How to Elevate Your Sales Pitch

Sales leaders explain how the real work begins before the pitch even happens.

Written by Adam Calica
Published on Apr. 21, 2021
How to Elevate Your Sales Pitch
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The sales pitch is more than just a quick transaction between two parties — it’s a complex undertaking that’s intended to bring a better solution to an existing problem.

But it’s not always carried out as such. 

Little preparation and research, taking shortcuts in the relationship-building stage, and focusing more on the attractiveness of your product — versus a customer’s wants and needs — can all contribute to pitches that ultimately fall short. 

“You must connect on a personal level with the people across the table. When things go wrong — and they will go wrong — a buyer wants to work with someone who genuinely cares about their experience,” Jeffrey Morelli, Director of Sales at identity platform Truework, said.

Tips to Elevate Your Sales Pitch

  • Know who you're selling to
  • Personalize your approach
  • Keep it concise
  • Focus on the value
  • Be positive

In addition to being an empathetic salesperson, showing continued interest in a potential customer’s business can not only help seal a deal but pay dividends for the relationship down the line. 

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the first call, a proposal review or a follow-up on a contract signature — there’s always something new to learn,” Stephen Ananicz, a Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at knowledge engine platform Yext, said. 

Built In caught up with 15 companies to see how they’ve perfected their sales pitch by layering customer questions into their pitch, listening — rather than just pitching — to build deeper business relationships, and more. 

 

Flywire

Sydney Banks

TRAVEL SALES MANAGER

Sydney Banks

What they do: Flywire’s software enables people to make flexible payments internationally. 

 

What’s the key to a successful sales pitch?

In my mind, the key to a successful sales pitch is doing everything you can to get to know who you’re selling to. I once heard someone say, “If you don’t know who you are pitching to, it’s hard to throw a strike,” and I think that’s very true.

This can be done by performing research ahead of time. For example, before a sales pitch, I always take time to understand who I’m speaking with because, depending on their position within their company, their goals for our conversation might be very different from mine. When I’m selling to travel businesses, the CEO or owner of the company might care more about saving money and the bottom line, whereas the head of operations probably feels the pain points of inefficient processes more acutely and might be more interested in how you can solve those problems.

I also use my pitch as an opportunity to ask questions about the business, the prospect, their day-to-day challenges and more. And then, most importantly, I listen very closely to their responses. By taking the time to understand and empathize with your prospect’s specific needs and pain points, you are then able to frame the conversation and your solutions in a way that sets you up for success.

 

What’s one change you’ve made that’s really elevated your sales pitch, and what impact has it had on your sales success?

When I first started in sales, I had a pitch deck ready to be shared for every call. It was partly a safety blanket for me to remember everything I wanted to say and partly what I thought was a best practice. When I decided to stop using sales decks in my pitches and initial calls with prospects a few years ago, I found that it immediately elevated my sales pitch. While you may not be able to fully distance yourself from pitch decks depending on your company, it’s worth seeing if you can simplify them.

By getting rid of my pitch decks, I no longer felt constrained by the content of my slides I could ask questions that I thought were the most relevant to the client given my research. Lacking a specific deck to follow along with also allowed me to pivot conversations and my pitch to each prospect.

I still often have visuals available if it’s beneficial and I will follow up with a deck that reviews what we talked about. Not forcing myself to go slide by slide during my pitch or discussing solutions or information that might not be relevant to the prospect has made a huge difference in boosting audience engagement, building rapport and being able to tailor my pitch on the fly.
 

Show them you’re not a sales robot. They’ll feel more comfortable and open and they will be more receptive to what you’re selling.”


What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone who’s looking to take their sales pitch to the next level?

Be a human. Flywire Vice President and General Manager of Travel Colin Smyth gave me this advice early on in my sales career and I pass it along to all new sales reps. It can be easy to spend time memorizing and rehearsing your pitch, but in an effort to come across confident and knowledgeable on calls, reps can instead sound rigid or unnatural. This can be a turnoff to prospects and make you seem inauthentic.

