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How to close a deal

How to Create the Perfect Sales Pitch

Sales pitches are also called “elevator pitches” because you should be able to tell the story in the time it takes you to ride an elevator with a prospect — a maximum of 1-2 minutes.

Salespeople are past the point of giving prospects an hour-long presentation to sell products or services. Nobody has that kind of time and, to be honest, if you need an hour to relay your value proposition, you’re doing it wrong.

Storybrand’s Donald Miller shows the structure of a good sales pitch in his book, Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen. He explains the elements of a pitch in a very short list:

  1. Character – Who are your customers and what do they do? (i.e., accountants working in the United States and Europe)
  2. Problem – What problem do they have right now? (i.e., they are always busy and Excel spreadsheets for reporting are hard to manage)
  3. Plan – How does your product or service help them? (i.e., your company has designed a data visualization platform that’s easy to set up and automates busywork)
  4. Success – What does success look like for your customer? (i.e., they get to spend more time with their family/more time with important customers and less time working on reports)

“Short” is key when discussing sales pitches. Ideally, your pitch should be a one-liner summarizing what your company does, how they do it, and for whom. And this is not just a requirement for sales reps. Anyone in your company — from the CEO to sales consultants needs to know your one-line sales pitch by heart.

For my company, InsideSales.com, the one-liner would be: “We help salespeople build and close more pipeline faster using artificial intelligence.”

The Sales Pitch Framework

This is the one-line version, but if you have time to properly expand and work on a conversation, touch on points of interest. Here’s a framework you can use for building your elevator pitch:

  1. Problem: Start with a statement or question about the problem you solve and share eye-opening statistics. Answer the why.
  2. Value Statement: Share a very clear, concise statement of value. Be action-oriented and outcome focused. Avoid using jargon. Share benefits.
  3. How We Do It: Highlight unique differentiators and explain what you do.
  4. Proof Points: Provide clear reference examples and list recognizable achievements. Share industry validation and awards.
  5. Customer Stories: Share customer examples and successes. Tell emotional and personalized customer stories. Make it real and tangible.
  6. Engaging Question: Close the pitch with an open-ended question creating a space to have a conversation.

Many companies use success stories in their pitches to ensure the sale. Name-dropping really works, so be sure to use that to your advantage. And if your product is small or light enough to keep in your pocket, you should always have one on-hand to show your prospect.

I always stress the need for a concise sales pitch. So keep it free of professional jargon, don’t get into the weeds and be sure to talk more about your prospect and their problems than yourself.

Nothing’s more off-putting than a bragging salesperson talking about themself, their company, or their services. That’s what I call the “me monster.” The actor in your story is the customer, not you — period.

Distribution matters

Lastly, presentation and distribution is everything. You need to deliver your sales pitch to the right person at the right time with the right tools on hand (like a demo, or free trial, or presentation).

The sale starts with your list of contacts. Define your list and personas, know their correct contact information, get an introduction, and make sure you contact them at a time of day when they’re likely to respond. This is where intelligent sales technology comes in.

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