How many ways are there to deliver a sales pitch?
Whether it’s email, social media, SMS, video conference, or in-person, there are plenty of channels to get your message across.
But the one tried-and-true method that all top-performing salespeople keep coming back to is this: the cold call sales pitch.
Giving a convincing sales pitch over the phone requires skills, finesse, and guts. And let’s face it: cold calling isn’t your favorite sales method. In fact, 63% of sales reps identify cold calls as the worst part of their job.
But, when you do it right, cold call sales pitches deliver killer results.
Are you ready to become an expert at over-the-phone sales pitches?
- What makes a cold call sales pitch different?
- How to start a sales pitch over the phone
- 9 sales pitch examples over the phone to base your calls on
- 6 expert tips for pitching over the phone
First, though, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. What do we mean when we say sales pitch?
What is a Sales Pitch?
A sales pitch is a brief sales presentation designed to close a deal. Unlike a standard sales presentation, a sales pitch is focused on closing, not just building awareness.
All great sales pitches include the following elements:
- States a problem
- Shares how their solution resolves the problem
- Defines a value proposition, outlining effectiveness in the relevant industry
- Provides social proof via testimonials, references, or case studies
- Delivers a call-to-action that opens the door to further discussion
A sales pitch is frequently called an “elevator pitch” because it is usually delivered in under two minutes, the average length of an elevator ride.
Remember, each potential customer is different, so they need a pitch adjusted to their concerns and needs. Meaning, you don’t want to sound like a robot reading a script. 🙅
The most common types of sales pitches include:
- Phone Pitch: During a one-on-one cold call with a prospect you deliver a customized pitch based on the customer’s industry, needs, and objections.
- Group Pitch: A sales rep presents a group pitch to multiple prospects, often at a trade show or a sponsored session at an industry conference. These “Shark Tank”-style pitches are aimed at multiple potential clients and rely on a more generic pitch.
- Email Pitch: The email pitch is presented to a sales lead via email outreach, so the subject line, writing style, design, and call-to-action are vital components.
- Gatekeeper Pitch: This specialized pitch is aimed at convincing the gatekeeper (such as an assistant or switchboard operator) to connect you with a decision-maker or set up an individual meeting.
- Pain-Point Pitch: Focus how your product or service solves a central issue for the prospect. These pitches frequently involve social proof, such as, “We’ve helped companies like yours move past issues like ‘x.’ For example, ABC Manufacturing used our solution to increase their productivity by 20%.”
- Immersive pitch: This highly personalized pitch guides a prospect through visualization of their business before and after integration of your product or service to highlight the post-implementation benefits.
- Video pitch: In the time of WFH, delivering pitches via video (either live or recorded) allows you to use eye-catching visuals, and demonstrations to show how your solution delivers results.
What Makes a Sales Pitch for Cold Calling Different?
A cold call sales pitch is unique because it requires a clear connection between you and your lead. It’s an opportunity for a personal relationship that isn’t possible in a cold email or a text. However, that level of connection also puts you in the direct line of fire for rejection.
You need to address objections much faster when you’re on the phone than when you’re working with email and have more time to map out your responses. That said, when you can pitch over the phone successfully, you establish a stronger connection with leads and a deeper relationship as a future customer.
When making a sales pitch over the phone, you have several things working against you.
First of all, you’re calling a stranger and asking for some of their valuable time. Therefore, your opening line must capture your prospect’s attention and keep them listening to you.
Second, most people dread making cold calls. Even seasoned sales veterans still feel a pinch of anxiety when they make their first dial of the day, and it takes everyone some effort to overcome their fear of cold calling at some point. Either they’re afraid of facing rejection or dread sounding like the sleazy salesperson most people associate with phone call sales pitches.
And lastly, there’s the danger of having your sales pitch sound mechanical and robotic since you’re repeating the exact words repeatedly to different people during the day. So your good sales pitch sounding boring is suddenly a bad sales pitch.
Do any of these challenges hold you back from giving a successful sales pitch over the phone? Then, keep reading: With the tips below, you’ll learn to overcome these challenges with a comfortable and polished sales pitch for the phone.
5 Steps for Starting a Great Sales Pitch Over the Phone
The first few seconds of your sales pitch are critical. The lead wasn’t expecting your call, so you need to deliver a solid reason to stay on the phone and listen to your pitch.
So, how should you start a sales pitch over the phone?
Chapter 4 of this guide gives more detail about creating a sales pitch script that works. For now, here are five easy steps to start your cold call sales pitch on the right foot:
Step 1: State Your Full Name and Where You’re Calling From
While a bit obvious, giving your name and company as the first sentence is essential, especially when you’re on the phone. Your lead needs to know immediately who you are and what company you’re with: otherwise, they’ll spend the first 20 seconds wondering who on earth you are and will completely miss your pitch.