Figure out the main points of your pitch, get to know your product in and out, and practice what you’re going to say. When the meeting starts with your prospect, trust your knowledge about your company and offering and just have a conversation. It sounds basic, but in these times, it’s important not to just launch into a pitch and instead ask how people are doing. Ask how their business is being affected by current events. As the conversation continues, genuinely try to empathize with their pain points. Pause when you’re speaking and let the prospect react to what you’re telling them. They are human, so you should be, too. Show them you’re not a sales robot. They’ll feel more comfortable and open and they will be more receptive to what you’re selling.

 

Klaviyo

Jackie Condon

SALES MANAGER

Jackie Condon

What they do: Klaviyo’s platform helps e-commerce brands leverage their existing marketing channels and deliver targeted customer and prospect communications. 

 

What’s the key to a successful sales pitch?

The key to a successful sales pitch is to make it brief and focus on the value. People’s attention span tends to be short, which is why it’s crucial for sales reps to have a pitch that is quick and direct. In one to two sentences, you should convey the problem that your product or service solves and what impact this could have on their business. Ideally, if you keep it concise and are communicating how this will positively affect their business, the prospect will invite you to share more detailed information.

 

What’s one change you’ve made that’s really elevated your sales pitch, and what impact has it had on your sales success?

Eliminate buzzwords from your vocabulary. I have found that when buzzwords are used in a sales pitch, the prospect immediately loses a great deal of interest and trust. Prospects are hearing the same words from every sales rep at every company describing their product or service. If every company uses words like “personalization” and “AI” and describes their product or service as “world-class,” these words lose their weight and value and come off as insincere and confusing.

Using a pitch that is not fluffy and is more direct has allowed me to build stronger rapport with prospects. Ultimately, I think people buy from people that they trust. By eliminating buzzwords from my vocabulary, I’ve fostered better relationships, progressed deals faster and closed more business.
 

Eliminate buzzwords from your vocabulary.”


What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone who’s looking to take their sales pitch to the next level?

I recommend drafting a sales pitch that you believe your grandparents — or anyone who is not an industry expert — could understand. The pitch should be simple and straightforward. From there, if necessary, add in additional talking points — not buzzwords — that your buyer would care about.

You should also make sure you are addressing what issue your product or service solves and what value it brings to your client. It’s important to identify if your sales pitch effectively answers those two questions. If it doesn’t, iterate the pitch and make sure those answers are abundantly clear.

More From SalesThe Sales Skills Essential for Success

 

Truework

Jeffrey Morelli

DIRECTOR OF SALES

Jeffrey Morelli

As a privacy-based internet company, Truework aims to give control back to the consumer for how their personal information is shared online. In his sales pitches, Director of Sales Jeffrey Morelli emphasizes the importance of relating product features back to the customer’s main concern and why trust holds more value than anything else you could sell.

 

What’s the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

The key to a successful sales pitch is the ability to sell the value of your product, not the features of the product. One of my favorite quotes is “People don’t want a quarter-inch drill bit, they want a quarter-inch hole.”

For example, most people do not care about how Google search works behind the scenes. Instead, they care about receiving relevant information to their questions as quickly as possible. This may sound obvious, but it is alarming how many salespeople describe every last feature in the product before aligning on the pain points.

Furthermore, you must connect on a personal level with the people across the table. When things go wrong — and they will go wrong — a buyer wants to work with someone who genuinely cares about their experience. If you are struggling with this skill, I highly recommend reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, which I view as the best sales book on the market.

A great sales pitch intertwines relationship building with value selling. Why? Because at the end of the day the buyer must trust who they are buying from, and ultimately people will spend more money when it is an emotional decision rather than a strategic decision. 

 

What’s one change you've made that’s really elevated your sales pitch?

My sales pitch drastically changed when I stopped focusing on what I was going to say and instead started focusing on what the customer was truly saying. I do this by asking as many questions as possible and genuinely caring about the answers.

