If you want to gain more traction for your startup and get more signups for your product or service, then these tried-and-tested steps to building a sales pitch will be invaluable. Even if you need to sell your idea to an investor or convince a talented developer to join your team, your pitch might just be the most important thing to focus on right now.
Focus on How You Say What You Say
When crafting a pitch, most people spend a lot of time and energy on the content and the words they use, but not enough time on how they deliver the message. Your body language and tone of voice need to communicate enthusiasm and confidence.
Imagine somebody who doesn’t understand a single word of English is in the room with you, watching you speak. That person should get the impression you believe in what you are saying, know what you are talking about and are enjoying talking about it. Make sure your body language and tonality make people want to listen. Practice in front of a mirror, in front of friends or in front of a camera.
Get in the Zone
Feel great when you deliver the pitch. Most people feel negative towards selling or pitching an idea because they’re anxious about the outcome. Do whatever is necessary to put yourself in a great emotional state before you deliver your pitch. Some people visualize their goals to feel inspired and upbeat. Some people work out. Others eat healthy food or listen to music they love and dance. Do what works best for you.
Ask to Understand
Want to know the real secret to success in sales? Empathy. You need to understand your customers’ wants and needs, their challenges and problems, so you can help them in the best possible way.
How to gain this kind of understanding? By asking questions. Ask them about their work. Ask them about their situation. Ask them about their frustrations. Ask them about their ambitions. Do this until you know what they care about and understand what they need. Only then should you sell them the right solution, and only if it truly is the best solution for them.
Many years ago, I attended a sales training that taught me the power of asking questions. It was the most important lesson I ever learned in sales. This is what sales is about: ask the right questions. Listen.
Present Solutions, Not Features
As a founder, you probably love the details of your product or service. But your customers aren’t interested in your product. They are only interested in what your product will do for them: How will it solve their problems? How will it help them to achieve their goals faster and with less effort? How will it save them time or money? How will it protect them from risks?
Always translate your product’s features into your customers’ benefits. Don’t focus on the bells and whistles, but what they do for them.
Most people fail to prepare for objections. You want to identify the 10 to 20 most common objections and prepare answers to them. Your answers should be clear and concise.
Rehearse your answers until they roll off your tongue. When you encounter an objection in a sales conversation, you won’t need to think about which words to use. Instead, focus on answering their question in a comforting manner. Keep eye contact. Nonverbally communicate expertise to create trust.
If you prepare for objections, you will look forward to addressing them. Most salespeople fear and try to avoid objections. Great salespeople do the opposite.
Ask for the Close
This step is all about confidence. Rehearse your close so you can deliver it smoothly. It should be a natural progression from your conversation, so that asking for purchase is the next logical step. Make your prospects feel as confident about your solution as you are. It’s your job to guide your prospect through every stage of the buying process.
Once a prospect has made a buying decision internally, they will want to make sure to get the best deal they can. It’s negotiation time. There are two simple rules to negotiating:
- Know your price. Sometimes if it’s necessary, you can offer a client better terms or lower your price. But know your numbers in advance and decide at what point you just walk away from the deal. If a prospect can’t afford to pay what you are worth, he’s not the right fit. Be willing to walk away from the deal.
- Be quiet. Use the power of silence to your advantage. Let the other side do the talking. If you keep your mouth shut at the right times, the client will often start to negotiate on your behalf. It’s absurd and illogical, but it works.
Everything we have covered before now are just 20 percent of the sales process. Eighty percent of all deals are made in the follow-up. Be consistent and reliable. Follow through on your word. Your margin of negligence in the follow-up is between staying true to your word and over delivering. Keep following up until you either get a yes or a definite no. But never ever interpret a lack of response or any other kind of message as a no. Winning in sales happens in the follow-up. Be relentless.
In sales, you often need to brush yourself off and keep on going. Dealing with rejection is a core skill. You need the emotional stability to take a “no” and still go into the next meeting filled with positive energy and enthusiasm.
The number of people who won’t buy will always be larger than the number of people who will. You will encounter more noes than yeses. That’s the way this game works.
Ask for Referrals
This is one of the most important steps to creating a truly scalable sales process, so make it part of your pitch. When a prospect has already made a buying decision, say: “Great, but I can’t let you buy just yet. Right now, we are a startup, which means we focus all our energy, time and resources on delivering as much value as we can to our customers. We don’t have a big marketing budget. If you are happy with our product, please recommend us to others who you think might benefit from our solution as well.”
Put these 10 steps into practice, and you will be able to craft and deliver an amazing sales pitch for your product, service or idea.
Steli Efti is the co-founder and CEO of Close.io and an advisor to several startups and entrepreneurs.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.