Help People Say Yes
What Is This?
The pitch stage of the sales process is where you educate prospective customers on the products and services you offer and how they can benefit by purchasing something from you. In some cases, this is as simple as publishing information on your website and making it easy for someone to find. In other cases it can take weeks, months, or even years with an ongoing series of meetings, presentations, approval processes, negotiations, contracts and timelines.
Why Should You Do It?
It is very important to think not only about the marketing message and target audience, but also about all of the steps that need to be completed before a sale is done. If a potential buyer feels that they’re well-educated in not only what the product does, but how other people are using it, what problems it is solving for them, what problems it won’t solve, what the costs are, perhaps even what it tastes like, they feel much more confident making a financial commitment. They’re better able to make the right purchasing decision and more likely to be an avid fan and long-term customer.
How Do You Do It?
The easier you make it for someone to buy from you, the better. Dig into your current process and see how many steps it takes for a lead to become a customer. Is there anything you can do to reduce the number of steps? Even the best lead needs a little encouragement to move along your sales process. Keep interest alive with planned-out moments of engagement all along the way. This might include: Make buying from you as easy and painless as possible. Some things you might be able to remove:
Plan the easiest path
The easier you make it for someone to buy from you, the better. Dig into your current process and see how many steps it takes for a lead to become a customer. Is there anything you can do to reduce the number of steps?
Even the best lead needs a little encouragement to move along your sales process. Keep interest alive with planned-out moments of engagement all along the way.
This might include:
Make buying from you as easy and painless as possible. Some things you might be able to remove:
Education is the New Sales
Provide your leads with valuable information, not just endless sales pitches. That’s what the “other guys” do. Your job is to help your leads solve their need. You hope they do it by buying from you, but what kind of education can you provide to help them get started even before they become your life-long customer?
Write down a list of information your customers and leads would find helpful. For a photographer, that might be lighting tips. An accountant can come up with loads of helpful information around doing taxes. And if you’re a consultant, well, you have loads to share. It’s okay to share some of it for free.
Once you have your list, go do something with it. Write articles for your blog or newsletter or local paper. Record how-to videos. Host a class at your local library. And of course, incorporate it all into your sales emails and presentations.
If you have a large e-commerce site with thousands of daily visitors, then this education process will be largely self-service. The trick is to make that education as easy as possible and know where in the process you should insert some individual attention. Good product descriptions, customer reviews, video descriptions, and live-chat features can provide low-effort education right on the sales page.
But if you’re a building contractor, a “great new house, built on time” description of your service on your website is not going to close the sale for you. Your prep will include work assessments, resource allocation (internal and sub-contractors), permit management, budgets, and even research on the client’s reliability. And at the same time the customer will be researching you, your expertise, the satisfaction of your past clients, and the cost of the work they want done. There’s a lot to be done on both sides before a contract is even signed, so during all of this due diligence, it’s vital to keep each potential customer engaged and energized.
Sales Pitch Methods
There are many different ways you can educate your potential customers on the products and service that you provide. The more information you can provide them to help them understand exactly what your product is, what problem it will solve, who it is designed for, and how much it will cost them, the better able they are to make the right purchasing decision.
Here are a few methods for pitching your product to potential customers:
- Detailed product description on your website focusing on problems that are solved by different product features, rather than technical descriptions of the features themselves. If you are selling lemonade on a hot Miami beach, you’ll do better to describe your offering as a “refreshingly cold fruity drink” than as “local tap water with eight scoops of artificially flavored drink mix.”
- Landing pages that speak directly to customers visiting your site from specific advertisements, referral partners, blog posts, or contests. Something as simple as a “Hi fellow Golf Digest reader!” at the top of your landing page lets that person know you’re a kindred spirit.
- Product demonstration or how-to videos can go a long way in showing a potential customer exactly what your product does and how people are using it.
- Customer reviews validate claims you are making about your product or service. Get permission to use real names and links so potential customers can identify with other people using your service.
- Pricing information. Be confident in your prices and make them easy to find. If your pricing is dependent on the services being contracted, give some sample ranges or some example pricing packages. If your business is to build and service pipe organs, the prices could range from $10,000 to multiple millions of dollars. Share with your potential customers factors that go into the pricing (how old is the organ, how many pipes does it have, etc.) and give a few examples of job pricing.
Use Your CRM
A good CRM tool will help you better understand what is working in your sales process and help your team work together to provide a great experience for your customers. Whether your pitch stage is short or long, you’ll be able to keep all of your important communications, notes, to-dos, and details together in one place. Staying organized is half the battle!
CRM boosts the pitch process by:
- Keeping track of all communications happening with a potential customer so your entire team can easily pick up and continue the conversation
- Managing important steps by sharing tasks and notes with your whole team
- Helping you stay up to date on what sales materials and presentations have been seen and what has been promised
- Making it easy to adjust your sales process as you learn what is working and what isn’t (e.g. if all the customers who watch your customer testimonial video decide to purchase, you should make it a more prominent part of all of your pitch methods)
What Not to Do
It can be very tempting to tell potential customers that your product can do anything for anyone. You don’t want to exclude anyone, and your product can be used in very creative ways. But you will do yourself, and especially your customers, a favor if you are up front and honest about what your business can and can not do for them.
- Don’t exaggerate – Especially when you’re a new company, it can be difficult to look at all of the bells and whistles that the competition has and not feel the need to “communicate creatively” about your own product. Instead, focus in on that one thing your product does better and spend your energy explaining why it’s worth the switch. If you’re right, you’ll be successful and build some of those bells and whistles into your product, too.
- Don’t over detail – It is difficult when you have spent so much time and so many resources building a great product or service not to want to share every tiny detail of what the product does. But you will do better to narrow in on those few things that really matter to that customer, rather than making them wade through a long list of detailed descriptions.
Local Boston restaurant chain Clover has a unique approach to foodservice. They pride themselves on using all fresh, local, and primarily organic food in all of their offerings. In fact, they have no freezer in any of their restaurants and no preservatives in any of their foods. For this reason, their menu changes daily, which can be a challenge to communicate to their busy business patrons. Their solution is brilliant in its simplicity. They publish daily cell phone pictures of their in-store whiteboards on their menu blog, so their customers can see that day’s deliciousness any time they like.