Steli Efti
CEO of Close

How to make a sales pitch that sells: Start strong, close well

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Last updated
November 17, 2020

Remember the last time you created a new sales pitch?

You were so excited to test it out in the field, and for once you were actually looking forward to doing some cold calls. It felt like you were entering a whole new world of sales strategies.

But the first time you tried out your brand new sales pitch, it seemed to fall on deaf ears. Thinking it was just a bad lead, you tried again. But the same thing happened.

If this situation sounds familiar, you’ll agree: it’s hard to write a sales pitch that really sells. But it’s not impossible.

  • How to write a sales pitch that sells: 7 steps to success
  • How to start a sales pitch to get it off the ground
  • How to close a sales pitch to ensure you’re heading in the right direction

Let’s get started...

How to write a sales pitch that sells: 7 steps to success

Crafting a sales pitch that appeals to your audience requires more than just 10 minutes in the break room scratching out some ideas.

The more effort you put into creating your pitch, the better results you’ll see. Believe me: It’s worth the work.

Here are 7 steps you can use to develop your perfect sales pitch:

1. Base your sales pitch on real customer research

Before you can even think about your pitch, you need to understand who you’re pitching to.

What’s the main audience for your product? For example, if you’re selling a SaaS product, what kind of company are you pitching your software to?

Knowing a bit about the company is good, but you should take the time to dig a little deeper.

Within that company, who are you normally pitching to? Who has the final say in the purchase, and who is the end-user? Is your goal to build an army of internal champions, or are you delivering your sales pitch to an executive?

Real customer research is the only way to get answers to these questions. If your company has developed ideal customer profiles, you can spend some time looking through that information before you start preparing your pitch.

(Don’t have customer profiles yet? Download our free Ideal Customer Profile Kit to see examples, templates, a checklist, and potential survey questions to ask your customers.)

Think about the people behind the sale: What are their motivations, their challenges, their hopes and goals?

When you have these people and their needs clearly in mind, you’ll have a better idea of how to do a sales pitch for them specifically.

2. Build concepts and analyze the pitch from different angles

Don’t set out to write out a perfectly-crafted pitch in one sitting. Instead, consider this the moment to build as many ideas as possible.

Your sales pitch needs to be concise, clear, and to-the-point. But there is obviously more than one way to sell your product.

So, why not flesh out all those different options?

For example, let’s say that 66% of your audience is suffering from Problem 1, but 40% has issues with Problem 2. Your product solves both problems with two distinct features. So, create pitch ideas that present your product in the light of these two very different problems.

As you do customer research, you’ll have a deeper understanding of why different customers come to love your product. Each one will have their own story of what motivated them to purchase, and those stories can inspire you to present your product in a different way.

All of these concepts are useful, and all of them could turn into your perfect pitch. So, write up at least five (or more!) sales pitch concepts based on your research. When you’re ready to narrow it down to the best pitch, it’s time to move onto the next step.

3. Collaborate with your teammates

Don’t make your sales pitch alone: getting the whole team together on this can be extremely helpful.

With your concepts in mind, set up a brainstorming session with your colleagues. Have them pick apart your pitch ideas and present ideas of their own.

Having your teammates there will help you narrow down your ideas to just the best ones.

If you want to take this a step further, reach out to the customer service and success teams at your company. Have a member from one of these teams come in and check out your pitch ideas. They can tell you more about what customers are saying after the purchase, and which features of your product are giving customers real results.

These insights can help you add further weight to your sales pitch, and customize it even more to the right kind of prospect.

4. Pick your best concepts and write them out

It’s time to narrow down the ideas to just two or three and then write a great sales pitch.

How can you choose?

First, think about what will appeal to the widest audience. For example, let’s say you’ve created six pitch ideas based on the most common pain points your customers are facing. If three of those pain points are normally secondary to other more common pain points, you can focus on the pitches that highlight those top challenges.

Next, think about the target market for your product. If you’re a B2B business, are you selling to large companies as well as SMBs? You may want to consider creating a pitch that’s adapted to each of these different targets.

Finally, consider the people you’re pitching to. For example, do you normally speak to either the CEO or the marketing manager? If so, it may be worthwhile to create separate pitches for these two roles.