Step 2: Explain The Purpose of Your Call in One Sentence
There’s no need to ask if you caught them in the middle of something; let’s assume you did.
So, after telling them clearly who you are, give a one-sentence explanation of why you’re calling them.
This sentence needs to cover three essential points:
- What you’re offering
- Why you’re calling this particular person
- What the goal of the call is
That sentence could sound like this:
“I’m calling marketing managers whose companies have recently announced a more permanent remote-work situation to talk about a solution for remote productivity.”
In fact, starting this sentence with “The reason for my call is…” has actually been proven to help prospects stay on the phone longer and even book a meeting.
Step 3: Tell Them Exactly How Much Time You’ll Need
This psychological hack puts prospects at ease.
Ever get a call from someone you know will keep you on the phone for hours? Be honest: did you pick up the phone with an excuse, ready to launch like a lifeboat from a sinking ship?
That’s how your prospects are probably answering your calls.
Let’s assume they’ve had bad experiences with lousy salespeople who have kept them on the phone much longer than they wanted, and they’re ready to make their excuses and get off the phone as fast as possible.
How do you prevent this? Tell them exactly how much time you’re asking for:
“If you have 30 seconds right now, I’d love to tell you how our product is helping marketing managers to increase productivity on their teams by 25%.”
Step 4: Give Your 30-Second Elevator Pitch
If the lead agrees to hear your pitch, do not exceed the time you’ve set for yourself. In 30 seconds or less, give a solid pitch focused on the needs and wants of the lead and show them specific reasons why they should stay on the phone.
Your cold calling script may contain several versions of your 30-second sales pitch because one size does not fit all. This is because the CEO will have different pain point priorities than the IT Director or VP of sales.
Step 5: Ask For Permission To Continue
From your introduction and elevator pitch, your lead now knows:
- Who you are
- Where you’re calling from
- What you’re offering and your value proposition
- Why you decided to call them today
They have all the information they need to decide whether they want to keep listening or not.
At this point, you cannot keep pitching without better knowledge of the customer. So you need to ask qualifying questions (like the ones we discussed in the last chapter) so that you’re not throwing darts in the dark and can keep building rapport with your customer.
But first, you need to make sure they’re willing to continue. It’s time to ask a critical question:
“Does this sound like something you’d be interested in?”
This method of starting your cold call sales pitch allows you to quickly establish a basis to continue the conversation and give an effective sales pitch that leads to a closed deal down the road. If a lead isn’t interested, plan to follow up later and then move on to close more deals.
9 Perfect Sales Pitch Examples to Use Over the Phone
Sometimes, the best way to learn is by watching good examples.
Want to see what a sales pitch over the phone looks like in real life? Check out these examples of successful sales pitches and see what you can swipe for your own cold calls:
1. The Interruption
This is a live pitch for sales software to sales leadership. Ryan pitches his product proactively, asking good questions, and getting his prospect interested right from the get-go. He also sets an upfront amount of time that he needs to pitch his product right from the start.
How to model your cold calls after this: Acknowledge you’re an interruption, and put a specific time limit on how long you’ll spend with them.
2. The Rocky Start
Michael gets off to a rough start with technical difficulties on this call, but he pushes through with great discovery questions that hook the prospect.
How to model your cold calls after this: Don’t let yourself get thrown off course by unexpected interruptions.
3. The Cold Social Media Pitch
Dan is pitching his social media services to a local jewelry store. His calm, natural tone keeps the conversation casual and personal. Note that his pitch is not his full sales presentation but just enough to get the meeting. In one case, he follows up with a sales email with video integration, allowing the client to formulate questions before next week’s meeting.
How to model your cold calls after this: Clearly state the reason for your call at the beginning, and sell them on the meeting, not the offering.
4. The Non-Ideal Customer
This salesperson is looking to sell payroll software to a company. But, by asking the right questions, he realizes this company doesn’t fit his ideal customer profile.
How to model your cold calls after this: Ask the right questions to jump to the needs of this client quickly. Or, as in this case, find out from the get-go if this person is correct before you launch into your pitch.
5. The “Tell Me More”
Mark is selling sales training and does a great job of digging into the real needs of his prospect before pitching his solution. It’s worth noting his sales pitch involved asking lots of questions and responding with expert-level responses. This also helps him collect customer stories he can recall later while building customer rapport.
How to model your cold calls after this: Use the “Tell me more” trick to do what Mark did: get the prospect to open up about their needs.
