What are the mechanics of delivering an effective sales pitch?
It’s the wrong question; no one should aspire to be great at delivering a pitch.
A pitch is one-sided.
A pitch is about the salesperson and what they have to sell.
The benefits of the pitch are asymmetric and favor the salesperson.
The appropriate question is “How do you perfect the art of sales conversation?”, where the objective of the salesperson is to create solutions for their customer that produce mutual benefits.
These 9 actions are instrumental to the secret of having an effective sales conversation.
1. Engage – enter the “encounter” with the prospect or client seeking mutual involvement. Mutual respect and client-focused behavior trumps selling in the art of conversation.
2. Listen – probably THE biggest issue I have with sales today is the lack of listening. It’s not that salespeople don’t know how to hold their tongue, it’s that they don’t WANT to. They rather like giving speeches to impress themselves.
A great sales conversation should occupy “the transmit mode” no more than 25% of the time, and should ONLY be used as an answer to a question.
3. Ask questions – to clarify the prospect’s needs, wants, and desires. You can’t solve a problem unless you understand exactly what it is.
Your questions allow THEM to speak. Choose your questions wisely as they tell whether you have done your homework on the prospect or not.
4. Take notes – besides having a record of the conversation, notes are concrete evidence that you care about what they said.
Ask for permission to take notes; take copious amounts of them. Transcribe them into better form after the conversation.
5. Patience – you can’t force the sales process if you are in the conversation mode. Allow events to proceed at their own natural pace.
Different clients have different paces. Be agile enough to flex with each type. The end game is to complete a series of transactions NOT to be the fastest gun in the west.
6. It’s not about you – great salespeople have BIG egos. That’s both the good and bad news.
A sales conversation should be about the client not about the salesperson and how good they are. Be humble and caring; put EGO in a straitjacket.
7. Trust – if you’re not trusted they won’t buy. And unfortunately salespeople are often tagged with the “slick”, “sleazy”, “arrogant”, “fast-talking” and “flogger” labels, which do little to enable trust building.
Be aware of these stereotypes and do whatever it takes to work against them in the conversation.
8. Deep relationships – relationships feed successful sales. PERIOD. Your strategy in any conversation should be to establish and strengthen your relationship with the client. Take your eyes off the product ball and focus on the relationship. It will serve you well.
9. The long term view – productive relationships are not short term in nature, and unfortunately most sales performance plans place quarterly sales as a top priority.
Do what you have to do to earn your bonus today, but never lose sight of the repeat business you will do with a client if your “friendship” is strong and healthy.
Sales sometimes gets a bad rap because of the pitch.
Don’t be part of the problem.