The Sales Pitch

All great sales people are masters of the sales pitch. The best way to become a master of the sales pitch is to study the all time greats and then practice. The term sales pitch actually covers many of the steps in the sales process.

Cold calling is the first sales pitch. When you cold call a company, you are actually making a pitch. With cold calling, you are not always pitching for a sale on the spot. You are often pitching for initial acceptance and for the opportunity to take the next step in the sales process. What you say when you cold call and how you say it will greatly effect your outcome. It is like a mini sales pitch.

An initial sales meeting or presentation is the most popular definition of a sales pitch. A big reason for this is that a buying decision can often be made in this type of setting. Depending on what you sell, sometimes the sales presentation is the entire sales process. Back in the early 90's I actually went through the sales training program for Thermal Guard home replacement windows. It was a first class program. I owned my own sign business back then and I was a sales training junkie. I could not get enough. I read the books of all the sales masters and thought leaders. Incase you are new to selling and don't already know, the sales thought leaders are Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins, Og Mandino, Ben Franklin, Donald Trump, Joe Girrard, Napoleon Hill, Abe Lincoln, Vance Packard, J. Paul Getty, and David Ogilvy, just to name a few. With Zig and Ogilvy being tied in my opinion for the best pitchman who ever lived. (With PT Barnum not far behind.)

To this day I am still in awe at the precision presentation (Pitch) that was taught in the Thermal Guard program. It was pure rhythem and art. I stayed with the program long enough to get to tag along with an experienced Thermal Guard as he did his pitch in front of a real live prospect. It was a retired couple in Bethel CT with a modest home and most likely a fixed income. When he got to the part where he gave them the price, I was not sure if the man was going to drop dead from the shock or throw us out of his house, but something else happened. He first let out a loud howl and then said why do you have to charge so much for windows? Now I don't know if this rep could handle all questions and objections this well, or if this was just the perfect question, but he did not miss a beat in explaining to the retired homeowner exactly why these windows were so darn expensive. And you know what? He gave all the right reasons that the man would need to hear to justify spending $18,000 on windows for his modest home. That may not seem all that expensive to you today, but back in 1991, you could get a good set of replacement windows anywhere for less than a third of that price. Back then, the couple's entire home was probably not worth more than $150,000. Most people would not be able to sell (or pitch) $18,000 worth of windows to a retired couple, but this was a world-class sales presentation and a very good salesman who made that sale that day. I have been a better sales person ever since that (free) training (they actually paid me) and have always looked to emulate that world-class pitch.

For those of us who do not sell during an initial presentation, closing becomes the pitch. This is where your prospect has your proposal or estimate and you are looking for a buying decision. This is a pitch the same as the cold call and the presentation, but this is the most important. This is where money changes hands. In this pitch you what you up against. You must prove the value of your offer. You must come across as an honest and trustworthy individual who is looking to make a fair deal. You must prove that what you are providing in exchange for the money you want to charge is the best option over all of the other things the prospect could do with that money. This is what Zig Ziglar would call "where the rubber hits the road."

So what makes a great sales pitch?
A great sales pitch requires a confident, professional sales person with complete knowledge of what they are selling. Prospects need to be convinced that what you are offering is worth buying. The only way to do that is to prove your point and be believable. The best way to be believable is to state facts that make good sense. False claims and too-good-to-be-true promises will not build confidence in you or your offer. Just stick to the true facts. There are almost always multiple reasons why people agree to buy what you are selling. Unfortunately, everybody has their own reasons why they will or will not buy from you. Your job is to uncover those reasons and stick to the facts and benefits related to those reasons. If prospect A buys because of X and Y, that does not mean that prospect B is going to care about X or Y. You need to figure out what prospect B wants. A good sales presentation is FLEXIBLE.

If you know exactly what you are going to say before you get to know your prospects wants and needs, your presentation will only appeal to around 25% of your prospects. This does not mean that you will sell to 25% of your prospects, it means that you won't even stand a chance with 75% of them. The 25% figure comes from the fact that there are 4 major and very different personality types and each one will respond to different criteria. I do not have time to explain them all here right now, but I will look to add the definitions down the road. For now, try doing a web search for "DISC personality types." You should find an in-depth explanation. Understanding the personality types, being able to recognize them and presenting to them accordingly can improve your results better than anything else you can learn about sales. However, even without this knowledge, you can improve your sales pitch and improve your results dramatically by simply knowing your product or service inside and out and listening to hear what is important to the prospect in front of you. Then tailor your sales pitch to suit the audience. A good example is if you were selling cars. One prospect may be interested in luxury, while another with safety and a third with gas mileage and a fourth with reliability. How many of the four will respond to a sales pitch that is mostly focused on the fantastic safety features of your vehicles? That's right 25%.

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