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What Makes a Good Sales Pitch? (What We Learned from Analyzing 500 Sales Calls)

What makes a good sales pitch?

During my 15-year career in sales development, I’ve built and seen many sales pitches. I’ve also been pitched by numerous salespeople — some good and some bad.

So what separates the good from the bad?

To find out, our Training and Development Manager Joseph Grieves, analyzed over 500 sales calls in a 6-month period. What we learned was that ALL the best-converting sales pitches include the exact same elements.

If you know what these elements are, you can easily replicate their success.

Keep reading to learn what those elements are — and how you can use them to craft your own killer sales pitch.

Birst, though, let’s address the elephant in the room…

Scripted vs. Freestyle Sales Pitches

The debate is ongoing.

Some organizations swear by the effectiveness of a sales pitch script that reps can read word-for-word. Others feel strongly that a freestyle pitch allows reps to initiate a more natural conversation with customers.

Both are true. The sweet spot is actually somewhere in the middle.

RELATED: Does Your Sales Pitch Suck? Here’s How To Fix It (Advice From A CEO)

The benefit of starting with a sales script is that you can plan exactly what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. After some time of presenting the pitch, however, it becomes second nature. It will not only sound more natural, but you will also be able to improvise and embellish when you freestyle the script.

Now, let’s look at how to make a good sales pitch…

6 Essential Elements in Every Good Sales Pitch

Keep in mind, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. But if you can answer prospects’ most basic questions in your sales pitch, you’ll have a great jumping off point to pitch effectively.

Based on our study of 500 sales calls, these basics include 6 elements that MUST be included in your sales pitch:

  1. Why you
  2. Who your company is
  3. Pain points
  4. Benefits
  5. Validation and referrals
  6. Close

Let’s break it down:

1. Why You & Why Your Organization

Let’s be honest, when someone you don’t know calls you, the first thing you want to know is “what do you want from me”, right? So, get that out straight at the beginning of the conversation.

You can immediately separate yourself from other salespeople by showing that you have done your research on the person or company you are speaking to. Useful information like this can easily be found on LinkedIn, Social Media, Data providers or even Google.

“I know that you are responsible for ____ at your company.”

“I know you’re currently looking at projects in relation to ____ at the moment.”

“I read an article you posted online about ____”

“I can see you were recently promoted to the position of ____.”

A powerful way of starting a conversation is by using a referral from someone else within the target company.

“The reason for calling is that I had a conversation with your colleague David about ________ and he told me you would be the best person to speak to in regards to what we are able to do for your company”

Only use this if you have actually spoken to someone! Don’t lie and say you have spoken to someone when you have not. It is dishonest, you will get found out and it is not a good way to start a business relationship. If you can’t do any of the above, then simply say:

“The reason for calling is I know you would be the best person to speak to about ________ as I understand this falls under your responsibility at your company. “

RELATED: How to Nail Your Meeting Opening to Influence the Outcome (Script Inside)

2. Who Your Company Is & What They Do

That is often one of the hardest parts to formulate in your pitch.

Most salespeople focus far too much on who their company is and what they do.

This needs to be very simple and only needs to be one or two sentences:

“We are specialists in XYZ and we help enterprises solve _________.

How would you describe what your company does in a nutshell? Has someone already figured it out? Here is a clue: ask the marketing folks. They are great in boiling the message down to what really matters.

The simpler and shorter, the better.

3. Pain Points

Most technology is born out of the idea that there is a problem you need to solve.

The technology is created to fix the problem, and you should highlight that.

Clearly describe the pain (problems) your prospect is experiencing that your solution solves. Keep it to a maximum of 3 problems.

“The problem companies like yours have is you are likely using multiple products to ________. This is not only very expensive but it also means you are not getting ______ because of ______ and ______. ”

If you want to make the pitch more conversational, this might be a good place to add in multiple-choice questions. Something like:

“What would you say your biggest challenges are in regard to _____ at the moment? Is it more about reducing cost or increasing visibility or both?”

This type of question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no, and it helps you to qualify that your product/service is relevant.

RELATED: Most Effective Product Demos Tell a Story: Here’s How to Tell Yours

4. Benefits

Benefits. Not features.

It’s very important to make that distinction, because in the beginning, people aren’t necessarily focused on what your solution does or how it does it. They’re more interested in the outcome.

RELATED: Sales Persuasion: Recognizing and Beating Cognitive Biases

What are the main benefits your product/service will bring to the company you are speaking to? Will it make them more productive? Will it save them time or make them more efficient? Will is save them or make them more money?

This is the most important part of your pitch. This is where you will be able to convince the prospect that it is worth their time to look at what you are offering.

“Our solution uses _______ to provide the best and most ______ on the market. The main benefits are not only that you get ______, but that we can also reduce the time your team spends managing this area by up to 30x, and we can typically save you 40% on costs.”

If you don’t know what the benefits of your product or service are, you will not be able to pitch it effectively.

Try, where possible, to back up what you’re saying with facts, figures, and percentages.

5. Validation and References

An excellent way of validating what you’re saying is to reference companies/organizations who are current customers. Even better, reference customers who are direct competitors of the company/organization you are pitching.

“We have been able to help companies like Coca Cola, Pepsi, and Starbucks be much more efficient and save huge sums of money.”

But remember not to scare prospects with your references. If you are speaking to an early stage start-up, telling them that one of your clients is Google will scare them — they may think they can’t afford you. So, choose your references wisely and plan before you hit the phone.

6. Close

There are varying opinions on how you should close a sales engagement touchpoint. Some say you should ask for a date and a time that would be suitable for your next engagement. The problem is this gets the prospect thinking about whether that appointment is viable, based on the work they are currently doing.

What we have found to be more successful is reiterating the benefits and asking the prospects about the value it would bring to their company. In other words, sell the value of the meeting.

“What I would like to do is arrange a time in the next few weeks for my colleague to show you how we have helped companies like yours specifically. What would be the benefit for you/your company if we could save you the kind of time and money I mentioned?”

OR

“Would it be worth your time to see what this looks like for you at your company?”

With a question like this, the prospect is more likely to think about the issues they’re struggling with and what they will get from having the meeting you are trying to arrange.

If someone’s going to take up their time talking about a service or product, they want to know the time will be well-spent, whether they buy your product or not.

RELATED: 7 Successful Sales Pitch Examples and Why They Work

This Is What Makes A Good Sales Pitch

 

Okay, so now you have the 6 elements that the best sales pitches include. With this information, you have everything you need to put your sales pitch together.

The only thing that’s missing is a narrative.

Remember, a good sales pitch is like good storytelling. It’s got to have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

So write your intro, then weave together a narrative that includes these six elements. Not only will you create a stellar story, you’ll have a killer sales pitch.

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