All of us entrepreneurs will have to sell our product, otherwise we will horribly unsuccessful. The problem is that many of us tend to be experts in our own field, be it being a doctor, builder or shop owner. This obviously gives us belief in our product and quality of service and belief in your product or service is paramount to your success, however does not make us natural salesman. Although I believe that there are natural salesmen around us all the time, I don’t believe that it is a skill that cannot be developed. Don’t feel bad that being a salesman is not something you wanted to be, but rather make peace with the fact that it is now part of your life. I feel like often people don’t go ahead with their dream of being their own boss because they feel they cannot sell. If you consider how different the “sales pitch” is for each type of business then there must be a way for every one of us to be successful sellers of our products or services. I recently helped a friend build a sales presentation to introduce his new innovative product to a new prospective client and it got me thinking on a couple of points I would like to share with you.
- Your audience can be very different from pitch to pitch even if the product remains the same. I mean it seems obvious but have you ever considered how your product or service is needed or used by different people. Men and Women, young and old or professional and labourer could all be potential clients but need a different approach. When I am selling tooling to an experienced electrical contractor I need to get him to trust my opinion by not sounding inexperienced. With this potential sale I will try and get the customer to help me figure out why he needs to buy equipment. By empowering him I am not only showing respect but could get him to sell it to himself, and that is gold. If it is an inexperienced contractor I will try and be more guiding and authoritative so that he knows he can trust my advice. I could give him advice which I have learnt from more experienced clients. This brings me onto another crucial point… learning.
- As I mentioned in the intro I believe being a better salesman is something that can be learnt and sales is a never-ending learning experience. So, don’t worry about feeling like a novice, in many ways you will always be one. I am constantly amazed by the things I learn when selling, in fact I enjoy the opportunity to learn more about the product I am selling during the sales process. I often find that the most knowledgeable person on my product is investing in it. In many instances it could be an evolving product or industry that requires constant learning. It goes without saying that you should always know your product very well. It is very rare that you find a customer who is happy to deal with a novice and the adage of, “Fake it till you make it” is a genuinely great sales technique. Sometimes you are convincing someone to try something new and better and sometimes you are convincing them to keep trying the same thing, but at the end of the day a sales pitch is about convincing a customer of your product. Never forget that…
- Finalising a deal can happen in the first few seconds of the pitch or take months of work and numerous different pitches. Of course, we all want the former to be the case every time but it is not always possible. Remember that sealing the deal early on usually creates the impression that things should move on swiftly. You have established a rapport and a standard time frame with your customer that he or she will expect going forward. You should always follow up timeously but in some cases your follow up should mirror the time frame already established. Every pitch has its own timeline. Convincing someone to try a new drink at a bar or presenting on many occasions in a formal setting to the same client might sound different but if you can grasp the similarities then you can ensure your pitch is geared for all eventualities. Be comfortable and confident in your pitch and that will help you enjoy it…
- Enjoying the sale. Just in the way that happiness and laughter are infectious, a customer can get excited about a product with you. It is worth mentioning that there is a fine line here and we should be careful to not annoy a client or potential client about something we are giddy over when they are in a foul mood. I speak from experience and remember being so excited about a new product that I did not read the customer’s body language. I was trying to sell him a software product to help him with his stock management the day after he was burgled and lost all his stock. I still cringe when I think about it, but I am now always careful to gauge the mood of a customer before jumping into the sale. Sometimes it can’t be helped and I keep telling myself that mistakes are teaching moments. To clarify this before I get teased, the customer not only bought that software package eventually but I was able to upgrade the security features on his system in part to his paranoia, insurance settlement and my guilt giving him a great deal. I never gave up and followed up regularly with him.
- Follow ups and success rates should always be monitored. In today’s day and age, the invention of online marketing has made tracking analytics and hit rate tracking everyday terms. I always like to keep a tally of pitches and successful sales so I can evaluate my game plan and fine tune a pitch when I see it isn’t working. This track record should include all pertinent information like target customer type, product, date and time. Anything that will help with future engagements. If I notice a trend in customers who respond to a buy one gets one free deal, that leads to them becoming loyal customers, I might consider working that same deal into all future pitches and even leading with that.
I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way in doing a sales pitch especially considering all the variables listed above. I do however want to share my model in designing my sales pitch. I don’t have a fancy name, but merely call it: WHAT – WHO – HOW. In my next article I will go into detail.
As always, thanks for reading, I trust you found this useful and encourage you to help me by sharing this article on my social media options below.