Whenever and whatever you're pitching, dozens of factors
will figure in the final decision of your prospects. All else
being equal, you have the edge if you can establish a
personal connection. Connect emotionally and intellectually,
so they like and trust you more than your competitors. How
can you get your prospects to like you? 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 respond to their concerns and you
just grind on with a prepared pitch, they will decide you don't
care about them and their problems. Look people right in
the eyes and convince them that you stand 100% behind the
ideas, products, or services that you want to sell them. Pick
up on their concerns, and address them.
* "Divide and conquer." If you're doing a sales presentation,
shake hands with everyone as they enter the room. Connect
with them so you see them as individuals, and you become
more memorable to them too. (People are usually more shy
of groups of strangers than in one-on-one contacts.)
* Use technology to enhance your sales presentation, not
drown it. PowerPoint can keep you on track, but it can't
* 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 snappy sound bites
that are easy to write down and remember. Make them
interesting and repeatable.
* Steer clear of technical language and jargon. Rehearse
your presentation in advance with your spouse or an
intelligent 12-year-old across the dinner table. If there's
anything they don't understand, it's too complicated.
* 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
5 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.
Take a lesson 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%, we want make our
projections'. We guaranteed them they could if they used our
software. Six months later, Joe called and said, 'You guys
If you are pitching a product that hasn't been built yet, build a
story about what it will be like for someone using it.
Everything else being equal, you're way ahead of any and all
your competition when your prospects relate to you, like you,
and trust you.
Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE is a San Francisco-based sales
trainer, executive speech coach, and award-winning
professional speaker. She is also a Past-President of the
National Speakers Association. For more information on her
sales training; executive speech coaching; books, CDs,
DVDs, and videos contact: PFripp@Fripp.com, 1-800
634-3035 or visit: http://www.fripp.com
Patricia Fripp offers this article on a nonexclusive basis. You
may reprint or repost this material as long as Patricia
Fripp's name and contact information is included.