When a customer asks a question, the natural instinct is to answer that question directly. Instead, try answering their question with another question. This approach gives you insight into what they are actually trying to learn. In every call, customers drop hints on what truly matters from their perspective (which is the only perspective that matters). Once you find the value prop that the customer cares about, it is your job to relate the rest of the presentation back to that value prop.
 

My sales pitch drastically changed when I stopped focusing on what I was going to say and instead started focusing on what the customer was truly saying.”


What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone who’s looking to take their sales pitch to the next level? 

When a skill is mastered, it is typically because the individual produces more by doing less. They have found what differentiates good from great and only focus their efforts on highly leveraged skills. The same is true for sales.

People primarily care about themselves. So, as effective salespeople, we must ruthlessly prioritize and ask ourselves, “Does what I am about to say make the customer excited?” This means questioning everything about your current sales process. Do you need that slide on company history? Do you need to show them the different options within settings? Do you spend more time on the demo than you do on discovery?

At the end of the day, it’s quite simple: Make sure everything in your pitch focuses on the value added to the customer, and be sure that you are listening to every detail they have to say.

 

Yext

Stephen Ananicz

SENIOR DIRECTOR, STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

Stephen Ananicz

As a search experience cloud, Yext organizes a business’s facts so consumers can gain official answers to their specific questions. Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships Stephen Ananicz pitches his products like a date proposal, explaining that listening is crucial and that any informative outcome — even if it deviates from expectations — is a good one.

 

What’s the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

Two key things: identifying mutual meeting objectives, and understanding that discovery never stops.

Time is something you don’t get back, so it’s crucial to establish mutually agreed-upon meeting objectives before the sales pitch. Even if it’s the first conversation, you’d be surprised how open and responsive a prospective client will be to sharing how they’d like to spend their time with you. While the client’s meeting objectives take priority, both parties can build respect by coming forth with an ideal outcome.

Also, while nailing the first impression on your introductory call is crucial, it’s a mistake to think that that’s where discovery begins and ends. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first call, a proposal review or a follow-up on a contract signature — there’s always something new to learn. 

 

What’s one change you've made that’s really elevated your sales pitch?

Layering open-ended questions during discovery has had the most impact in elevating my sales pitch. You can learn so much through simple layering techniques, weaving in phrases such as:

  • “Tell me more.”
  • “Do you mind expanding on that?”
  • “How does that impact your business financially?” 
  • “How does this align with your yearly goals?”


While I put an emphasis on open-ended questions, I still strive to earn the right to ask “Have we earned your business?” in every conversation.

Being that the devil is in the details, by layering questions I am able to uncover golden nuggets of information that could ultimately make the difference between winning and losing business. Even if the outcome isn’t what I had hoped for, I take a moment to reflect and review the post-evaluation discovery in order to make improvements to my pitch in the future.
 

While nailing the first impression on your introductory call is crucial, it’s a mistake to think that that’s where discovery begins and ends.”


What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone who’s looking to take their sales pitch to the next level? 

It’s simple — build trust with your client. My wife shared an analogy that has stuck with me ever since: “Sales is similar to dating.”

In enterprise and strategic account sales, our goal is to build genuine and long-lasting relationships — not too far off from the dating world. That’s why it’s so important to have an open dialogue with your client about professional goals, business objectives and challenges. It not only aids in sealing the deal, but it can also play in your favor if you need to get a deal over the finish line with stringent time constraints.

At the end of the day, clients are people just like you and me. Taking shortcuts in relationship-building may work from time to time, but it’s just a temporary fix. When entering a conversation, I always assume the client has a healthy level of skepticism and that they’re able to identify a one-sided relationship. It’s called a “win-win” for a reason!

 

Udemy

Kimberly Cancelliere

ACCOUNT DEVELOPMENT REPRESENTATIVE

Kimberly Cancelliere

At Udemy, a global edtech company, Account Development Representative Kimberly Cancelliere knows that asking for help can lead to better results. Whether it’s seeking out a colleague with more experience or building a visual plan of attack, collaboration is a key component of improving the sales process.

