Top tips for a perfect pitch

This weekend is the Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, with 14-time major winner Tiger Woods and former world No.1 Rory McIlroy amongst the players hoping to make an impression. If they want to lift the Claret Jug they are going to need the perfect pitch.

Clearly natural talent is a big part in their success but practice also makes perfect. Even the most experienced salesperson needs to refresh their sales pitch. So take a look at our refresher tips to avoid hitting the bunkers.

Do your research

Before you pick up the phone or send the first email, you should be finding out as much about your customer or prospect as possible. Why waste precious meeting time asking questions you should already know the answer to? Remember to research the following and give your customer an individualised experience that shows you have done your research:

  • What is the company history and their current situation?Have you looked into their latest sales figures? Have they launched any new initiatives recently?
  • What are their key business issues?Sales people are expected to have a good knowledge of what the most important issues and challenges affecting their prospect’s business and/or industry are. Are they concerned about the actions of a competitor? Are newer companies taking too big a bite of their market?

Remember that a pitch is a dialogue, not a monologue

Received wisdom is that a salesperson should be talking 20% of the time and listening for the other 80%. Businesses don’t really want to know about your company or what you have to sell. They want to know why they should care about your product and how it will directly offer solutions and improvement to their own problems. It’s vital to connect the value of your solution to the needs of your buyer.

The more you listen to a decision-maker, and the more you ask high-value, thought-provoking questions, the likelier you are to identify what is important to them. It gives you the opportunity to show how what you are selling can help them accomplish that. Customers aren’t as interested in functions or features as real-world benefits and value. In the same way, they don’t want to feel like they are being sold to – the feeling of being talked to, rather than conversed with, could mean distant and defensive decision-makers.

Remember to follow through and follow up

If you’ve gone to all the hard work of recommending your product to a customer and they have shown an interest, why throw it away with sloppy behaviour? If a prospect asks for a certain piece of information that you promise by a certain time, stick to your word. If you aren’t consistent and reliable, a slow response before a sale will set off alarms bells about your aftersales attitude.

Similarly, be relentless with how you follow up after the pitch until you get a definite “yes” or “no”. A lack of a response doesn’t necessarily mean a “no” and the inability for a prospect to make a decision straight away shouldn’t put you off. Some even say that most sales aren’t made until the twelfth follow up. In fact, using these follow up opportunities gives you the chance to build a relationship with your prospects to really establish their desires and any hesitancies they might have.