You’ve spent months warming a lead. You’ve emailed, direct mailed and called. You’ve finally got the coveted invitation to come in, introduce yourself and make your pitch. Now what? You want to arrive armed with everything you need to make your presentation count and stand out from the competition. In other words, you want to be prepared.
According to blogger and founder of Hunt Big Sales, Tom Searcy, less than 30 percent of sales people are well-equipped at sales meetings. A lack of research or an ill-prepared presentation will kill a salesperson’s mojo. Before walking through those doors, use these simple tips to perfect your sales pitch and be more prepared to close the sale.
- Do your due diligence. A perfect sales pitch requires a bit of homework. According to Salesforce, 82 percent of sellers are out of sync with their buyers. Research the client, company, industry and competition well in advance. Only then can you craft a presentation tailored specifically to the client. Due diligence also means practice. A quick run-through of your presentation and the materials ahead of time is a must. Keep in mind that well-prepared presenters exude confidence and authority on the subject.
- Build rapport. Start with a little small talk. It goes a long way in building rapport, which is the foundation of any good business relationship. Ask a meaningful question, give a sincere compliment or tell a story. Perhaps something interesting happened to you on the way to work that morning or maybe you’ve been in the neighbourhood before. Talk about it; good storytellers are more memorable. Approximately 63 percent of people will remember a story—only 5 percent will remember a statistic.
- Present with pizzazz. Preparing a formal presentation is a must. PowerPoint® or Prezi® make it easy for even the most novice speaker to present professional, interactive and engaging proposals. Meaningful images, charts and graphs as well as product samples and demos enhance a presentation. Images are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text, and 65 percent of people are visual learners.
- Go out with a bang. Research on business-to-business (B2B) sales presentations shows the most memorable part of a pitch is the last five minutes. Make those five minutes count! Remember that stat on storytelling? Your closing is another great place to insert one—perhaps a success story about how your product or service put an end to a pain point felt by a similar customer. Show how your product or service works for your prospect, too, and provide next steps you can take to get there.
- Follow-up. Lastly always, always follow-up. This often-overlooked step in the process can make or break your sale. Thank your audience for their time with a nice gift to share, like a logo’d caramel-corn tin, tower of chocolates or box of cookies. And be sure to send a handwritten note that summarizes your presentation’s high points as well as the action you’d like them to take. At the very least, you’ll make a lasting positive impression—a win for all!
- Ask for referrals. If you make the sale, it is OK to ask for a referral or good word about your business, product or service. Salesforce writes that 84 percent of prospects usually respond to sales reps if recommended by someone else. A gentle way to accomplish this is by leaving behind useful gifts, such as business card magnets or microfibre cleaning cloths.
Follow these simple steps to perfect your next sales pitch and make the very most of your hard-earned efforts. Good luck!