It was once considered acceptable to use a “one-size-fits-all” sales pitch with prospects, regardless of their business or industry. Like so much else in today’s marketplace, that sales practice is obsolete.
Any sales team that still utilizes a generic sales pitch will quickly itself out of the running for a possible sale. The emphasis today is on forging a connection with the buyer, which in turn relies upon a more sensitive, personalized sales approach.
Nevertheless, certain sales pitch mistakes persist. If your salesperson or team is making these mistakes, they could be missing out on sales and never know why. Watch for six common errors and correct them before missing out on another profitable deal:
- A lack of preparedness. With the abundance of online resources available online, there’s no excuse for a salesperson to come to a prospect meeting unprepared. Not knowing the ins and outs of the prospect’s industry—their challenges and opportunities, pain points and growth strategies—can instantly disqualify a salesperson and damage your company’s reputation.
- Not getting to the point. In the past, prospects often wanted a little small talk before getting underway. Not anymore. In an effort to “connect,” a salesperson may go on too long with questions about the weather, the prospect’s family life or inconsequential details about their own business. That can kill a sales pitch before it even gets underway. Recognize the difference “between creating rapport between yourself and who you’re selling to and small talk that delays what you’re there to accomplish,” advises sales coach Stephanie Chung. Instead, devote time to “telling your prospect why they absolutely cannot live without your service rather than telling them what they already know.”
- Overwhelming the prospect with data. At the other end of the spectrum is the salesperson’s inability to “quit while you’re ahead.” In this scenario, he or she overwhelms the prospect with data points and other information, thus displaying an unintentional disregard for their precious time.
- Not listening. More deals are closed when the salesperson listens, rather than talks. Active listening clues you into a prospect’s genuine needs, while offering clues as to how to better frame your sales pitch while in the moment. When you fail to hear what the prospect says, or neglect to grasp the point of the questions they’re asking, you miss a valuable opportunity to hone in on precisely what they hope to get from you and your company.
- Overlooking the impact of your body language. A good salesperson knows how to “read the room.” If, for example, your extravagant hand gestures (designed to back up a key point) are making the prospect uncomfortable, rein yourself in. Don’t invade someone else’s personal space or make any type of physical contact (touching an arm, for example), as even this friendly gesture can be misconstrued. By closely observing the prospect’s body language, you can adjust your own to better match the mood of the conversation.
- Neglecting the impact of your own appearance. Part of your salesperson’s preparation should include a keen grasp of the prospect company’s culture. With this knowledge in hand, it’s imperative to dress appropriately. Showing up at a “maverick” startup firm in a suit and tie may send the message that your company is far too conservative to do business with. In the same respect, wearing a tie with cartoon characters to a sales meeting at a bank suggests you’re “too out there” for their needs.
A well-crafted sales pitch involves preparation, sensitivity to the prospect’s culture and a willingness to be flexible. With these concepts in mind, your salesperson will likely encounter more success, rather than rejection, when approach a potential new customer