Own a Business? Own Your Sales Pitch
Some small business sales are assigned to an individual or small team of salespeople. In such cases, the business owner may not worry about developing or presenting a sales pitch to would-be customers. However, if he or she is not a master of the sales pitch some potentially lucrative sales opportunities could slip by unfulfilled.
How good are you at explaining, in less than 60 seconds, what your business does and how it benefits potential customers? You may think, well, I'm the owner; I ought to know how to pitch my business. But if you believe winging it in a social or professional setting is the easiest way to go, you're mistaken. There's an art to the small business sales pitch, and getting it right can make the difference between increased revenue and long stretches where less money is coming into your business.
Here some key elements of the sales pitch that every business owner should understand:
Always Know to Whom You're Speaking
This may be less convenient if you're just bumping into someone at a cocktail party, but in general, when you approach a prospect who's expressed interest in your business, you should have a thorough understanding of his or her own business needs. Why? First of all, as Stuart Leung at Salesforce points out, "If you're only espousing why you like the product—that value may be completely lost on the buyer." A generic, one-size-fits-all sales pitch may come across as flat and robotic, with no special appeal to anyone.
With so many ways to arm yourself with knowledge about a prospect before a meeting or phone call, you should never attempt to make your pitch on the fly or without a sense of who you're talking to.
Get It on Paper (or On your Mobile Device)
As an experiment, see if you can encapsulate the value and benefit of your small business in one short paragraph. Writing it out can help you eliminate extraneous information, or improve your focus on one or two essential points. It's also easier to begin memorizing that pitch so it flows easily in a social or professional situation.
Delivering your small business sales pitch is the easy part. The most effective follow-up lies in asking open-ended questions that demonstrate your willingness to really understand what the other person (or business) needs from you. A series of knowledgeable questions indicates to the prospect that you've done your homework and want to drill down to the key areas where you can be of most service. Chances are, they won't have encountered this approach from other salespeople, so you'll be further cementing a favorable impression on them.
Again, advance research prepares you for the inevitable tough questions prospects ask. Without such preparation, you're back to winging it—and the results will likely sabotage your best efforts. "It is unlikely that a client will ask 'generic' questions," note the experts at Under30CEO. "If you skirt around the answer and waffle on, it indicates that you are unsure of what you are talking about."
Aim for a Fruitful Dialogue
The goal of the sales pitch (including asking and answering questions) is to get into a meaningful dialogue about the client's goals and challenges. Your pitch has to lead the way to this beneficial situation. If all goes well, Stuart Leung says, "and you have your ears open, it should feel less like a business presentation and more like a healthy conversation about their business needs."
Assuming the relationship has proceeded in a hopeful manner, don't leave things up in the air. Your sales pitch should always come with a call-to-action of some sort. Not everyone will be ready to buy your product or service today, but the chances of success increase if you make a point of scheduling a follow-up meeting or arrange a follow-up phone call in the near future.
Who can say where your next sales opportunity will come from? Equipped with a surefire sales pitch (one that's adjustable and based on knowledge of potential clients), you'll be ready when that opportunity strikes.