 

What’s the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

Knowing the worth and value of the product/service you are pitching, but also understanding the current and desired state of the business you are pitching to. Fortunately, Udemy has key insights into the challenges and skills shortages employees and businesses encounter in an increasingly competitive economy.

 

What’s one change you’ve made that’s really elevated your sales pitch?

Connecting with various managers and colleagues who have more experience than I do. Through my conversations with my Udemy family, I’ve learned just how far research goes when writing a strong sales pitch. If you can position yourself to stand out from other salespeople by proving you know the prospect’s goals and initiatives, your pitch will add much more value.

 

Don’t be afraid to seek out advice or help from other people in your organization or in your network.”

 

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone who’s looking to take their sales pitch to the next level? 

Don’t be afraid to seek out advice or help from other people in your organization or in your network – it’s amazing what you can learn from others. Also, it has really helped me to map out my research and sales pitch on a document so that I can visually see my research and game plan while writing emails or calling prospects.

 

Funding Circle

Isabelle Ouyang

SALES TEAM LEAD

Isabelle Ouyang

At Funding Circle, a fintech investment company, Sales Team Lead Isabelle Ouyang knows that communication is crucial. By rewiring soft skills to communicate more directly and effectively with self-awareness, a salesperson can actively listen and deliver solutions over the phone with conviction.

 

What’s the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

Have confidence and stay positive – for you and your customer. Remember that you are the expert on your product. If you remember that and believe in what you say, you will win.

Be short, clear and direct. Deliver your sales pitch in a way that gets to the point. The pitch should be no more than three to five bullet points. Let your customer ask questions to help them understand why your product can serve their needs.

Remember to take a breath. It is normal to feel nervous before delivering a pitch. This allows you to process the material before saying it out loud and allows your customers to understand what you’re saying. The goal is to control the conversion while allowing yourself the mental space to actively listen to your customer.

Lastly, silence is golden. Stay silent after you ask for the sale. Don’t let the customer sense fear, and wait for them to respond. Use the long silence to your advantage.

 

What’s one change you’ve made that’s really elevated your sales pitch?

Building confidence has been a game-changer. Coming from a face-to-face selling environment, phone sales was new to me when I joined Funding Circle. Customers can hear everything over the phone: your breathing, your voice and your pauses. However, they can’t see your facial expressions, body language or demeanor which you have to account for.

It is important to communicate assertively and stand your ground throughout the sales cycle. The first thing I learned was to take certain words out of my conversations such as “but,” “just,” “I think,” and “don’t.” Instead of saying “I think,” I’d use “I believe” to assert my intention. I also try not to overthink and over-apologize. 

By practicing these soft skills, I was able to overcome many unpleasant phone conversations I’ve had with customers. These skills have allowed me to earn my customer’s respect, and build trust over the phone and through emails. As a result, I achieved my close rate goals consistently and now I have more confidence in general.

 

Learn from your mistakes and successes to identify what works for you the best.”

 

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone who’s looking to take their sales pitch to the next level? 

Believe in yourself and your abilities. Stay positive, hold your ground and don’t let a no bring you down. Learn from your mistakes and successes to identify what works for you the best, as everyone has different strengths and areas of opportunities to focus on.

No one is perfect. As long as you stay consistent and don’t give up, you will win the sale!

 

Datadog

Shelby Deck

COMMERCIAL SALES MANAGER

Shelby Deck

At Datadog, a monitoring and security platform for cloud applications, preparation is second nature. By practicing myriad pitch methods and investigating a customer’s needs before proposing a solution, Commercial Sales Manager Shelby Deck says she can more confidently explain exactly where she plans for the conversation to go in order to discuss the most relevant information.

 

What’s the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

In order to provide a quality pitch, it is important you have taken the time to understand the customers needs, pain points, the desired “after” scenario and above all you are audible-ready.

At Datadog, we place a large emphasis on qualifying the customers’ needs prior to pitching a solution. As a result, we are not drowning the customer in irrelevant information. Instead we are taking control of the narrative by being flexible in front of the customer and crafting a response on the spot, which draws a line between the customer’s needs and how our solution will help to solve their business challenges.

