Getting a sales pitch right is incredibly tricky and there are many things that you need to consider. Even the slightest moment of uncertainty or hesitation can cost you the customer’s trust, and you need to be able to think on your feet in order to respond to difficult questions.
The benefits of having refined sales skills also go beyond dealing with customers. You can transfer these skills of persuasion into other areas of your professional life, for example, when dealing with employees, suppliers or investors.
While the gift of the gab does come more naturally to some, the good news is that it is definitely possible to improve your verbal communication with a little preparation.
Believe in what you’re selling
If you don’t believe in what you’re selling it will be glaringly obvious to your customer. Spend some time with a pen and paper listing all of the positive attributes of your product or service.
Think about who might benefit from it in what kind of situation. Writing all of this down will allow you to look back over it and appreciate all the great things about what your business does.
Learn to control your voice
The tone of your voice can make a huge difference in a sales pitch. One of the worst things you can do is talk too fast. Talking quickly will give off an impression of nervousness, which in turn may undermine your credibility. Practice pacing your speaking voice when you are alone until you find a pace that you feel sounds natural.
Listen and respond
A huge mistake that many sales people make is to lecture their customers without pausing to let them contribute. Remember that a sales pitch is a conversation, not a presentation, and customers may come to feel bored or even insulted if you simply speak at them for an extended period of time.
Make sure that you make eye contact regularly, and if they look as though they want to say something then allow a pause in which they can interject.
Prepare for questions
There will always be questions from customers in regards to the things you have explained in your sales pitch. Some of these will be easy to answer and others more difficult.
Being unable to answer a customer’s question is one of the worst positions you can find yourself in, and it is advisable to prepare yourself for the most difficult questions you can imagine. If you’re struggling to think of what these might be, ask a friend or colleague to role play with you.
Know your close
The most common place to lose a customer is just before or during your close. If you leave a pause before you attempt to make your close it can give them an opportunity to thank you and walk away.
The best way to close your sales pitch is to make a judgement call on how well you think the sale is going and carry on accordingly. A customer who seems interested may just need a simple inquiry about whether or not they wanted to purchase, whereas with a customer who seems sceptical you may be better off asking if they have further questions.
This article is part of our monthly SME Pathways newsletter.