Pro tip: Want to analyze your customer data to see which pain points are more common for certain groups of prospects? If you store your customer data in Google Sheets, it’s easy: Simply use the ‘Explore’ feature to link certain types of prospects to their common pain points.

Choose two or three of your absolute best pitches, and then take the time to write those out completely. Make sure to include any sales questions you want to ask, the specific features and benefits you want to highlight in each one, and the next steps you’ll propose.

5. Get more feedback and trim it down

Once you’ve written out two or three ideal sales pitches, it’s time to bring those back to your team.

Don’t take it personally if your colleagues rip these pitches to shreds. They’re just trying to be helpful (we hope). If anything, you should invite and encourage radical candor and unfiltered feedback.

With their ideas and suggestions in mind, refine your sales pitches until they really sparkle.

After that, go through one more time and look for ways to make your ideas and concepts more concise and to-the-point. Imagine someone is paying you $50 for every word you remove from that pitch, and start hacking.

Your goal is to finish with a pitch that is clean, concise, and takes prospects smoothly from Point A (Hello) to Point B (Let’s do this).

6. Put those sales pitches to the test

After all that work, you probably feel like your sales pitch is worth its weight in gold. (Or at least worth its weight in sweat and tears.)

But the only opinion that really matters is that of your prospects. So, it’s time to test it out.

Start by taking 50% of your incoming leads: this is your control group. With these leads, keep using the pitch you’ve been using until now.

Next, separate the remaining half of your incoming leads into sections based on the different pitches you’ve created. With these groups, you’ll be using the new sales pitches and testing the results against the previous pitch.

Test out the new sales pitches over time; to get a clear view of the success rate, match the length of time to your average sales cycle. Then, you can more easily measure the actual results.

7. Measure and refine your pitch

As you start testing your new sales pitch, set up methods to track and measure the results.

There are several ways to measure this, but let’s talk about how you can see the results in your CRM.

In Close, you can add custom fields to your leads and contacts. So, to measure which of your sales pitches gets the best results, add a custom field that identifies which sales pitch was used with each new lead.

Next, create a Smart View that shows you only leads that heard a certain sales pitch:

Create a Smart View in Close

Then, you can analyze the results by filtering your reports and pipeline view to see the leads in those Smart Views.

When you have this setup in your CRM, you’ll be able to easily discover the results of your test.

Find the answers to questions such as:

  • What was the general reaction to the new sales pitch?
  • What was the average conversion rate to the next stage for the control group?
  • What was the average conversion rate to the next stage for the test groups?
  • How many of the test group prospects converted to customers?
  • How many of the control group prospects converted to customers?

By comparing this information, you’ll see which sales pitch works best.

You may also see aspects of the pitch that need to be adjusted based on the reaction of prospects. It’s a good idea to keep notes in your CRM as you use the new sales pitch, paying particular attention to how prospects react.

Better yet, since you can keep phone and video call recordings stored in your lead view in Close, you can go back later and listen again to their reaction to your pitch.

Now that you know how to create a good sales pitch, let’s talk about the specifics of creating a pitch that really sells your prospects.

How to start a sales pitch to get it off the ground

The opening words of your pitch are essential, since they can mean the difference between “I’m not interested” and “Tell me more.”

Now that you know how to create a good sales pitch, let’s talk about the specifics of creating a pitch that really sells your prospects.

Use questions to see which pitch is right for this prospect

Above, we talked about the fact that you may create multiple pitches based on the type of prospect that you’re talking to. So, to get your pitch off on the right foot, you’ll need to ask some questions to make sure you’re using the right pitch.

First, ask questions BEFORE you get on the phone. In other words, take some time to dig into prospect research before you call a new lead. Who are they? Can you match them to one of your customer profiles before you start talking to them? (Hint: LinkedIn is a great place to start for this professional research.)

Next, once you’ve introduced yourself briefly, ask a question that will help you guide the conversation in the right direction.

For example, if you’ve created separate sales pitches based on which major pain point a customer is facing, you might ask something like this:

“I’ve been talking to other companies in [industry], and they mentioned that current world conditions have created [specific problem] for their business. Is this something you’ve been facing as well?”

If they say yes, you can use the sales pitch for that pain point. If they say no, ask:

“What would you say is a major challenge for your company right now, especially when it comes to [aspect of their business that’s related to your solution]?”

