A Simple, Yet Critical, Tool to Your New Business Success
Mark Twain is often credited with the now-famous saying about condensing what you have to say. It goes something like this: “I would have written a shorter story, but I didn’t have the time.”
These days, we refer to a very short synopsis of your business as an “elevator speech,” and in this article, we’ll call it simply “the sales pitch.” A sales pitch is a concise, carefully planned, and well-practiced description about your company that anyone should be able to understand in 60 seconds or less. Learning how to give a great sales pitch is a valuable way to share your message. It is also a great way to truly refine the essence of your company’s vision and plan.
While the sales pitch is as essential as your business card, you have about one paragraph to get the attention of your audience. You need to clearly and rapidly be able to communicate who you are, what you do, what you are interested in doing and how you can be a resource to your listeners. A sales pitch helps you really understand who you are and communicate it to your audience.
Questions a Good Sales Pitch Should Answer
Before you can convince anyone of your business proposition, YOU need to know exactly what that business proposition is. You need to define precisely what you are offering, what problems you can solve and what benefits you bring to prospective customers or clients.
Specifically, the sales pitch helps you answer some of the following questions:
- Who are you and who is your company? For example, “my name is Jim Cando and my company is Cando Widgets.”
- What are your key products or services and what are their strengths? “We make awesome widgets that are guaranteed to make you healthier, richer, and happier. Our widgets (i.e. pizza, massage therapy, or a revolutionary men’s athletic shirt) are made with 100% healthy ingredients, cost less, and are easy to use.”
- What adjectives come to mind to describe your company? Avoid common words like better, bigger, well made, etc., and think of emotional terms like indestructible, exciting, or scrumptious.
- Who is your target market? Be specific in terms of age, lifestyle, location segment, and income. “We are targeting millennial men who work out and are looking for a shirt that fits” or “we target 30 to 50 year old women who are looking for outlets to relieve stress.”
- What problem do you help customers solve? Talk about benefits, and not descriptions. “We help you save time and money,” “we make what is usually a horrible experience satisfying and exciting,” or “we understand our customers to ensure that they have the best experience with the most appropriate product selection.”
- What is your business model and strategy? “We are a home service company. Our goal is to develop a base business of 500 customers and $1 million and then grow 10 to 20% per year. We plan to spend 15 to 20% of our sales on internet marketing, collateral materials demonstrations, and exceptional customer service to develop and grow. Our profitability is derived from our low overhead, competitive margins, and growing brand.”
- Who is your competition and how are you better? Our competition is anyone who sells widgets. “We are better because we offer the right product at the right price (not necessarily the lowest) with great customer service and product selection support. For example, we save customers money by helping them purchase the most effective product, rather than the cheapest or one with the most bells and whistles, if that is what they need.
This sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, it IS a lot of information, and your challenge as a good communicator about your business is to develop and learn to effectively deliver a great pitch that will make someone want to know a whole lot more.
Basic Elements of a Good Sales Pitch
Once you have developed a good sales pitch, you will be amazed at how handy it is and how often you use it in a variety of settings. To be sure your pitch is top-notch, here is a checklist of important elements to consider:
- A “Hook”: Open your speech by getting the listener’s attention with a “hook,” a statement or question that piques their interest to want to hear more. Start with a surprising or amazing fact. For example, if you were marketing a product geared towards entrepreneurs, you might start with “More than one out of every two Americans works for or owns a small business.”
- Length: Your pitch should go no longer than 60 seconds. Realize, if your sales pitch runs on for too long, you risk losing the interest of your target audience. Get to the point you are trying to make, and why it will benefit or be of interest to your target audience.
- Passion: Listeners will expect energy and dedication in your speech. If you aren’t excited about your idea, why should the listener be? Why is this idea exciting, and how will it benefit your target audience? This must be conveyed in your sales pitch.
- A Request: At the end of your pitch, you must ask for something. Are you looking for capital? Strategic Partners? New Markets? Use the fact that you are with the customer to your advantage – ask them to take advantage of this opportunity and close the deal on the spot. Always establish a follow up question, in case your target is unable to commit outright.
- Practice: Be sure to spend time developing, practicing and testing your pitch. Create short videos of your pitch and critically review your presentation. It is imperative that you convey confidence in your product, and that it will actually benefit the person you to whom you are selling.
Contact Bert at (914) 632-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org to start the process. Thanks!