Financial Data
Updated 21 Sep 2020

How to develop a sales pitch

Without the sales pitch, there can be no sale. The perfect sales pitch combines an understanding of the prospect’s needs, product knowledge and persuasion.

Without the sales pitch, there can be no sale. The perfect sales pitch combines an understanding of the prospect’s needs, product knowledge and persuasion.

To make the sale, you need to have the right sales pitch that will make the customer want to purchase. This means that you really have to know your product and make it exciting as you persuade customers that this is something that they need to buy. The perfect sales pitch combines an understanding of the prospect’s needs, product knowledge and persuasion.

This guide will help you to compile a sales pitch that demonstrates your awareness of the customer’s requirements, as well as your expertise, confidence and trustworthiness. The best sales presentations describe the salient features of the offer, and then relate them to how they impact the customer.


What is a sales pitch?

A sales pitch is all about communicating the benefits of your product or service in such a way that prospects or customers want your solution to their problem now.An effective sales pitch is a dialogue in which you ask questions, listen to the prospect, and offer them a solution to a problem. Although it may be delivered in a formal or informal manner, it’s a planned presentation of a product or service, which is designed to initiate and close a sale.


The Phone Pitch

Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting, but it’s not always possible due to time or logistics. However, phone calls can be a great first step when it comes to approaching prospects. Phone calls with potential buyers needn’t be a pure sales pitch. Instead of focusing on making the sale, rather focus on getting the prospect to make the time to speak to you. It’s advisable to keep the call short. Your goals should be to introduce yourself to the prospect, assess their interest and set up another meeting, preferably face-to-face.


Top Tips

  • Don’t try to tell the whole story. Think of the call as an elevator pitch. In no more than one minute, provide a short summary to quickly and simply define your product, service or organisation and its value proposition. Sum up the unique aspects of your service or product in a way that excites others. 
  • Elicit emotion. When you're pitching, you must provide the buyer with a positive emotional experience. In other words, your goal is to get your buyer to think: "This is a product I’d like to use or I service I’d like to try.”
  • Before you pick up the phone, smile. Studies have shown when you smile, people can hear it in your voice. Nobody wants to listen to somebody who sounds like a robot.
  • Embrace rejection. The more you do it, the easier rejection gets. See how long you can make it through your pitch before you get a “no” and keep practicing.
  • Overcoming objections. Keep a list of all the objections you hear when you pitch. Figure out a great response to each and tailor this to each pitch.
  • Know the “buy” signals. If the person on the other end of the phone talks to you for more than 10 seconds, that’s a buy signal. If they ask you a question or want clarification on the call, that’s a buy signal. If you leave a message and they call you back, that’s a buy signal. A buy signal shows interest and intent to purchase.
  • Close the deal. If you pick up on a buy signal, go in for the close. Ask, “What additional information do you need from me to consider this?”

The face-to-face pitch

There really is nothing like the in-person, face-to-face meeting when it comes to any kind of high level sales effort. The experts agree that when you are selling a premium product or service, it’s vital to secure a meeting with your prospect so that you can present your sales pitch. When you do get a “sit down” face to face with your prospect, you will need to further substantiate what you have presented in your elevator or phone pitch.


Sales collateral

Written marketing and sales material and visual aids help to make a sale almost as much as your speech. These include printed and electronic (PDF) sales support materials such as advertisements, direct mail, brochures, posters, and PowerPoint presentations, all of which are used to support the sales of a product or service. These sales aids are intended to make the sales effort easier and more effective. The company usually presents itself by way of its collateral to enhance its brand. This means that it’s critical to ensure your material is well designed and that the content is correct and error-free. Nothing says “unprofessional” more than a marketing brochure filled with grammar errors or a presentation with incorrect spelling.


Ensure your sales tools have the desired effect

Do your sales tools work? According to recent research conducted by data analysis and advisory company the Corporate Executive Board, most of them don't. The study shows that the vast majority of sales collateral has next-to-no-impact on the buying decision process. Other studies put the figure at 85% or higher.

