Updated: Jun 30, 2021
Sales pitches are a one-time opportunity to impress your prospective client. But, pitches have a reputation for being dull and they can be excruciating if they are badly executed. This year I sat through 33 corporate pitches and here are 5 key things the best did very well.
1. Team effort - The best pitches are a team effort
Good sales pitches comprise a blend of individuals with complimentary skill sets. Successful pitch teams comprise of carefully selected team players that added value to the pitch and to the client rather than simply attending to make up numbers.
Good sales teams also have a natural lead, usually a key account manager. Interestingly, the best leaders don’t always dominate the pitch. Instead they bring their team members into the conversation and ensure team members are not alienated from the discussion.
Lesson 1: If you are leading a pitch, consider who you will bring, what value they will add and how you will orchestrate their inputs throughout the pitch
2. Messaging – the best pitch teams know their value proposition
Good sales pitches are clear about their key messages and stick to that throughout the pitch. They know their strengths, how they want to position themselves and they convey that consistently throughout the pitch without deviating significantly from their core proposition.
In addition, the best pitch teams support each other and certainly don’t say anything to contradict their colleagues causing doubt in front of the potential client.
Lesson 2: Agree what key messages you want to get across and incorporate this into your pitch
3. Prepare – The best pitch teams are very well prepared
Good pitch teams prepare their pitch well in advance and often go the extra mile. They do more than just turning up and presenting boiler plate material. They make the pitch relevant to the client and demonstrate they have understood the client’s challenges.
Good pitches go beyond explaining general solutions and demonstrate an attention to detail. They explain what they are going to deliver and how, they have crunched the numbers and explain their investment strategy and economic outcomes.
Lesson 3: Put yourself in your client’s shoes and ask what they are looking for and how you can demonstrate that in your pitch
4. Read the room – Good pitches read the room and adjust as necessary
Good leaders scan the room and read the clients body language looking out for signals that suggest they need to adjust the pitch, change the speaker, change the tone or pick up the pace. They will recognise when a point has been made or if there is no interest and encourage the discussion to move on.
Lesson 4: Read the room regularly and adjust your pitch to bring your client back on side
5. Personality – The best pitch leaders show personality
Corporate pitches have a reputation for being robotic and monotonous - the best pitch leaders know this and have personalities that break the boredom. They come across as the client’s colleagues and bring light humour to the pitch in addition to essential substance.
They also have a natural self-belief and passion for their product or organisation which brings the client on board without a hard sale.
Lesson 5. Let your personality come through and show them that you are actually human