How to Make a Sales Pitch
The sales process is an imprecise science. Selling is part method and part art; it relies upon a clear knowledge of the product or service being sold, along with an adherence to a pre-agreed sale policy, but also requires flair and ingenuity on the part of the salesperson. It is important to remember that every potential customer is unique in their needs, and your sales pitch should therefore be flexible.
Know Your Target
From the outset, it is imperative that you know what you are selling inside out. Potential customers will naturally question you on exactly what it is that you are offering, and whether or not it suits their needs. If you are offering services as opposed to goods, you should be prepared to alter what is on sale in order to tailor a solution to their requirements. For example, if run a portrait photography business that generally operates from a studio, you should be willing to travel to a potential client's location of choice if this means that you are more likely to close the deal.
Making a sales pitch is similar to writing the executive summary and general company description in a business plan. You should be able to provide a general overview of your organisation and the services that you can provide, while being able to split your explanation into 'features' and 'benefits'; features are the characteristics of the services, while benefits are the reasons that a customer would need or want what you are offering. Your sales pitch should also concentrate on the aspects of your business that set you apart from your competitors; as a start-up you may not be able to compete on grounds of price, and you must therefore offer other unique features that will encourage customers away from your cheaper competitors. Alternatively, you may consider building promotions around the fact that you are a new organisation; you might offer introductory discounts to encourage new customers. Indeed, you should think about running regular promotions and discounts throughout the lifetime of your business in order to remind previous and potential customers of your organisation.
If you are making a sales pitch in person, it is vital that you are well prepared. If you can possibly gather any information on the potential client in advance of meeting them then this is highly recommended; if you can demonstrate that you have done some research in advance then you are likely to secure the trust of the potential customer. Similarly, you shouldn't feel that you need to do all the talking; asking questions and allowing the potential customer to outline their needs will allow you to alter certain aspects of your sales pitch and selling technique, while also encouraging the client to think of you as genuinely interested in them.
You should bear in mind that sales professionals with large corporations frequently spend many months training before they are sent out on a job. As such, don't be disheartened if your first few pitches are unsuccessful; try to work out what went wrong and build on the experience for future clients.