospect and the questions you ask are possibly the key to you generate interest in your services as the objective is to get the prospect to a point where they feel confident that you are the right fit for their business.
2. Carry out due diligence
In addition to having the questions (fact find prepared well) you should also ensure you know as much about the person you are meeting, the company they represent and the business they are in as well as possible and it will be fruitless for you if you pitch to someone you cannot connect with, because connecting with the decision maker is key.
In today’s world, it is not that difficult for you to gather facts about prospects as most decision makers have a presence on social networks, come up in Google searches or have websites. A good place to start would be LinkedIn as that is where big businesses have their decision makers profiles and it is there you will possibly make connections, your connections could be connected to the decision maker, what golf club are they in, who do they know etc.
What size is the company, what awards have they won, what chamber are they part of, what charities do they support, how many staff do they have and how many departments are in the company?
You are recommended to gather as much information as possible as it is possible on very little you will need on the day of your pitch, but you do not want to be put in a position where you have a great pitch and little or no background on the company and its people.
3. Make the right decision
What I mean by this is meet the person who can make a decision as it is all too often you get all of the groundwork done and then pitch to someone who says after your excellent presentation, we will get back to you when we get the OK from the decision maker… you are now at the mercy of their pitch to their boss, if they pitch on your behalf at all.
Out of your research, you should be able to detect who the decision maker is and do they fully understand the needs of their business as well as solutions to the problems of the company. If it is training provision you are pitching then it is recommended to pitch to the CEO or the person who understands the company needs such as Director of Training. This is possibly an area you will get wiser over time after some push backs because the CEO is the person hardest to get to, but do try as it is where the decision for spending money is at.
4. Put your best foot forward
You have set the scene and it is now the time to put your best foot forward. Know what you are selling and do not be a generalist as that will make the people hearing your pitch very uneasy as specialist shine brighter than a generalist. If you specialise in sales that is what you pitch and if something else pops up in the meeting such as customer service then you possibly could say yes as it is associated with sales, but if IT training is what they require then it is beyond your scope unless you can provide a specialist in that area.
I remember back some years ago I pitched to a company for sales and customer service training and did not do the research I need to do prior to meeting the prospect. On the day I pitched for what I specialised in and the prospect stated it was technical support training they needed, thank god for my sales wisdom as I knew a technical support training company I had met at a networking event and my answer to the prospects questions was “If I could get you a company that does that type of training would you do business with me then?”, The answer I got was yes and we closed the deal that day.
5. Dealing with objections
Every pitch you give will involve questions and it is important you have the correct answers to those questions when asked and the conversation will be based on building enthusiasm for your services and belief in your confidence to deliver to the needs of the prospects.
There is a saying that you only have one chance to make a first impression and that is as true today as it was back in the 80s when I started off in a sales career which lasted for four decades and today it is similar because you are still doing business face to face despite the fact business is slowly moving online.
Whether it is online or face to face the prospect comes first as it is their needs that need to be met through the service you provide. Know their possible pain points and create a sales pitch to ease that pain.
Sales Training Specialist