Here are some points to consider when creating marketing collateral and presentations:


Start with the goal in mind

Too few sales tools are designed with the end in mind. They have typically been produced because the norm is to create a brochure every time a new product is launched. Rather start producing material that is designed from the ground up to address a real need in your prospect’s buying decision process. By simplifying your collateral in this way, you will create documents and tools that you and your team will use because they work.


Ask five questions

  1. How is this going to be used? Determine what stage in the buying process the material is designed to facilitate.
  2. What are we trying to achieve? What goal is this piece of collateral intended to achieve? What’s the call to action? What are the desired outcomes?
  3. What messages are required? What key messages are you trying to convey? What assumptions should you make about the prospect’s existing knowledge or attitude?
  4. How should the message be delivered? What’s the most effective vehicle for delivering the information? What format is most likely to maximise understanding and cause the prospect to take the desired action?
  5. How are you currently communicating this message? If your business is working, it’s likely that you have developed tools to sell it. What have you learnt from this?


Less is more

Take a “less is more” approach rather create a smaller amount of truly useful, well-targeted pieces. Your prospects will respond by being that much more willing to move forward with you to the next stage of their buying process. Focusing on outcomes, rather than activity, is key.


Structuring your pitch

Before you develop a pitch, you need to do your homework. As a salesperson, you need to know a lot about your buyer, so you can address how valuable your product or service might be to them. If you can’t identify the value and what it means for the client, the buyer is not going to give you any time or attention.

Identify your objectives. Salespeople need to think big and be optimistic. Set action-oriented goals before you pick up the phone to call the prospective client. Decide, for example, ‘At the end of the this call I want them to agree to meet with me,’ or ‘At the end of this call they will buy from me. Doing this will determine the information you will need to ensure you get some time with the person, which will lead to a sale. Your goal is to get the prospect’s attention and agreement to have a discussion about how you can help them with their specific need. With sufficient preparation and specific goals in mind, you’ll be more effective in the sales process.


Preparation and rehearsal

Making a successful sales pitch begins long before the presentation itself. In addition to strategic direction and careful preparation, meticulous rehearsal is a must. A confident, stylish presentation will ensure that your pitch stands out from the crowd. No matter how experienced you are as a salesperson, you must always practice a new pitch. You may have written the perfect pitch on paper, but you need to know that it flows when it comes to life. Take the time to practice by yourself in front of a mirror. Get a practice audience of family or business associates. Work your presentation so that your points flow seamlessly from one to another and your PowerPoint slides do the same. Learn from the constructive criticism you receive from your practice participants.


Delivering your pitch

Ask questions. To begin the pitch, start by asking questions. It is said that a salesperson should talk 20% of the time and listen the other 80%. What you want to do during the pitch process is to uncover the prospect’s needs, understand these needs, and show them how whatever you’re selling can help them do whatever they’re trying to accomplish, or fix a problem they have. When you talk, you need to tell the prospect how you can help. Don’t talk about the functions of your product and try to sell them on the features or characteristics. Instead, sell the benefits or the value of the product. Can it cut costs, reduce time, and increase profits? If you have an example of how it’s worked for another client, talk about how you’ve helped and what the results have been.

Don’t go into the pitch thinking you are just going to make the sale. Rather go in with the idea that you are going to have a conversation and build a relationship with the prospect. That way you’ll have a much better success rate.

It’s important to plan and deliver a structured pitch rather than just winging it. However, it’s equally important to have the ability to adjust your presentation to suit your audience. Play around with your pitch and look at several ways of delivering it. Make your pitch brief enough that it does not drag on too long. Allow some details to be left unsaid so the client will ask questions. This will also allow you to ask questions to get to the direct point of the potential client's problems and formulate an answer just for them.


Ask for the sale

Perfect business pitches are only perfect if they achieve the goal. Remember to ask for the sale and then your perfect business pitch will be a success.