A sales pitch presentation is to a salesperson as peanut butter is to a PB & J sandwich. That is to say, it’s not the whole job, but it’s certainly one of the most vital elements to successfully accomplishing the job.
It’s important to focus on training and coaching your team on every part of the sales process, but the sales pitch presentation is one of the most vital things to nail. The last thing you want your team to do is spend time prospecting and nurturing incredible opportunities… only to trip at the finish line and fail to win the deal.
This post will walk you through my five top tips for creating a sales pitch presentation that will “wow” your dream clients.
What is a Sales Pitch Presentation?
Before we dive into the details, let’s start with the basics—what is a sales pitch presentation? Your pitch presentation is your opportunity to explain how your business can solve a problem for the customer.
You can approach a sales pitch presentation in several ways:
- Pitch for a First Meeting: Every salesperson needs a pitch for a first meeting. The best way to make this pitch is to trade value for your client’s time. If the client suspects you are going to waste their time, they will refuse the pitch. You can secure a meeting if you sound like someone who can help them.
- Product Pitch: Product pitches work well in B2C sales, where the salesperson can walk through the product features and benefits. One of the reasons salespeople who sell SaaS struggle with demos is that the product pitch isn’t very compelling. Like a lot of things, sharing more than necessary is boring and redundant.
- Elevator Pitch: Your elevator pitch needs to be tight and used sparingly. Often, when I hear someone’s elevator pitch, I’m left wondering how many floors they think they’ll be on this elevator babbling on for. You are better off with Mike Weinberg’s approach by saying, “People call us when they have this problem or need.”
When looking at first meeting pitches or product pitches, the average length of a sales pitch presentation is about ninety minutes. Most smart salespeople aim to finish their presentation within the first forty-five minutes, leaving the last half of the meeting for questions and conversations with the stakeholders who will be making the buying decision.
Though I’ll give some tips for laying out the perfect pitch presentation, it’s important to remember the benefits of switching up your sales pitch.
The legacy approach to sales extends to the sales pitch by starting with “why us,” believing they are differentiating their company in the same way every other salesperson tried to differentiate their company. You are better off starting with the reason your prospective client needs to change. By starting with “why change,” what follows will be in context and feel natural. Following “why change” with the future state the client needs prove you understand the outcome your prospective client needs.
If you are paying attention, the beginning of every pitch is all about the client, their problems and challenges, and the better results they need. If you want credibility, it’s better to prove you know your client and their need. Only then do you share your product, service, or solution, as it is how to move your prospective client from the current state to the future state they need.
You save the “why us” for the end of the presentation as a way to share the resources and expertise you bring to the engagement.
1. Start with the Problem
The first step to creating your sales pitch presentation is to start with the client’s problem. You’ll need to begin here by doing your research upfront.
Every salesperson should know what kind of problems their prospects are facing. Unless you have only been in your role for three days, you have seen your clients' problems and challenges and what they need to do to improve their results.
You use discovery to help your clients understand why they have the challenges they are facing. We sometimes make too much of identifying a problem. What you are looking for are the root causes that your client will need to address to be able to improve their results.
Remember, a client that is engaged in a conversation about their current state and the better future results will have given you everything you need to know where they need help. However, you may still have to help them prioritize the initiative that will allow them to produce their desired outcomes.
One way to ensure you’re pitching towards solving the problem or challenge is to ask the client what their future state needs to look like to succeed. That context allows you to tie what you sell to the future state.
The best way to understand this was a phrase coined by Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt, who said, “People don’t buy drills. They buy quarter-inch holes. If they could have the hole without the drill, they wouldn’t buy the drill.”
B2B salespeople do better when they focus on the outcomes instead of their product or service.
2. Focus on Trading Value
My next tip for crafting the perfect sales pitch presentation is to be more than a salesperson. You should be a trusted advisor for your customers.
It’s important to recognize that decision-makers endeavor to make good decisions but don’t always have the experience they need to make the best decision without help. Enter: You.
If you want to be viewed as an advisor, don’t talk about your company early in the conversation—instead, focus your pitch presentation on the outcomes you can provide to the customer.
The first way you create value for your clients in a sales pitch is to prove that you understand the nature of their undesirable situation and what their future needs to be like. You don’t want to start with facts about your company because you are choosing not to address the real reason your contacts are sitting in a room with you.
