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Common Questions and Answers
Continuing the conversation thread from your meeting and proposal is intrinsic to a high quality pitch. Your prospective client is giving you the opportunity to elaborate on your proposal by further identifying and subsequently showing how your product or service can solve their needs. If you ensure they are central to your presentation you will already be scoring major points.
Sales professionals that go into a pitch and aggressively sell a product and its characteristics fail. The objective of the pitch is to seal new business, not to make relentless offers. Explaining how you can help, while ensuring the two-way dialogue is continued, is a better way to do this. Instead of just unloading information, focus on highlighting the benefits of your offer and making the pitch itself a pleasant, useful experience.
An effective method of persuasion is to position the present next to the potential future your solution could bring. Comparing the ‘as is’ situation with the ‘could be’ situation not only illustrates your product or service successfully, but also makes the negative aspects of their current situation more obvious. This equation of defining the problem and then explaining your solution may well be an obvious tactic, but it is proven to close deals.
The importance of building on the rapport you built during previous interactions is another worthwhile tactic. If done naturally and not reliant on an overly doting style, this can be a great way to create a memorable bond that influences the sales decision. This again reinforces the needs to communicate with your prospect, not just talk to them. The best pitches aren’t monologues; give your audience opportunity to create a conversation with you and your company in addition to the standard Q & A at the end.
Ensuring the client feels that they know and trust you is a key aspect of every sale.
If you convey your understanding of issues decision makers often face on a daily basis, as well as difficulties with internal structures they will believe you have their best interests at heart. There is a lot of power in empathy. It usually results in a warmer response that leads the decision makers feeling you would be a great option to work with.
Setting the Tone
It is also important to consider the location of the meeting, also known as the ‘Agora’ principle. Agora’s direct translation from Greek is ‘marketplace’. The theory behind this is that if you get your prospect in the right setting then they are more likely to say yes to your offer. Whether this is down to geography or the resulting mentality, don’t be afraid to think creatively about what could enhance your pitch. If you feel like you’d all be more comfortable going for a coffee, suggest it!
If your prospect can’t relate to you, they’re not going to buy from you or want to work alongside you.
The pitch is your face-to-face opportunity to reinforce exactly why your product or service is the correct solution for a prospect. As we advised in the previous chapter, your proposal should act as a guide to the structuring of your pitch, unless the prospect has specified otherwise. The plan within your proposal is what got you the pitch in the first place and the information should be covered again, but your pitch should be used to enhance these details and not just repeat them.
When crafting and delivering your pitch, the most important factor is to be clear at all times. If you over promise or merely touch on important details, whether they are contained within your proposal or not, you will be setting yourself up for failure. Remember:
* It’s not all about money. Mention costs but don’t dwell on them as this can make you seem insincere or desperate.
* Concise, focused pitches win business. If your pitch is too long, your audience will not only get bored but potentially miss or forget important details.
* Be specific. Vague comments or generalisations will make you come across as elusive or uninformed.
* Leave the pitch with a clear idea of timeline and any feedback you can get.
Following the delivery of your pitch, there will undoubtedly be relief, questions and a slight tension in the air. While a deal will sometimes be agreed at this point, it is often necessary for an additional round of discussions to clarify fine details and finally close the sale.
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