 

What’s one change you’ve made that’s really elevated your sales pitch?

No matter the caliber of the pitch, when being pitched I often find myself thinking, “when is this going to end?” It’s no fault of the sales rep – it is human nature to allow your daily checklist to creep into your train of thought.

Given my own tendencies, I started providing an outline of my pitch upfront, which allows the audience to understand the overarching themes I plan to cover before providing the associated macro details. In doing so, I have found not only is the audience more engaged – given they are aware of the journey you plan to take them on – but they are also more likely to remember and reference the intended takeaways.

 

The more opportunities you give yourself to use your sales pitch in a live setting, the stronger your pitch will be.”

 

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone who’s looking to take their sales pitch to the next level? 

Practice, practice, practice. Not only do I literally mean practice your pitch repeatedly, but I also encourage my team to practice their pitch in three different settings, which will ultimately help ensure they are marrying confidence and candor in their delivery. 

The first way you can practice is in the mirror. Given it is you and the mirror, you are likely less worried about failing and more open to being creative in your approach. It is important you have a space where you can workshop your pitch.

The second way you can practice is with a colleague. Oftentimes I find reps only run through mock sales pitches when in preliminary training; however, the most successful reps I know are always looking to level up their pitch. In addition to walking away with immediate feedback you will also get the opportunity to hear differing approaches.

The third way you can practice is by scheduling more calls. You can practice alone and with a peer, but when it’s showtime your client should feel they can trust you to be an expert in your craft. The more opportunities you give yourself to use your sales pitch in a live setting, the stronger your pitch will be.

 

Tapcart

Chris Bassett-Bouchard

SR. ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Chris Bassett-Bouchard

The world of sales is constantly changing with new strategies and technologies emerging that promise to help sellers close more deals faster. New methods and tech are important to experiment with, but they’re no substitute for really knowing your customer and being authentic. Chris Bassett-Bouchard, senior account executive at Tapcart, shared how research and taking a genuine interest in a prospect’s best interest has helped him find success.

 

What’s the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

One key to a successful sales pitch is personalizing your approach and tailoring the solution to your audience. Even if you’re selling the same product, the application and use case can vary greatly based on your prospect’s goals, challenges, priorities, budget and more. In B2B SaaS, you’re not only tailoring to the company you’re selling to but also the individual you’re pitching to, which includes factors tied to their personality, duties, authority level and more.

On this same theme, adaptability is also key. Being able to change course during a pitch as you gather insights from your prospect can really help make the most of that interaction. Be creative and strategic, and use the many levers, variables and tools where they best fit, knowing each can be leveraged differently from one sale to the next. What may be a non-factor in one conversation could be a total game-changer in the next. Making relevant recommendations, sharing relatable stories and showcasing pertinent examples are all good ways to achieve an effective, personalized approach.
 

It sounds simple enough, but getting a prospect to divulge useful details and trust you with this information requires rapport, finesse and intent.


What’s one change you’ve made that’s really elevated your sales pitch? What impact has that change had on your sales success?

This a continually evolving tactic and not a one-time change, but just being as strategic as possible with the questions I ask. A huge part of success in sales is being an active listener and using the information at your disposal to tailor a solution to your prospect. It sounds simple enough, but getting a prospect to divulge useful details and trust you with this information requires rapport, finesse and intent.

The right combination of the above elements can be the difference between receiving honest, insightful answers and uninformative, empty ones. Sales is ultimately the process of identifying a need and providing a solution — so especially in the case of B2B SaaS, you must first know how a business is currently doing something to make a proper recommendation on how they can do it better with your product. The more I understand about my prospect’s existing approach, the more I’m able to position our product as a solution. This focus on effective questioning has helped me bring even more value to prospects and, in turn, close deals at a higher rate.

 

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone who’s looking to take their sales pitch to the next level?

