You’ve crafted a kick butt presentation, but it won’t mean much if you don’t deliver it in an engaging, persuasive way.
You know your stuff, you know your audience, you’ve outlined a clear message. You have a script, index cards, or maybe PowerPoint slides to help guide your presentation. Just make sure you don’t overly rely on these aids. You won’t deliver a powerful pitch if you’re fiddling with cards, constantly looking down to refer to your script, or reading off your slides.
Also, if you choose to incorporate visual aids like PowerPoint slides, a brochure or video in your presentation, make sure you use them to enhance your message, but not to BE the message. Be careful you don’t rely upon them to tell your story. Never let your focus become the pamphlet or let yourself start reading through the slides instead of engaging with your audience. Visual aids can be useful in staying on track with a presentation, or illustrating your product’s/service’s benefits, but they can be distracting to your audience–and especially to you.
Now a few tips for your PRE-PITCH PREP…
Rehearse! Practice delivering your pitch to a colleague or friend. Ask them what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense. Run through a revised version of your pitch with them to see how it has been improved.
Confirm the appointment, time and location. Two days before your pitch, email or call your customer to confirm your appointment. Confirm who will be attending the pitch.
Dress professionally. I know I don’t have to tell you this, but just in case, remember no matter what you’re selling, you’re also always selling yourself. First impressions matter. Present a professional image so your appearance assures your prospects that you are credible, responsible and trustworthy. Make sure you don’t come off as sloppy, unprepared, undisciplined or that the phrase “party animal” won’t spring to your customers’ minds.
Get there early. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the location where you will deliver your sales pitch. This will give you a chance to check on equipment, meet and greet your prospects, get a drink of water, or go to the restroom. (Go to the restroom. Trust me.)
With the logistics taken care of, now let’s concentrate on how you’ll perform on the big day.
TIPS FOR DELIVERING YOUR SALES PITCH
Use confident body language. Have good posture and try to minimize any nervous fidgeting. Stay as relaxed as possible. Speak with enthusiasm and authority, but with a friendly manner.
Maintain eye contact. You can keep an audience’s attention better if you maintain eye contact with them. This will also make them feel like you are really focusing on them and their reaction to what you’re saying. Keep friendly eye contact throughout your conversation with your customer.
Proceed at an appropriate pace. Don’t fall into the trap of talking too fast, rushing through the presentation. Check in with your customer during the presentation. Don’t just deliver your pitch and pack up. Be prepared to be “interrupted,” to listen to your customer and to answer any questions that may arise.
Remember, make it a conversation. Ask questions during the pitch so that you can understand your audience’s unique situation and needs better. You can gather additional information that may help you make the argument for why your particular product or service would be especially well-suited to serving their customers, solving their problems, and rocking their world! It’s also a good opportunity to consult with the customer and ask questions about past experience with similar products or services.
CLOSING YOUR PITCH
Outline next steps. You have delivered your pitch and answered questions. Now is the time to go in for the kill … er, try to “close the sale.” Give your audience some direction on the next step(s) to take. You may ask for the sale or a commitment then and there, or you may choose to schedule a follow-up meeting and give them time to think things over. You might need to negotiate, give them a free trial period with your product or service. Whatever happens, your primary objective is to keep the conversation going, to maintain your connection and keep working at the relationship no matter what. A “No” does not mean you now disappear forever.
Accept rejection gracefully. If the customer declines your product or service, and they do not change their mind even after you negotiate with them, then respect their decision. Accept the rejection gracefully and thank them for their time. But do be clear on their objections and reasons for saying no. You can always follow-up in the future to either meet these objections with new solutions or to see if any new circumstances may lead them to reconsider. Again, a no does not mean you now disappear forever.
Sale or no sale, get a referral. This customer likely knows others who would be promising prospects for you. If you’ve done a good job representing yourself and your product, service or cause, people will likely be open to sharing relevant contacts who may make potential customers. They might even put in a good word for you! This will help build your network of contacts and strengthen the relationships you’re now keen on building.
In other words, even a “rejection” can be a stepping-stone to good things—and lots of sales—ahead!
Looking for more pitching wisdom? Check out how to craft an effective sales pitch.
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