Is your email unsubscribe rate higher than the open rate? Is your voicemail full of crickets? Does the mere sound of your voice on the line send small children running?
My dear reader, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but your sales pitch just might suck.
But don’t despair! We’ll help you pinpoint why your efforts aren’t landing and how to get back on track so that you can start bringing in new leads and stop losing the sale.
Stop Calling it a Sales Pitch
Let’s clarify something before we get any further.
You need to stop it with the sales pitches.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Here you are, about to delve into how to improve your sales pitches, and here I am telling you to stop it with them altogether.
It’s all in the approach. You need to stop thinking about pitching a sale, and instead, start about facilitating a conversation. We’ve talked recently about avoiding the Billy Mays sales pitches in your writing, and the same applies for your sales interactions.
People are much more apt to participate in a give-and-take exchange than they are willing to be shouted at about HOW THIS PRODUCT WILL CHANGE THEIR LIFE!
So instead of a one-sided attack on their senses, have a frank conversation about your customers’ needs and how you can best address them. Be sure to listen, answer any questions, and start building an honest, open working relationship.
You Didn’t Do Your Homework
Remember that feeling of dread you got in the pit of your stomach when your teacher sprung a pop quiz on you?
Well, trying to pitch to a potential client without preparing first can be just as unnerving. It becomes readily apparent to the prospect that you’re ill-prepared; or worse, that you have no idea what you’re talking about.
But you can avoid this pitfall by simply doing your homework. That doesn’t mean you need to research absolutely everything from the city your prospect was born in to their social security number to their blood type, but at the very least, you should have the answers to the following:
- Is this the first time you’re contacting this person, or is this a follow up?
- If this is the first point of contact, do you know the prospect’s name and gender?
- Where do they live? How will their location affect the way they’ll receive or interact with your products/services?
- If it’s a follow-up interaction, what information have you already gathered about this prospect that can give you a leg up for this exchange?
Put yourself in the best possible position to have a comfortable and productive conversation by gathering as much information as you can prior to the call so there’s no unfortunate surprises down the line.
It Wasn’t Relevant to the Customer
Just because you’ve practiced your speech so many times you’ve memorized it, doesn’t just mean you should regurgitate it by rote to every person you talk with.
You need to take into a consideration a number of things before ever picking up the phone or hitting send on that copied & pasted email.
Start by thinking about:
- Who are your ideal customers? Stay-at-home moms? Wall Street executives? These are vastly different audiences with tremendously different needs, so there’s no one-size fits all speech that would be appropriate for all.
- Where are your customers in the buyer’s journey? Are they still in the awareness stage where they are just becoming aware that they have a problem? Have they been aware of their problem for awhile and are trying to decide on a vendor that meets their budget? These are incredibly different scenarios that call for very different conversations. You’re not going to give someone in the awareness stage pricing information in the same way you aren’t going to give your decision stage prospect a how-to guide if they’re already well past that point.
- How do they like to receive their information? Are their cell phones attached at their hip 24/7? Or do they prefer to receive emails that they can answer at their own leisure?
The more specific and tailored your efforts are, the more success you’ll have without feeling like you’re forcing a sale on a very unwilling prospect.
It Was All About You
Sales have shifted tremendously in favor of the customer, and that means your exchanges need to be customer-centric.
And since language can be incredibly psychological, you need to think about how what you say actually sounds to the person on the receiving end. For instance, is your speech littered with “me’s”. “my’s” and “I’s”? Is it all about your company?
If so, you have your work cut out for you. No one wants to sit there and get berated with your company’s history, product features, stats, and costs before they’ve even had the chance to decide if it’s something they’re interested in!
Instead, take the time to listen to their needs and wants so that you can tailor your side of the conversation appropriately.
By keeping the focus on your customers, preparing in advance, and taking the time to understand their wants, needs, and challenges, your customers will start running toward you, instead of in the opposite direction.