6. The Educator
Ethan’s call with a local business goes well because he shows he’s done his research and takes the time to educate the prospect on paid ad tracking. The confident tone shows Ethan knows his stuff, which makes him appear well-informed and trustworthy.
Your entire sales team should be trained on your product, frequently asked questions, top objections and how to overcome them, and examples of social proof such as other client examples and testimonials.
How to model your cold calls after this: Know the businesses you’re selling to and what you’re selling. That way, you can be an expert advisor that helps educate prospects as you find the solutions they need. Build an ever-growing Frequently Asked Question list and include them at the back of your cold calling script for easy reference.
7. The Exuberant Pitch
Mariah’s fun and natural tone go a long way with her prospects, and she’s involved in the conversation enough to respond well to whatever these people throw at her. To put herself at the front of her prospect’s mind, she sends handwritten thank you notes as part of her sales process. Mariah teaches us that a cold call sales pitch can be fun!
How to model your cold calls after this: To respond well, you must listen. The more comfortable you are with your pitch, the easier it will be to listen to what your prospects tell you.
8. The Voicemail
While most salespeople dread leaving a voicemail (or simply don’t leave one), Morgan shows us what a sales pitch voicemail should sound like. Without rushing, he clearly explains who he is and why this prospect should call him back, all in less than 25 seconds. While he’s likely got a script or template he’s working from, you can’t tell that from his tone. (Jump to 4:27 in the video to see Morgan’s voicemail in action.)
How to model your cold calls after this: Give value right away. Treat the first sentence of your sales pitch as the reason why your prospect should stay on the phone (or call you back).
9. The Casual Pitch
Michael makes a call to a C-level executive at a billion-dollar company and gives him a pitch that is friendly and casual. His lead is semi-warm since they already connected on social media, and the two chat like old friends rather than complete strangers.
How to model your cold calls after this: Don’t be afraid of pitching to C-level executives at big companies. In the end, they’re just people who’ll appreciate an authentic voice on the other line more than a mechanical pitch.
These sales pitch examples over the phone give us a foundation to start with, remembering that your cold call’s call to action (CTA) is to get a meeting, not describe product features or close a quick sale.
Are you ready to take your cold call sales strategy to the pro level? Read on!
6 Expert-Level Tips for Pitching Over the Phone
If you want to be more comfortable and get better results from your cold call sales pitches, use these six expert tips for pitching over the phone:
1. Smile (Because They Can Hear It)
This isn’t a myth: there are physiological reasons why smiling on the phone changes how you sound. The shape of your mouth and the pull on your vocal cords changes when you smile, so your voice automatically adopts a different tone.
In other words, people can literally hear you smiling on the phone.
The tone of voice is essential when selling on the phone since your voice is the only link people have to you. You’ll come off as friendly and helpful with a smile and the right tone, rather than pushy, apathetic, or aggressive.
2. Choose the Right Time
Is there a ‘best time’ to call your prospects?
Try to search this on Google, and you’ll likely end up confused. Numerous ‘studies’ of sales phone calls say the best time to call is in the morning. Others say the afternoon is better. Some studies tell you never to call before lunch; others say 11:00 AM is a sweet spot for cold calls.
The point? Deciding the right time is up to you.
You know your prospects: so, what does their typical day look like?
If you’re unsure, ask current customers you have a good relationship with. For example, are these startup founders who begin their day at 5:00 AM and regularly work past 6:00 PM? Are they working remotely and getting to work a bit later to spend time with their kids before school? Do they typically take a full hour for lunch or work through lunch?
Sales call timing also involves timing in the week, month, or quarter. Get to know the cycles your prospects go through and the timing of their goals.
Another aspect of timing your calls well has to do with inbound leads. How quickly do you respond when someone signs up for a trial on your website or fills out a form?
According to one study, your chances of contacting a lead are 100 times greater if you call in the first 5 minutes rather than waiting 30 minutes.
And the chances of qualifying are 21 times higher .
The point: Contact new inbound leads within the first 5 minutes.
3. Avoid Filler Words and Phrases
Words like “um,” “uh,” “well,” and “you know” slip into our conversations like the dust collecting on your computer monitor right now.
Just like that dust, filler words make it difficult to see through your sales pitch’s point.
So, cleanse your pitch of filler words (and for goodness sake, clean your monitor already)!
Of course, these words aren’t in your script. So, how do you stop saying them?
The best method to remove filler words from your pitch is to practice, practice, practice. And then, practice some more.
The more comfortable you are with your sales pitch, the easier it will be to get through without adding unwelcome filler words.