Be authentic. This stems from a piece of advice I once received, which is that the role of selling is essentially just guiding someone toward a decision. In that sense, I like to think of myself as a trusted advisor and subject matter expert who can bring a valuable perspective to a prospect as they navigate their exploration of our product. Of course, as sales reps, we do have a clear objective to close deals, but instead of this being outwardly apparent to a prospect, it should be the organic outcome of effectively consulting, advising and delivering solutions for their needs.

When I’m a prospective buyer of anything, I don’t enjoy being aggressively sold to in a way that is clearly putting the seller’s agenda ahead of my best interests. If this is apparent to me, then I’m likely to be less trusting of their advice and more resistant to their recommendations. If you know your product exhaustively, conduct yourself genuinely and really just convey that your goal is to help your prospect make the best decision, then you’ll be in a position to create a win-win outcome where they benefit from buying and you benefit from making the sale.

 

Prodege LLC

Heather Skae

SR. DIRECTOR OF SALES, SHOPPER MARKETING

Heather Skae

California may be targeting a full reopening by June 15, but the “new normal” for sales professionals is likely to remain in place as companies realize they can get more done over Zoom than in-person. Sales professionals will have to hone their virtual pitches, and Heather Skae, senior director of sales, shopper marketing at Prodege, has some advice for how to make the most of a 30-minute video call.

 

What’s the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

During a time when virtual meetings are the new normal, it’s more important than ever to focus less on the materials and just get into the “room.” Asking meaningful questions to uniquely connect with clients will always be more important than having the perfect presentation. As we all know, clients are busy and they’re likely meeting with an endless number of vendors, so it’s critical to be memorable and, most of all, likable. It’s cliche, but people want to work with partners who they like, and there are more valuable ways to spend the 30 minutes you have with them than walking through a lengthy PowerPoint.
 

Prepare for your pitch by poking holes in both your presentation and your product, which will allow you to confidently and authentically address those difficult questions.


What’s one change you've made that’s really elevated your sales pitch? What impact has that change had on your sales success?

In a world of Zoom calls, the likelihood that clients are multitasking during a pitch is pretty high, especially if the contact opts to turn off their camera. Since we can’t see a client’s body language or reactions, I’ve found myself asking even more questions than I typically would to keep clients engaged. Developing a strong two-way dialogue will not only help build that crucial rapport but will also keep the distractions of working from home to a minimum.

 

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone who’s looking to take their sales pitch to the next level?

Confidence in your pitch comes from being prepared. Aside from customizing your materials and having thoughtful questions ready to go, don’t forget to focus on the areas that tend to throw sellers off their game. Prepare for your pitch by poking holes in both your presentation and your product, which will allow you to confidently and authentically address those difficult questions. Think about how to respond to any potential challenges of your product and how you stack up against competitors. Walking into the room knowing the answers to the toughest questions will ensure that you’re ready to take on those unpredictable clients and rock the meeting!

More From SalesAce Your Discovery Call By Asking These Questions

 

Torch Technology

Jordan Altit

SENIOR SALES CONSULTANT

Jordan Altit

Jordyn Altit is a senior sales consultant at Torch Technology, a platform for digitizing dental supply ordering. She learned early on that establishing an emotional connection by identifying the customer’s pain points and becoming the problem-solver can lead to an effective pitch and a big sale. Furthermore, having passion for the product is also important, as the client can tell that the emotion and enthusiasm on display is real.

 

Whats the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

The key to a successful pitch is to really understand and listen to your potential new customer. Every prospect has a specific pain point that is important to them and if you simply listen to your prospects, they will listen to you. Be the prospect’s problem-solver!

 

Whats one change youve made thats really elevated your sales pitch? What impact has that change had on your sales success?

When I first started in sales, I thought that the relationship started and ended with me selling a product to the prospect. One change that I made that really elevated my pitch was trying to find a personal connection with the prospect. No one likes to be sold to, but they would rather be sold to by someone who they share a common interest with versus someone who is solely focused on selling the product.

 

My conversations are genuine and my passion for Torch are heard through every call.

 

Whats the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone whos looking to take their sales pitch to the next level?

