- The tendency to pitch your product and your company causes you to talk too much, hoping more words will convince your client to buy from you.
- Your prospects are not trying to buy a product or a solution: they are trying to improve their results.
- Your pitch needs to be an other-oriented conversation about better results and how you go about achieving them.
Newton’s First Law of Motion suggests that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, while a body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion in a straight line unless it is acted on by an outside force. Newton discovered this law in 1687. Along the same lines, a sales pitch in motion will continue in motion unless and until some stakeholder interrupts the salesperson and thanks them for their time. To make more sales, in other words, you must know when to stop your own (mouth’s) motion.
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Pitching the Product or Solution
A salesperson who is pitching their product or their solution will do their very best to provide their prospective client with as much information as possible, presumably to convince them that the product on offer is better than any alternative. To make their case, they may well get stuck in an infinite loop recounting the product’s features, benefits, advantages, beneficial features, advantageous benefits, feature-rich features, and of course every single one of the minute differences between the exciting new version and last year’s model.
All this continuous motion causes their prospective clients to sit quietly and listen politely, even though most of what the salesperson says doesn’t create a tremendous amount of value for them, getting them no closer to improving their results or finding an excellent partner for their initiative. Without an interruption, they start to suspect, the salesperson will continue talking, going back over ground they have already covered just in case their points land better the third time around.
The impulse is understandable: if you believe that you have an excellent product that represents the best possible solution for your client, you want to help them make an informed decision. But here’s the rub: your prospective clients are not buying a product or a solution. They are buying outcomes, the better results they need. The most effective way to talk about a product or a solution is to share how it ensures the best possible outcomes for your client, eliminating the need to drone on about the product itself.
Pitching Your Company
Amid this avalanche of alleged persuasion, many salespeople will try to convince their prospective client that their company is the best choice of partner to improve their results. Pitching the company is a hedge against the possibility that the victims, I mean stakeholders, weren’t completely bowled over by the tremendous value of the product or solution, especially when it isn’t all that different from their competitor’s solution. It attempts to prove that the company’s experience and expertise will make it a good partner, no matter how similar the competition is.
But the fact that our frenetic salesperson is already in the boardroom, sitting across from actual prospects with actual decision-making power, shows that the company is already a potential partner. The fact is that while your product and your company do enter into a buying decision, they’re just not the largest factors when it comes to choosing a partner. A self-serving, self-oriented sermon on why your client should buy the solution from the salesperson and their company will not tip the scales, at least not in the right direction. Don’t let your impulse to keep talking cost you your credibility.
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What You Should Really Pitch
There is every reason to love a good pitch: in sales as in baseball, it can make the difference between winning and losing a close contest, especially against a very competent rival. It can also do tremendous work creating a preference to buy your solution from you and your company.
- First and foremost, you are pitching the fact that you personally, as a representative of your company, have the deepest understanding of the nature of the problem your prospective client is presently struggling to overcome. The fact that you have a greater understanding than your competitors, and that you can help the decision-makers and decision-shapers better understand their challenge, creates a preference to buy from you.
- Second, you are pitching your client on your recommendations for how best to deal with their problems and challenges. One of the ways you differentiate your product or solution from your competition is by using your recommendations to eliminate other choices, ones that might otherwise be adequate but are unable to produce the best result for your prospective client. This is how you tease out the differences between you and your competitor. You are only proposing your solution because it is the very best way to improve the client’s result.
- Third, when you are doing your best work in a pitch, you are helping your contacts understand the changes they need to make to improve their results, a task that lesser salespeople will avoid, even when they recognize their client’s complicity in their own problems and challenges. This ability to discover and address what the client needs to change—telling them inconvenient truths—marks you as a consultative salesperson on your way to becoming a trusted advisor.
- Finally, you are pitching what the process is going to look like: what both parties will need to do to produce the results, which you are responsible for delivering. Your product or solution is merely a tool; you and your company have to produce the actual results.
The way you answer “why us” is by proving your value in every interaction with your contacts, throughout the sales conversation. Your pitch is going to be well-received when it is a conversation about the things that matter to your prospective client. The more you focus on serving them, the less room you will have for talking about your product without tying it to future results, and the less you will need to rely on telling your company’s story to win big deals.
This approach will allow you to eventually stop talking without having to be interrupted by an outside force, especially one who has heard enough to know that you are not the right partner.
Do Good Work:
- How much do you rely on the value of your product or solution when you present and propose?
- How much do you try to leverage your company to create a preference to buy from you?
- What value do you create through the sales conversation alone, and is it enough for you to win without relying on your product or company?