4. Pause Effectively
Once you remove filler words, you may notice some gaps in your pitch.
These are what we like to call dramatic pauses.
Yes, pausing in your pitch sets a very interesting tone. When you pause at the right time and for just the right amount of time, you give your prospects a moment to consider what you’ve said and show them you’re comfortable and relaxed, not in a hurry.
Pausing also allows you to breathe. While it might seem obvious that you need to breathe while giving a sales pitch over the phone, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress and speak several sentences without taking a breath. (At which point you’ll sound like someone about to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon than someone trying to sell software.) 🏃
By adding appropriate pauses to your pitch, you’ll avoid confusing the prospect and hold their attention. Learn more about how to speak in a way that makes people listen in this article: Cold calling? You lost me at hello.
5. Speak with Intention and Clarity
While its true a pitch should be a conversation, it’s vital that you, as the sales rep, guide the conversation effectively.
Our friends at Gong found that top-performing sales reps switch topics 15.6% less frequently than average or poor performers.
This means, even though top reps seem to cover more ground, they keep their conversations clear and intentional, bringing in the right topics at the right time.
How can you do this?
By following a compelling script. Looking for an example? Jump ahead to the next chapter to learn how to create a winning sales pitch script.
When you have a clear goal for your sales call, you’ll know what to say and how to direct the conversation. First, keep in mind three key points you want to highlight or topics you want to cover, then take the prospect through those one step at a time.
With clear intentions and a path to follow, you’ll stop jumping topics and start having a clear, well-developed conversation.
6. Listen and Repeat
In a cold call sales pitch, you have less personal contact with your lead than in-person. So, when they talk, you need to make sure you hear everything they’re saying and understand it. This becomes more challenging without the advantage of body language and facial expressions.
So, you need to take your listening a step further.
As you go through your pitch and ask questions, you want the prospect to feel understood and make sure you understand their answers (and the reasons behind their answers.)
Here’s an easy psychological hack to do this: repeat back their answers.
Let’s say you’ve asked about the main challenges the prospect is facing. They respond, “Figuring out how to keep the team productive when they’re working remotely permanently has been a recurring challenge over the last few months.”
Then you say something like this: “So, team productivity is a priority for you right now.”
And the prospect responds: “Yes, exactly.”
Now, the prospect knows you genuinely understand their primary need. This gives them more confidence in what you say from here on out since any solution you offer should apply to this particular need.
Sales Pitch Framework to Build Sales Pitch Ideas
Using the examples from above and your sales team’s experience, we suggest gathering everyone together to develop each salesperson’s sales pitch framework.
Use the following list to brainstorm on a flipchart or whiteboard as a foundation to work from, allowing each sales rep the chance to share what works for them, learn from each other, and enhance their individual sales strategy.
- Prospect Research and LinkedIn: What information do you need to prequalify a lead? Are there different LinkedIn groups full of promising prospects? How will you note this information in your sales log or customer relationship management (CRM) program?
- Prospect’s Needs: What pain points do your prospects have that your product fulfills? Which need should you mention for each possible role your prospect holds?
- Target Audience: You help create a targeted script by defining your target audience. You also narrow down the process of qualifying and disqualifying prospects if they’re too far outside your target.
- Pitch Deck: What slides or example photos should each salesperson have ready to go at a minute’s notice? Ideally, your sales team members can deliver a successful pitch without using visuals, so having a pitch deck available should be treated as a luxury, not a necessity for each team member.
- Value Proposition: Once you’ve defined your target audience, you can create a well-crafted value proposition to differentiate your product and show why members of your target market need it now.
- Social proof or case studies: Your sales pitch template should contain a list of case studies and other social proof your sales team can use as examples with potential clients.
- Ask the right questions: What are the best questions to ask that get your prospect to subtly realize that they need your help and that learning more is worth their time? A compendium of questions should be easily accessible for this very purpose.
Giving an Effective Phone Call Sales Pitch
You already knew that giving a sales pitch over the phone can be scary. But this chapter has taught you how to take those calls and make them work for you instead of letting phone fear overwhelm your pitch.
You’ve also seen some incredible cold call sales pitch examples that you can imitate and expert tips such as smiling, pausing effectively, and speaking with intention and clarity.
But to maximize the power of your sales pitch, you need a script.
How do you create a sales pitch script, and why is it so important? Head over to Chapter 4: How to create a phone sales pitch script →
Finally, you want to automate as much of the sales process as possible while tracking each interaction. Watch the 10-minute Close CRM demo video, sign up for a free 14-day trial, and see how the Close system will live up to its name when your sales team uses it for every call.