Sales professionals have a tendency to fall victim to complacency, as they settle into a routine after finding some success and then presume that they can just keep operating the same way, as long as they’re with the company.
But they're wrong: Unless some outside force compels them to take action and shake up their processes, they may well start to see their performance numbers sag and their value to the organization compromised.
Even sales pitches that have been effective in the past can become outdated, thanks to changes in the marketplace, new technology or different customer behaviors. If you’re finding that your own sales results are no longer measuring up to where they’re supposed to be, perhaps it’s time to revisit your sales pitch, perform a thorough analysis and rework things so that you can still optimally connect with your potential clients.
Here are the signs of potential trouble:
1. You’re letting your agenda dominate the process.
Sometimes, as sales reps establish themselves at a company and become more familiar with the intricacies of the product line and the typical kinds of questions customers frequently ask, they run the risk of conducting the sales pitch on autopilot.
The typical result of this phenomenon is that the sales rep pushes his or her agenda on the customer, shutting the customer out of the dialogue and preventing the formation of a necessary connection.
A special thing happens, however, when you start a conversation with a client without a preconceived agenda: Buyers have the floor to talk, and you, the rep, learn important specifics about the situation at hand which can inform the dialogue going forward.
Craft your sales pitch in a way that demonstrates you’re truly curious about your customers' business, and they’ll be more likely to connect with you on a deeper level.
2. The action only starts in earnest during the meeting.
We’re long past the days when customers lacked access to learn more about your company and products until you actually sat down with them. Today, it's estimated that nearly 75 percent of B2B buyers take matters into their own hands and do most of their research online.
What good, then, does it do you to have a sales pitch that neglects to account for this fact and waits to engage customers until you’re sitting in front of them?
Social selling strategies provide numerous opportunities for you to reach out to your clients and show your value. Whether that means sales reps using content to provide value to the customer early and often, or simply beginning a conversation about the customer's specific business needs: You, the rep, can build on in an in-person meeting, embracing your clients' desire to bring their own research, and making both your and their lives easier.
3. There isn’t enough relevant data to bolster your claims
People are inherently trusting of hard numbers and statistics (even when they shouldn’t be), and your sales pitch needs to have the right mix of data and storytelling in order to show that your product has a base line level of success.
The key to using statistics in your sales pitch is to focus only on relevant numbers and cut out all of the statistical fluff. Anything that doesn’t speak to your customer’s specific problems may sound good on paper, but it only serves to confuse them and dilute the importance of the vital data points.
Statistics don’t just provide proof; when utilized correctly, they help create a frame of reference that supports the urgency for the solution you propose.
4. You fall into the trap of 'feature-first' selling.
If you consistently find that your customers lose interest when you begin to list the most impressive features that you can provide for them, it may be time to look at how you’re structuring your sales pitch.
Studies have shown that what customers are looking for above all else is a sales rep who provides value. In order to take advantage of this and engage the customer substantively, ask yourself during each section of the sales pitch what benefits are being provided him or her. If you can’t see a clear answer to that question, your customer won't, either.
5. Your pitch doesn't address the customer’s unique preferences.
The trend toward personalization is exploding across B2B sales and marketing departments, and the reason is that leaders are beginning to recognize the power of creating customized content or presentations.
Any effective B2B sales rep should intimately know the details of his or her customer profiles, and it’s equally as important that each sales pitch be crafted to speak to that specific type of customer.
It’s doubtful that your customer base is a monolith, with each member of that base experiencing the same pain points and looking for the same solutions. In order to better connect with your clients, develop a pitch that delivers in terms of value and specificity. That's what will keep your numbers up.