The most valuable piece of advice I would share is find a product you believe in. My sales success has come from trusting the product so much that I believe I am doing every dental practice a favor by informing them about Torch. Torch is such an amazing product. I truly believe that every dental office can benefit from the platform, so my conversations are genuine and my passion for Torch is heard through every call.

 

Celonis

Hanyul Lee

SALES DIRECTOR

Hanyul Lee

Hanyul Lee is the sales director of Celonis, a platform for an execution management system (EMS). He believes that empathy for the client is the driving force in a successful sales pitch, and by combining empathy with active listening and due diligence, the customer will feel both important and heard. 

 

Whats the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

Empathy. The capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference. 

Do your due diligence, and come with a position or hypothesis on the problems they are facing, and how the thing you are selling them can help solve that problem. But once you have the opportunity to sit across the table from them, put that aside and engage in active listening. Then, take what you heard, marry it with what you prepared, and provide a point of view. What you have done is shared with the person that they are important enough for you to spend time preparing for the conversation, and that their words are important enough for you to stop and listen.

 

Whats one change youve made thats really elevated your sales pitch? What impact has that change had on your sales success?

About six years ago, I was introduced to a new sales framework that I follow in most of my meetings now.

HANYUL LEE'S SALES FRAMEWORK

  1. You have a problem
  2. The world around you is changing
  3. What happens if you don't change
  4. There is a better way

This simple framework has had high impact by providing me a mechanism to show that level of empathy I talked about in the first question. Instead of focusing on what we bring, we start out by wrapping our narrative around what is important to the potential customer.

 

Whats the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone whos looking to take their sales pitch to the next level?

Be other-centered. Try to understand what is important to the decision-maker on the other side of the table, and anchor your message around that. Don’t force the other party into your world — try to initially reside in theirs.

 

SmartAsset

Michael Rosenberg

SALES MANAGER

Michael Rosenberg

At SmartAsset, a personal finance technology company, Sales Manager Michael Rosenberg focuses on the needs of his audience rather than a preconditioned pitch. By doing research beforehand and connecting on a personal and professional level, Rosenberg’s combination of knowledge and authenticity frequently leads to a successful deal.

 

Whats the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

I like to focus on what the audience needs and to make sure I am not just another salesperson pushing a product or service. In my experience, there is not just one key that makes a sales pitch successful, but many keys, like playing a piano. I try to strike the right chords at the right time by serving as an industry consultant.

 

Whats one change youve made thats really elevated your sales pitch? What impact has that change had on your sales success?

My pitch is constantly evolving, depending on the audience and their needs, however recently, I began to educate my existing and prospective clients about consumer retirement plans and how most consumers don’t understand their financial options post-retirement. Since SmartAsset’s mission is to help consumers make smart financial decisions (including planning for retirement), it’s important to view our product and service offerings through the lens of the consumer. Sharing insight into a product’s benefits and tools and painting a compelling picture for why our product will help is a great opportunity for sales success. This new approach has shortened the sales cycle from pitch to close and has personally helped me close more business on a consistent basis.

 

The best pitches are typically the ones where I connect with a financial advisor on multiple levels — personally and professionally — and also share a few laughs.

 

Whats the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone whos looking to take their sales pitch to the next level?

Be authentic and lean into your personality. There are so many different ways to leverage and adapt your sales pitch to be successful, and different styles can work for different people. If you are knowledgeable in all aspects of your product and can adapt your sales approach depending on your audience, then don't be afraid to be yourself. The best pitches are typically the ones where I connect with a financial advisor on multiple levels — personally and professionally — and also share a few laughs.

 

Prizeout

Holly Glowaty

EVP OF MERCHANTS

Holly Glowaty

At Prizeout, a platform for innovative branded currency, EVP of Merchants Holly Glowaty combines research, communication and personal connection to close her deals. By finding out how a customer measures success and then having a conversation on a person-to-person level, a sales pitch has a much higher chance to prosper.

