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Tips for Crafting the Perfect Sales Pitch
As a business person, you know that being able to pitch sales is necessary. But if you're thinking of selling as the old, pushy style of door-to-door salesmen, you've got it all backwards. The world of sales has dramatically changed since mobile devices and the Internet have risen to prominence, and that old style of sales isn't necessary, or even preferred anymore.
Let's look at how to sell without sounding like a salesperson.
Talk Like Yourself
When you're trying to interest a customer in a product, the worst thing you can do is sound scripted. Today's consumer can smell a hard sales pitch a mile away. They are so bombarded with what experts like Seth Godin call intrusive marketing that they immediately shut down and turn away from your product, even if it's exactly what they need.
Instead of adopting an overly formal approach, talk to the customer like you would talk to a peer in the work place. You might not get as casual as you would with a friend on the weekend, but you don't need to act like you're talking to your boss. Start with the understanding that your conversation lasts only as long as the customer grants permission for it to last, and work to earn that permission.
Trust The Customer's Research
It used to be that most customers came into a sales pitch with no idea of what they were buying. This was called a cold pitch, where the sales person needed to explain to the customer not only why they needed the product in question, but what it was, and why it was the best.
Today's customer, by the time they reach a sales person, generally has a very good idea of what they want and why they want it. They're often seeking an in-person interaction because they have some very specific questions that can't be answered by FAQs and website searches.
Let the customer ask you questions, and answer them clearly. If there's a complimentary feature to the one the customer has asked about, by all means bring it up--but don't feel like you need to start from the top of your script and work down. "Did you also know that our product has this feature?" is a great way to bring it up.
Address The Customer, Not The Product
Because customers enter the sales funnel with so much more knowledge, sales people can start by addressing the problem that the customer has. As an example: a sales person sees a customer shopping for cell phones, and has small children with her. They could address the customer with: "I see you noticed that phone; it's got great durability, and the camera is really excellent. Want to check out our demo model?" Anyone who has small children around their phone is careful to make sure their products will last, and most parents, caregivers, and proud aunts and uncles are excited about the snapshot potential that cell phones bring. The sales person is carefully targeting their comments towards what they perceive to be as the customer's needs.
Too many entrepreneurs are afraid to sell their products for fear of sounding like sales people. When you understand that sales is the exciting process of sharing your vision and creating buy-in with other people, from venture capitalists to your eventual customers, it becomes obvious that sales is an integral part of business operations. You don't have to be a high pressured tactician to share your love of your product; tell people what it does, in comfortable and familiar language, and let the product do its work for you. Simple as that!
What's your favorite tip to give reluctant salespeople?