Whenever and whatever your company is pitching, many factors will influence your prospects’ final decision. Gain a competitive edge by establishing a personal connection with potential clients. To acquire their business, try these tips:
• Focus and be sincere. If you appear nervous or unsure, you may seem devious or incompetent. If your sales presentation does not address their concerns and you just grind on with a prepared pitch, they will decide you don’t care about them and their problems. Make eye contact and convince them you stand behind the ideas, products or services you sell them. Pick up on their concerns and address them.
• Divide and conquer. If you’re conducting a sales presentation, shake hands with everyone as they enter the room. Connect with them so you see them as individuals, and you’ll also make a lasting impression on them.
• Keep it simple and memorable. When your prospects have a debriefing afterwards, you want them to remember what you said more than anything your competitors pitched to them. Break your talking points into interesting and repeatable, snappy sound bites.
• Tell great stories. People are trained to resist a sales pitch, but no one can resist a good story. Let’s say you’re trying to get money to fund your software company. Tell a story about how the prospective investor’s life will change when you bring the product to market: “Imagine that a year from now you’ll come to work and use this software to do in five minutes what now takes you 45 minutes. I don’t know what that would do to your life, but in all our test markets or pilot programs, people tell us...” Then add more stories.
• Learn from Hollywood. Give your stories interesting characters and dialogue, plus a dramatic lesson that your prospects can relate to. Don’t say, “Certain companies have used our software.” Don’t even say, “IBM has used our software.” Instead, say, “Joe Smith at IBM said to me, ‘If we don’t increase sales turnover by 20 percent, we won’t make our projections.’ We guaranteed them they could if they used our software. Six months later, Joe called and said, ‘You guys saved us.’”