 

Whats the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

Do your research. If you come to a sales pitch after having done your research on the company, you will feel confident and you will come armed with the right kind of information. If you have come to just talk at a prospect, without understanding how your product or service will help them reach their goals, you won’t get anywhere. In a nutshell, get to know the company goals, and ask your contact how they measure success (i.e. Are they measured by money they save? Number of new users?). If you can’t help them measure success, why should they work with you?

 

Whats one change youve made thats really elevated your sales pitch? What impact has that change had on your sales success?

I stopped using a deck. I send it afterwards, or I send a 60-second or less video ahead of time, so that everyone has a general understanding of the product. I want to spend my first call understanding the potential client and tailoring whatever materials I send over afterwards to their needs. If need be, I do a demo, but most of the time it is a conversation.

 

Stop making it about you. Make it about the client.

 

Whats the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone whos looking to take their sales pitch to the next level?

Stop making it about you. Make it about the client. Come prepared with an agenda so that you control the discussion, but make sure you know who you are pitching and ask questions that are thoughtful. A conversation between two humans is much more effective and impactful than running through a deck.

 

Machinio

David Orlan

SENIOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE AND TEAM LEAD, CANADA

David Orlan

Machinio’s machinery marketplace facilitates industrial suppliers transactions that do not exist elsewhere. By understanding exactly what the seller is offering, a salesperson can better connect with the right buyer by matching their shared values.

 

What’s the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

I try to approach pitching as more of a genuine conversation so I can get to know who I’m talking to, what they value and what makes them tick. I like to try to have an honest exchange, hopefully getting to know each other both personally and professionally.

By then, I’m on their wavelength and know what’s important to them. At that point, it’s much easier for me to provide the perfect solution to their problem. Come to think of it, that might make the real key – listening!

 

What’s one change you’ve made that’s really elevated your sales pitch?

Going in with the mindset of putting myself in their shoes. Again, finding out what makes them tick by asking the right questions and ultimately providing the solution that gets them what they want (and gets me what I want, of course). Think like them and it will be much easier for you to create the value they’re looking for.

 

Being curious will help you build rapport and trust while also helping you come up with the perfect solution to their problem.”

 

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone who’s looking to take their sales pitch to the next level?

Be curious: “How? Why? Tell me more.”

Being curious will help your pitch in so many ways, like that friend who calls or texts every so often to ask how you’re doing. It’s a pretty basic question, but they end up liking you more naturally just because you ask. Being curious will help you build rapport and trust while also helping you come up with the perfect solution to their problem that much faster, so you can go be curious with the next person.

 

Smokeball

Andrea Valle

SALES MANAGER

Andrea Valle

At Smokeball, time truly is money. Their time management software automatically tracks client-related activity within certain applications like Word and Outlook. Sales Manager Andrea Valle says that positioning yourself as the expert and explaining what sets your company apart from the competition can take your business relationships to the next level.

 

What’s the key to a successful sales pitch, and why?

The key is to understand the problem your solution will solve — more specifically, the direct problem the person you are pitching to is most likely experiencing.

Before a client even tells you their problem, you know based on your past experiences and your product knowledge why they need a solution like yours. It is very important to tie those pieces together to create a successful pitch that not only opens up the conversation, but also positions you as an expert in the industry and someone they want to consult with.

 

What’s one change you’ve made that’s really elevated your sales pitch?

I take the time to learn about the person I am pitching to so I can make my message as individualized as possible. I want my clients to know that I am talking directly to them and not using the same pitch I give to every other client. Using this approach has really allowed me to create a trusting relationship from the initial conversation; the client views me as someone who is knowledgeable and who will take the time to listen and consult with them.

As clients are evaluating their options and going through the sales process, that approach is what really sets me, my product, and my company's services apart from the competition.

 

There is nothing like a genuine message to get you in the door.”

 

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone who’s looking to take their sales pitch to the next level?

Don’t be scared to be yourself and think outside the box! There is nothing like a genuine message to get you in the door.

People can sense when you’re reading off a script or trying to be someone else. It’s important to find your voice and find what works for you, then take it to the next level by really listening for what the client needs. Be confident in your experience and what value you can provide.

 

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