If you’re looking for how to improve a sales pitch, you probably see the same few tips repeated ad nauseum.
Meanwhile, the most effective way to make your pitch better is something you’d probably never guess. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
But first, let me ask you a question…
Have you ever cringed when hearing a salesperson speak? Maybe the better question is how many times have you cringed at one today?
It’s bad enough when you’re on the receiving end of a pushy or unfriendly salesperson, but what about when it’s coming from one of YOUR employees? Where do you even start with the fixes?
We polled over 5,000 people and we’re going to look at what we’ve learned about how you can improve your reps’ sales pitches with positive vibes and AI technology so that your prospects aren’t turning away cringing.
Here’s what we’re going to cover…
How to Improve a Sales Pitch:
Improving a Sales Pitch: It’s All About Good Vibes
Trying to pin down which of your sales team’s pitch problems to fix first can be overwhelming, let alone finding the right words of advice to fix it.
Research shows that talking too fast or monopolizing a conversation can kill a pitch, but there’s something else that can make or break a sale, something a tad more subtle: It’s the “vibe” you put out when you’re speaking.
So, what’s a vibe? It sounds new age-y, but it’s just another way of describing how you are perceived by others when you speak. Are you boring? Confident? Pushy? Those are vibes.
Vibes are generally thought of as positive or negative.
Unsurprisingly, a person who is perceived as confident, captivating, and organized is more likely to close deals than someone who sounds timid, boring, and confusing.
The team at VoiceVibes recently performed a study that demonstrates this point. We gathered thousands of people to rate speech samples — over 133,440 responses.
Raters listened to audio clips from individuals and rated them on 20 positive and negative vibe characteristics. We then asked if they’d buy a product from the person speaking. We found that when positive vibes were extremely apparent, people claimed that they would buy a product from the speaker well over 70% of the time.
Some vibes had an even larger impact. When salespeople had a captivating vibe, there was a 10-fold jump (8% to 83%) in willingness to buy.
People were 13 times more likely to say that they wanted to buy from a person whose voice was rated as extremely confident versus not at all confident.
These stats show that sounding confident can be the difference between crushing it or being crushed.
Perhaps the most intriguing takeaway from our study was that, when it comes to selling, it is three times worse to sound boring than to sound arrogant. When a speaker sounded extremely arrogant, 18% still said they would buy something from them, whereas when the speaker sounded extremely boring, only 6% said they would buy from them!
What’s the good news for you and your sales staff? Consciously working to incorporate positive voice vibes is one thing you can improve now that will increase the likelihood of your message connecting with customers… and customers who feel connected are the ones who buy.
Now, let’s look at three ways you can improve your reps’ sales pitches.
1. Incorporate Positive Vibes
So how can we exude positive vibes?
We’ve all been on the giving and receiving end of a bad pitch, and our study shows that even an average consumer can tell the difference. Everyone knows when someone is likable or compelling.
So the question remains, in this day and age, with high turnover and less time for coaching, how can we help reps improve?
A casual critique can sometimes do more harm than good, especially with sensitive workers.
The way to get reps to the next level is coaching — assuming your team already knows the subject matter and basic sales techniques. You will need speech coaches, trainers, and our favorite… artificial intelligence (AI) tools.
A professional will likely analyze a speech/sales pitch for the following points:
- Clarity: Understanding the product on a deeper level and sticking to the messaging will help the speaker articulate it better. An anecdote or story about similar customers helps create buy-in, but an unrelated story can muddle the meaning.
Clarity is often about messaging, but sometimes it can simply be an issue of not speaking clearly or not projecting. Speaking from the diaphragm in lieu of the throat can help create a more powerful, coherent sound.
- Organization: Making a cheat sheet with bullet points can give your thoughts structure from the beginning. Also, organizing a pitch is a great opportunity to “trim the fat,” as limiting the pitch to main points will help with pacing (i.e., talking too fast).
- Persuasion: If the speaker is convinced about the benefits of a product or service, it will help them convince others. Again, storytelling is a great persuasive tool.
- Captivating/Appeal: Setting the stage with a powerful opening helps hook prospects from the get-go.
- Confidence: Filler words are a sign of not being confident or prepared. Practicing the pitch several times will decrease filler words because the speaker will naturally begin to memorize it — they won’t have to “um” and “ah” in the quest for the right words.
