The sales pitch for your presentation is the most important form of information exchange in the business world, whether corporate, commercial, industrial, or personal. Simply put, a sales pitch is having someone knowledgeable about a product or service present that product or service to those who have some level of interest.
A sales pitch can happen just about anywhere – on the phone, in the elevator, over lunch, or in a boardroom. The challenge with sales presentations is staying fresh. Let’s define ‘fresh.’ ‘Fresh’ means ‘something new or different’; another definition states that ‘fresh’ means ‘what is recently created or experienced and not faded’.
If you are a sales professional, you probably deliver many sales presentations. The best way to consistently shine in a sales pitch is to have a dependable format you always follow. This ensures all the basic areas are covered.
A dependable format is a good plan. Keep in mind your audience is always changing. Sooner or later your dependable format may come off as a canned sales pitch and it will start to sound like old news. Your examples get outdated; your Powerpoint presentation sports a font that wasn’t even cool in 1989, and the subjects of your jokes are no longer living. You get the picture. Fresh is the taste of today.
How To Stay Fresh
Now information exchange isn’t going anywhere. It’s the core of how we do business together. So it’s up to you, the ‘sales pitcher,’ to stay fresh. Here’s how:
- Pitch To Your Friends & Family – Present your sales pitch to a close friend or family member from time to time. George Herbert once said, “The greatest mirror is an old friend.” You can count on your friends and family to honestly assess your sales pitch. Ask them where you can improve and if your presentation seems fresh and authentic.
- Update Your Examples – Every sales pitch is full of examples, jokes, stories etc. Keep them updated. Keep them relevant. If you read the news or subscribe to magazines you should have no trouble getting fresh ideas all the time. As time goes by you will have a plethora of relevant material to draw from for your diverse audiences.
- Consider Your Audience/Consider Your Location – If you’re going to pitch to a group of young designers at a local pub, it might not be the best time for your 3-piece suit and your LCD projector. Instead, you’ll need to be prepared to deliver your pitch in some casual gear over food and drinks. It’s also common practice to request a ‘list of attendees’ before a meeting.
Call ahead before your next meeting and find out exactly where you’re meeting, who is coming to your meeting and what their specific roles are. If you have even more time to prepare, get online and find out as much as you can about those you are pitching to.
Read their biographies on their company website. This will help you remember names and allow you to tailor your pitch to your audience.
For Example: If you’re meeting that group of designers and animators perhaps your pitch will be presented best with a creative flair. Don’t simply talk, show examples relevant to their world, and tell a story that they might connect with. Use some creativity and color.
- Try Something New – Don’t be afraid to try something new. Take a break from the boardroom. Perhaps you can start your meeting with a tour of the office or the factory. Seeing a company at work can be a trust builder.
For Example: A group of talented animators had to present an idea to an important potential buyer. The usual pitch used storyboards while a member of the design team narrated the story line. But instead of following the usual procedure the animators created a short animated movie of the entire sales pitch in a boardroom setting and made animations of the people attending the meeting.
Once the potential customers stopped laughing and applauding they confidently agreed to the deal. Now keep in mind, there is some risk in any fresh idea. So, just use wisdom. Get permission if it is needed. Make good use of time and treat others with respect.
- Shorten Up – One fabulous way to stay fresh is to shorten up. Everyone’s had to sit through a painfully long presentation. Not only that, James Humes, who has been a speechwriter for five United States presidents says, “Most speakers speak ten minutes too long.” Enough said.
The sales pitch will always be around. It’s your job to keep it fresh. Assess your performance regularly. If you don’t, someone else will. If you are getting bored from talking your sales pitch, chances are others will be too. If you are talking yourself hoarse, then your audience will stop listening. Remember, fresh is the taste of today.