If you can get past the mixed metaphor, it’s important you understand that not every sales pitch is going to be a homerun. In fact, there is a chance that some will miss the mark so badly you’ll bean the mascot. No matter how hard you try, it is unrealistic to expect every pitch to be successful.
However, whether it be one-off mistakes you make on one pitch or systematic flaws that lower your chances of success on every pitch, there are ways to keep yourself in the game. First, it is important to recognize what these mistakes are and have a plan for how to overcome them. Here are some things to look out for as you refine your sales pitching skills:
You need to understand that occasionally, a failed sales pitch is not your fault. Sometimes, you’re simply not able to provide what your client needs. Every salesperson has to work within the confines of what their company offers but even if your product is the best on the market, not everyone is necessarily going to want it.
Alternatively, they may be getting that product or service from somewhere else at a price you can’t match. It happens. You simply lack the ability to compete on price and you’re out. The worst thing you can do in this situation is to lie or pressure them into spending more than they should. They may go along with it when you’re face to face, but they will regret it later and this will cost you business down the road.
A failed pitch could also be due to something that is completely out of your control. Sometimes people are just in bad moods and nothing you say can change that. Just accept that you did your best and move on. You can always follow up with them after they’ve had a chance to cool down.
One caveat here is that you don’t start making excuses for every unsuccessful pitch. Make sure you’re taking a good hard look in the mirror before you start evaluating other possible influences on the situation.
Have you ever met someone who didn’t take anything seriously and was too casual for their own good? In a professional setting, people like this can be off-putting to the point of being deal breakers. More often than not, a sales rep acting unprofessionally during a pitch kills the deal. After all, if you’re not taking things seriously, why should they?
Dress appropriately for any face-to-face meetings and respect your customer’s time by being punctual and concise. Be friendly but not over-familiar and most importantly, show how much their business means to you by being prepared.
During a sales pitch, it can be tempting to talk about yourself and what your product can do. That’s not to say you shouldn’t talk about yourself or your product at all, but you’ve got to read the room. Sure, you need to instill confidence that you and your product can deliver but try to do it in moderation. Less is definitely more when it comes to pitching success. The last thing you want them to think is that you’re trying too hard to impress or persuade them.
Matt Heinz, founder of Heinz Marketing, said: “Filter everything you’re doing, saying and pitching through the customer’s point of view, and you’ll improve just about every metric you care about today.”
What this means is instead of talking about yourself all the time, you need to listen to what they say their needs are. In fact, if at any point you start to feel your customer is losing interest, you should always steer the conversation back towards them. People love talking about themselves and this will give you a chance to work your way back into the conversation. Then, thanks to all of the extensive pre-meeting research you did, you’ll be in a much better place to answer some of their concerns.
Lacking Confidence or Grace
While you may be doing everything right on paper, there’s a chance something’s wrong with the vibe you give off in person. For instance, if you come across as overly aggressive, your prospect or customer might feel unduly pressured. Or, if you are nervous or jittery, that might take that to mean you don’t have any confidence in what you’re selling.
Though this may sound like a small detail, it isn’t. People buy from people they like and people like dealing with confident and well-prepared professionals. To be successful in sales, you must be self-aware and know how you come across to other people.
Exuding competence and a sense of being in control will help your customer relax which will make them more likely to buy from you even if you’re not giving your best pitch.