By asking this kind of open-ended question, you’ll get clearer direction on which sales pitch is right for this prospect.

Find a hook that pulls at your prospect’s needs

Very early on in your sales pitch, you should know what your prospect’s needs really are.

A truly great sales pitch contains a hook right at the beginning of the pitch that pulls at those needs and hints at a solution.

For example: “It seems like many businesses in your industry are struggling with productivity issues during the pandemic. And when productivity is down, revenue automatically follows. Have you ever considered a better communication system for at-home employees as an option to increase productivity?”

To pique interest and spark curiosity, use a hook in the form of a question that includes phrases such as:

  • Have you ever wondered…
  • You know how…
  • Doesn’t it seem like…
  • Have you ever noticed…
  • Have you ever considered…
  • Did you know…

This keeps the prospect involved and gets them to think about what you’re saying rather than go on sales-call-alert.

Present the idea of a solution

Don’t fall into the trap of bringing in your solution too soon.

While your prospect is considering the hook you’ve left them, present the idea of a solution without specifically mentioning your product.

Here’s how that could sound:

“Imagine how productive your remote team could be if they used a communication system that offered both synchronous and asynchronous communication that allowed them to work together just as smoothly as they did in the office.”

Using the word ‘imagine’ gets your prospect to paint a mental picture of the solution. This sets a powerful train of thought in motion, allowing them to visualize the results of using your product before they’re even aware that this is a sales call.

Sell them on benefits, not features

At this point, you can start discussing your solution. Now that your prospects have already imagined the results they could have, they’ll be more open to discussing the specifics of your product.

Just remember not to spend too much time discussing the specific features of your product. Instead, pull benefits from each feature and focus on those.

To continue with our example above, you could say something like this:

“Our product allows remote teams to communicate asynchronously with video, meaning you can have a personal conversation with your teammates and get your ideas across in a way that isn’t misconstrued, as often happens with text-based conversations.”

Continue this line of conversation and highlight the benefits of your product and the way it specifically fills the needs of your prospects.

How to close a sales pitch to ensure you’re heading in the right direction

Talking about your product is good. Selling your product is better.

How can you close your sales pitch in a way that pushes prospects towards closing the sale? Here are some sales pitch closing techniques you can use to conclude well:

Go through the virtual close

Let’s be clear: it’s very unlikely that you’ll close the deal in this sales pitch.

That said, you can shave loads of time off your sales cycle by including a virtual close in your sales pitch.

Here’s how this works: you’ve come to that point in your sales pitch that your prospect is seriously interested in your product. You’ve successfully helped them see the real-life benefits of your product and they like you.

Now, you need to let them guide you through their steps to purchase.

This accomplishes two things:

  1. First, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of the steps involved in selling to this customer
  2. Second, your customer will continue down the path of imagination to a time when they purchase your product

All you have to do is ask a simple question:

“What will it take for you to become a customer?”

The important point here is to keep asking follow-up questions. Get them to take you through their process until the point where they say: “Then, we’d purchase your product.” This could include getting approval from different execs, letting stakeholders ask questions, going through a product demo, looking through a proposal, etc.

Once you have a clearer view of their purchase process, you can continue to close your sales pitch with the next step:

Leave them with a specific call to action

Wondering how to create urgency in a sales pitch? Make sure to leave the call with a specific action that either you or the prospect must take.

This might include:

  • Sending them your Calendly link so they can book a meeting with stakeholders
  • Setting up a product demo for their team
  • Getting an introduction to another important decision-maker

If the ball is in your court, make sure to take that next step as soon as the call is over.

If you’re waiting for the prospect to take the next step, set a reminder in your CRM to follow up with this prospect in a few days if you haven’t heard from them.

And that’s how you conclude a sales pitch the right way!

What takes a sales pitch from good to perfect?

By now you’ve learned some essential lessons:

  • Writing a sales pitch that sells isn’t easy, but it’s possible
  • Collaborating with your team is key
  • 100% focus on the prospect makes your pitch really sing
  • Always be following up

These are the necessary steps you must take to write a sales pitch that resonates with your audience and gets your prospects to the next step in your sales process.

But how can you take a good sales pitch to the next level? Continue on to Chapter 2 →

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