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Develop The Perfect Sales Pitch

These four steps will help you craft a perfect product pitch so you’ll stand out among the crowd.

Pattie Simone

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DevelopPerfectSalesPitch

You’ve come up with the most amazing product or service. Now what? In order to be successful, you have to understand a few things about selling, so you can connect with and engage eager buyers. Insiders’ tip: It’s not about convincing anyone of anything.

When you consider the clatter – email blasts, regular email, radio, internet radio, direct mail, newspaper ads, networking, small business workshops and events, trade shows, billboards, mobile ads and social networking spaces, niche-market tele-seminars, webinars and TV – it’s a wonder any of us makes a sale.

The good news is that people are selling their wares, rising above the noise through a combination of tools and initiatives. And while the major brands have robust budgets to play with, there are some tried and true (and thrifty) things every entrepreneur can do to achieve a healthy bottom line.

Selling Is Easy

This is not rocket science, really. Whether you are running an online business or a local pizzeria, selling is about doing four things better than your  competitors:

  • Tangibly communicating your value/benefits
  • Spreading the word in smart connection portals
  • Making it personal
  • Avoiding one-night stands

Let’s start at the top. Because of the Internet, iPods and new cell phone technology – all featuring swift search and delivery mechanisms – it’s more important than ever to perfect your pitch, or your prospects might end up doing business elsewhere. With the abundance of research and communication portals – not to mention the advertising spaces already listed – we are so distracted that we’re becoming an ADD society, says Laura Allen, co-founder of 15secondPitch.com, an online and offline coaching and sales training business. According to Allen, the situation is complicated by the fact that most people end up pitching the wrong things, due to nerves, vagueness or non-specific info.

Not to worry! Allen has developed a four-step formula to create the perfect swift pitch, which can be easily implemented in a variety of direct networking spaces.

A side perk: Strong, clear communications can serve you well in diverse promotional spaces. Tweak each point to suit the portal you’re using, and you’ll see better returns, whether you are crafting an ad, tweeting, blogging, cold calling or sending out direct mail.

[box style=”gray,info” ]Learn How to Craft Your 30-Second Elevator Pitch. Click Here[/box]

Laura Allen’s Perfect Pitch Tool Kit

Step 1:

Be clear about you, stating your name and your business name when you start your pitch.

Step 2:

State what you do. Be specific so people can easily understand your unique area of expertise: financial planner, business marketing professional, interior decorator, event organiser, etc. Remember to avoid one important pitfall, what Allen calls “the kitchen sink pitch.”

“You’re lucky if people can remember one business or title, let alone three things, so do not lump together a bunch of disparate titles or services in the same pitch.” Allen’s advice: Go with whatever you believe in at the moment, but be especially strategic about what you pick. While you may hawk vitamins or +skincare products in addition to being a real estate agent, Allen advises that you pick the one thing that will make you the most money.

Step 3:

State in two sentences (or less) why you are the best at what you do. This is arguably the most challenging step, because the shorter the message, the more carefully you have to choose your words for the best effect. Winging it often produces disastrous results. While perfect pitches sometimes outline benefits, Allen says it’s not always the best approach.  That’s because benefits can be too specific to the person on the receiving end. To provide maximum impact, Allen says, the pitch should reflect the unique voice of the speaker – taking into consideration tone, pace, vocabulary and personality.

Beware: You can craft something that looks good on paper but is too wordy or, worse, trips up your tongue. That’s why Allen has clients practice their pitches out loud, so they can discover and fix pitch glitches.

Step 4:

The call to action. This is what it’s all about, Allen says, and should answer the question, “What happens next?” A good call to action can include plans to meet for coffee to continue your conversation, set up a date to chat via phone, or schedule a follow-up meeting at your office.

All these elements should be decided beforehand, Allen says, so she encourages clients to have the perfect pitch ready before they make a cold call or go to a networking event. In light of so many people having highly specialised expertise or dabbling in diverse services.

[box style=”gray,info” ]Presentations that Bring in Sales. This is What Your Need to Know[/box]

Two Samples of the Perfect Pitch

Here are two examples of terrific pitches that Allen developed for a small business owner in the gourmet food business and for a photographer:

Pitch 1: “Hello, my name is ______and I’m the founder of Bel Biscotto. For 10 years I searched for the perfect biscotti and when I couldn’t find it, I decided to make my own. I’m looking for cafés and stores that will appreciate our exceptional product. To arrange for a free sample of our Coco Hazelnut biscotti, please give me a call. You can also learn more by visiting: www.belbiscotti.com.”

Pitch 2: “Hello, my name is _______ and I am a freelance photographer specialising in high-end fashion. I photograph clothing, cosmetics and jewellery. I have over 15 years of experience, and my clients include Stoned Cherrie and Iman. Please give me a call to set up an appointment to see my book. You can also see samples of my work at www._______.com.”

These are rockin’ pitches because they’re personal, they’re authentic and they resonate on an emotional level.

With a perfect pitch in hand, you can sell like mad. So once you’ve got your pitches polished, make sure you’re testing and getting the word out through a bunch of online and traditional portals, including your website, email, e-newsletters, blogs, face-to-face networking spaces and targeted direct mail, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Understand that savvy buyers respond to meaningful info with a human story attached. In this super-connected, viral age, you can reap great rewards by avoiding a “one night stand,” quick-sale mentality like the plague.

The new sales giants will capitalise on compelling communications and ongoing conversations, because that approach will help produce the raving fans you crave (which in turn will help you propel sales).

Closing the Sale

Getting a client to say “yes” can be one of the most difficult things to do, or it can be as easy as merely asking for the order. Once you’ve completed the groundwork and delivered the perfect pitch, here are some things you can do to help close the sale:

  • Ask open-ended questions so you can help your clients identify their needs. Show them that what you are selling will meet those needs.
  • Listen for signs that they are ready to buy. Some examples might include, “How long would it take to get one?” “Is this the latest model?” or “What terms will you give me?”
  • Sometimes it’s helpful to set a deadline. If you are planning a price increase, encourage your customer to place the order by a certain date to take advantage of the reduced cost. This sends a message that you are working with them to get a good deal.
  • Constantly look for ways to serve your customers better. Try to be a resource for the latest information, and be ready to help them do a better job. This will create added value to your customers.
  • When closing your sale, consider offering alternatives. People like to have choices. You can use this to your advantage by saying, “Which of these choices would you like?” With this close, you are likely to make a sale of one kind or another.
  • When you have finished your sales pitch, ask if the customer has any more questions. If not, pass the sales contract over to them, and say something like, “If you will just authorise this, we can get started right away.”

Closing a sale can be a natural part of your conversation with customers. Work to refine it so that it grows easily out of your discussion. Then watch your sales grow.

Communications pro Pattie Simone is an acclaimed digital engagement activist, speaker, video blogger and consultant. She is president and chief success strategist at marketing-advantage and Write-Communications,both business development and branding agencies, and founder of WomenCentric, a hip directory and connection hub for ambitious women worldwide. Pattie is an Ask Entrepreneur expert and a producer of timely and informative business and career success editorial and videos via WomenCentric Media.

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