In this episode of AMP Up Your Digital Marketing, Glenn Gaudet speaks with Greg Rosner, CEO and Founder of PitchKitchen, a company that helps to fix bad sales presentations and websites that do not make their product the hero. They discuss how to refine a sales pitch and place the prospect at the center of the discussion.
- How to ask questions and create conversations that allow a prospect to own their decision rather than being told what their position should be.
- How to present and position the before and the after to solidify the sale.
- Why it’s important to audit your sales pitch. Not only can it help your salespeople learn what works and what doesn’t, but it can help marketing spot gaps in prospect perceptions.
Sales pitches – some area great, some are terrible, and you have likely had every conversation between both ends of the spectrum.
“Too many salespeople love to talk and tell prospective customers what they should do,” he says. “But the best salespeople are the ones who ask the right questions, in the right way, at the right time, rather than spraying their messaging and hoping it sticks.”
Greg joined the AMP Up Your Digital Marketing podcast to talk about how to refine the sales pitch and what it takes to gain true buy-in from a prospect.
What is the conversation folks are having with prospects that goes above feature, feature, feature?
Adjust Your Sales Pitch for Tactical Empathy
With sales and sales pitches, you need what Chris Voss calls tactical empathy.
Too many salespeople love to talk and tell people what they should do. But the best salespeople are the ones who ask the right questions, in the right way, at the right time, and to the right people, rather than spraying their message and hoping it sticks.
You need to come into every conversation having some degree of who these people are and what issues they might face. The fault in many salespeople, and even CEO’s, is that they make a lot of assumptions. They deny the reality that people are going to believe in the things that they themselves decide and not the things you tell them.
Even if you do understand their situation and you know exactly what they need to do to be successful, you cannot tell them this. They need to come to that conclusion on their own.
So what does a solid sales pitch look like? You’ve likely already experienced one without ever knowing you were being pitched.
Say you go to a doctor and you tell him or her your symptoms and that you’re not feeling well. They listen to what you have to say, take one look at you and question you very little, before handing you a script for a medication to take care of your ailment. Sound like a familiar experience?
Now, say you go to another doctor and tell them the same thing – here are the symptoms and you’re not feeling well. The doctor then asks, “are you waking up around 2 AM with pain when you move your eyes around?” You answer, yes. Then the doctor asks additional questions that continue to hit a nerve, to which you’re nodding your head yes, you’re thinking “How did you know that?” After 10-15 minutes of that doctor asking questions that hit a nerve, and truly understanding your problem, the doctor writes you a script.
Now you have two scripts – Doctor A and Doctor B – which do you trust more? Likely Doctor B, right? They are demonstrating that they understand your ailment through questioning and empathizing, which sits better with you.
That time you take to demonstrate understanding is a great equalizer and shows your understanding of the problem. In selling, this gives the customer time to get to their own decision rather than being told what their position should be.
Crafting Your Sales Pitch
There are twelve essential conversations that every sale requires.
And sale here has a strikethrough for a reason. The reason for this is that it should be change. Your sales pitch is selling a change. You’re helping someone to grow, adapt, evolve, and migrate from their current situation to a desired situation.
Here, you need to understand the buckets a prospect passes through to better understand how to be more effective in your sales efforts.
Solve the Problem With Your Sales Pitch
In practice, ask a prospect the question “what happens if 12-months from now if you have selected a solution and nothing has changed?” If the answer is “meh”, then there is no sale. Your sales pitch has not evoked change. If the prospect doesn’t believe they have a problem, or you are not able to describe their problem better than they are, there will simply be no change, therefore no sale.
This is just one of the twelve essential conversations that every salesperson needs to have.
This all falls into what Greg calls the problem bucket. After building rapport, salespeople need to take in aspects of the prospects current situation: what are their goals, what problems do they have, and even what trends in the world could be impacting their problem.
Leverage Your Sales Pitch to Sell the Magic
After the problem discovery, your sales pitch naturally moves into the second bucket of the experience, which is talking about what’s possible.
Here you’ll define what is the thing you are offering and possibly what it looks like. Several conversations go on here as well, like “are you trusted?” and “what social proof do you have?” which helps define authority. Not only are you as the salesperson having conversations about your product to demonstrate authority, but oftentimes your prospect is doing their own validation research to ensure your thing is exactly what you say it is.
Of course, there is also the before and after here, too. As a prospect, they may think “if I use your thing, what was my before and how glorious is my after?” As a salesperson, if you have a solid understanding of the problem, you are better able to sell the magic because you understand the pain points that come from not solving the problem at all.
Use the Sales Pitch to Keep the Wheels in Motion
The last part of the sales pitch is keeping the wheels in motion and selling the how. Some common questions you need to plan to ask, or even plant the seed with your prospect on include:
- What is the plan?
- How are we going to accomplish this?
- What needs to be done to move this forward?
- What are the expectations?
- Who needs to be involved?
- What are the immediate next steps and what does the prospect need from you as the salesperson to quickly find resolve?
- Is there any storytelling necessary to display what existing customers may have experienced?
Sometimes you’ll need to have this same conversation over and over again because the needs change. The context of this conversation can be one that happens very quickly or even over the course of several months depending on the type of sale and the parties involved in the sale.
Audit the Sales Pitch
It can often be difficult to critique your craft while in the thick of the deal. As salespeople, it’s important to record your discussions and look back at what worked well for you and what didn’t.
- What are the key attributes of a successful sales conversation?
- What about the poor sales conversations?
- Are there differences in these conversations that brought change to one group and not the other?
- Do you spend too much time on the thing and not the other conversations that need to happen?
It’s also important to have others audit your sales pitch. At GaggleAMP, the marketing department participates in the auditing of sales pitches. In doing so, marketing gets a better idea of what the limitations are to the sales department and can help with crafting messaging to overcome the hurdle. They can help spot if there is something missing from the buying vision.
Also, including in other departments to audit a sales pitch may help identify if there is a disconnect between the customer’s understanding of what your thing does and if that thing can solve their problem. Internally, we’re big fans of a win/loss call as it’s independent of the sales process. This gives both sales and marketing a better idea of what helped to close the deal, or what was the miss in the discussion. Of course, it can be hard to get to the truth in these conversations too so it’s important to review all the data points given before coming to a conclusion.
Ultimately it comes down to conversations. Stop presenting; Start conversing.
It’s not about performing, pitching, or presenting, it’s about having deep specific conversations that help your customers transform from what they are doing today to what they want to be doing tomorrow.
If you would like to reach out to Greg, please visit PitchKitchen.com or find him on LinkedIn, where once per week he does sales therapy live on LinkedIn, discussing all types of problems that ail sales folks. The AMP Up Your Digital Marketing podcast will update this post once the book discussed in this podcast has been released.
AMP Up Your Digital Marketing brings together the leading marketing practitioners to share how they are succeeding in today’s digital landscape. Each podcast episode focuses on providing you with the knowledge and strategies you need to be a successful marketer. Subscribe via Apple, FIR Podcast Network, or wherever you get your podcasts.