Knowing the information and controlling their tone will give them a more controlled, commanding (i.e., confident) vibe.
These points will give reps a starting point towards perfecting their vibe and increasing their confidence, but it’s only the beginning. Knowing what to work on is one thing — mastery is another.
The key to incorporating positive vibes (and reducing negative ones) is practice, practice, practice.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
With expert feedback, the salesperson can practice the pitch as many times as it takes to achieve the right tone and vibe.
Just like a pitcher practices a baseball pitch until it’s muscle memory, practicing a business pitch means working until it feels natural for the speaker.
Step one for a pitcher is getting the ball from the glove to the catcher, but with practice it becomes more about the flow, subtlety, and confidence of the movement. Ditto for business — once your sales reps have practiced enough not to worry about what to say and how to say it, they’ll be able to spend more energy having a real conversation with the prospective client.
Being confident, prepared, and relaxed with the client has the benefit of naturally helping to give your rep the right kind of vibe.
3. Let Machines Do the Work: AI Tools
Sales training is in demand in the U.S. Over $70 billion is spent on training every year. According to Highspot, high-performing companies are twice as likely to provide their sales teams with ongoing training.
Despite the popularity, finding time to listen to a bunch of practice sessions, providing valuable coaching tips, and following up to ensure improvement is a tall order. Not to mention that sales roleplay can just be plain awkward for both managers and employees.
On top of that, the value of speech practice is largely dependent on the mood of the rep and coach. A bad, tired, or hangry mood can ruin an already precarious endeavor.
Enter AI. Use a machine to do the work.
AI coaching tools don’t get snippy when they’re overworked, they have all the time in the world. They don’t care how bad it is; they’ll listen to your pitch ad nauseam. AI provides automated, quantifiable feedback which you can track and measure.
Receiving judgement-free feedback from AI coaching tools through trial and error is a great way to help your sales reps become master communicators.
Your team can practice new messages, or important responses to questions, over and over again using a practice tool that provides objective feedback to help them find their most confident, engaging, and natural voice.
After each speech, the AI will analyze every component and tell you immediately which specific parts of the pitch need improvement.
If you incorporate an AI tool into your training, you won’t be alone. According to Salesforce, sales professionals are more than two times as likely to use AI for selling guidance, and AI usage for sales teams will more than double in the next three years.
It’s easy to see why when you see the variety of speech attributes that AI can examine:
- Strength of Opening: How enthusiastic the speaker sounded in the first 30 seconds of their speech/recording.
- Clarity: How clearly the software can understand what the speaker said. It may be affected by articulation, background noise, or use of jargon.
- Pace: If the speaker’s average word speed was within an “ideal” range for natural speaking.
- Pausing: If the speaker’s talk-to-pause ratio was within a recommended range. (Pausing range will vary depending on if they are speaking to a large convention or trying to talk dramatically.)
- Upspeak: If the speaker’s average count of rising inflections is within an acceptable range to not sound ditsy.
- Word Spotting: How often the speaker said “uh,” “um,” “like,” etc.
- Variety of Volume: If there is too much or too little varying of voice projection.
- Variety of Pace: If the speaker is fumbling or reading which can sound boring and dead.
- Variety of Pitch: How much the speaker varies his or her tone so as not to sound monotonous, but also not confusing.
- Vibes: Predictive algorithms predict how the speech would be perceived by an audience in all 20 vibe categories, listed above.
Depending on your evaluation, AI-powered practice tools can serve as a coach, giving useful tips on how a speaker can improve.
For example the AI tool may say: “This speaker needs the most work on pace. Limit the speech to a few main points so they can discuss everything without crowding out the important message.”
Some tools are also collaborative, letting you track your employees’ results and progress and give your own expert tips to help them improve. Plus, using an AI tool saves you the time and money required to ask an employee to sit and practice with a sales rep.
The research shows that a customer’s willingness to purchase is based heavily on emotions, which are in turn influenced by the salesperson’s vibes.
Whether you need to train a new employee on company messaging, require all reps to master new talking points around a new product, or help senior team members improve their speaking, AI tools are increasingly becoming the go-to solution.
If you want to improve your rep’s pitches and messaging, the place to start is by improving vibe, and AI tools are the ideal solution to do that.