The more your pitch is about your client and their needs, the more they are going to find it compelling. You want your audience to feel you know them. You want them to leave in instead of leaning back.
Remember: You’re pitching a result, not your product or service.
3. Be Clear and Concise
Don’t be fooled by the word “presentation” — your sales pitch presentation should not be long or too short. You’re aiming for just right.
I once watched a salesperson deliver ninety-six slides in ninety minutes. All the slides were “why us” slides. With five minutes left, he asked the four contacts if they had any questions, and the senior leader said, “Yes. We had a lot of questions, but I am afraid we are out of time.”
As I said earlier in the post, the average pitch presentation is about ninety minutes. But that doesn’t mean you have ninety minutes to present. The worst possible thing you can do is to use the full ninety minutes to present, eliminating the opportunity to answer questions and resolve concerns.
Your presentation should also be clear. Remember, a confused mind will always say no. Address each subject once. The salesperson that plowed through ninety-six slides was repeating the same things over and over again. That’s not the best practice. Once you have covered a topic, move on. Use the number of slides you need and as few as possible.
Pro-Tip: Create a slide deck driven by hyperlinks. This gives you a menu of topics you can click on to address any additional questions. This way, if something comes up, it takes two clicks to bring up a slide, regardless of where you are in the presentation.
It would help if you always run through your presentation with people on your team. If they are confused by something you say, you can make changes.
4. Paint a Picture of Success
Next, ensure your presentation paints a picture of success for your customer. This goes back to the concept of pitching a result, not your product or service.
Use your pitch to describe what the customer’s life, job, or results could look like if they successfully implemented your solution. You follow your sales pitch's “why change” segment with the future state because your contacts are pursuing that state. You provide them with a vision of their future, where things are working the way they need them to.
In a recent presentation, I used words to describe the better results the client needed, and under each section, I included a testimonial from an existing client, each of which was based on their challenges. Each testimonial provided its metrics, making it more compelling.
Your pitch should be able to be summarized in one sentence about what your customer can achieve with your solution.
5. Prepare for Objections and Concerns
No matter how well you present your sales pitch, you are almost certain to be greeted with objections and concerns. The salesperson who doesn’t leave room for conversation is making a major mistake.
You need to hear and address any objections or concerns. If you need to provide more information or need to do something to address any concerns, you want to negotiate that while you are still in the room with your contacts.
The best way to handle objections and concerns is to come armed with a strong sales script. The first time you say anything should not be while you are presenting to your prospect. You want to have good language choices for every objection, concern, or challenge. Sales scripts ensure you have the right language on the tip of your tongue at all times.
6. Read the Room
Preparing a pitch is important, but don’t get so wrapped up in your delivery that you forget to pay attention to your prospect. If you notice your audience is ready to move on, move forward. They may not need more than they have already seen.
Monitoring the room while delivering your presentation can be challenging, but it’s vital. Don’t believe that a person that is saying nothing doesn’t have an opinion. Looking at the faces of the contacts often reveals how they feel about what you are saying. If someone looks like they disagree, you are better off asking what would have to change than leaving the person with concerns that would cause them to vote against you.
Following a script is important for guiding the conversation, but that doesn’t mean your pitch should be delivered robotically. You should be prepared to deviate based on your prospects interest and attention level.
You also need to know when to let the sale go. Sometimes your prospect may not be in the headspace to hear you.
Every sales rep needs to learn when not to deliver their pitch. This lesson is especially important when you walk into a room to find stakeholders who were never part of the conversation. You are better off asking to catch them up than providing a pitch that isn’t going to make sense to the new contacts as they lack the context. One way to do this is to ask your main contacts if they can catch them up, removing you as a target.
Improving Close Rates: Beyond The Sales Pitch Presentation
You can use these five master tips to take your sales pitch presentation to the next level, but to really move the needle for your sales team, you need more than just a great sales pitch.
The trick to mastering sales is always to have the language you need to move the conversation—and the sale—forward. My Talk Tracks offer you the perfect sales language for any call, giving you the confidence and vocabulary your team needs to close more deals.
You can start by checking out my free resource, the Sales Call Planner. This eBook gives you the framework to execute your best sales calls and easily win over your dream clients.