The biggest problem with sales pitches is that the salesman is too enamored of the minute details of his product's features. Buying decisions are made based on whether something will solve a problem. Extraneous facts obscure the critical benefits, causing the buyer to feel more time is needed to study the information and the competition. Do not fall in love with excessive information that will overwhelm and confuse the customer. Winning techniques include:
Be sure you know how much time you have to present and plan to finish sooner, since in a one-on-one setting you may get cut short by a phone call your customer has to take.
Listen to and watch the customer carefully. Arms folded, leaning back, and a lack of questions are likely indicators that he is not convinced. Get at the roots of his skepticism. Ask questions to get him to divulge his biggest worries about his company, the products they need, current vendors, and the markets they serve.
Start by reviewing the customer's goals and how your product helps achieve them in the most cost-effective way that best serves his own customers.
Exude enthusiasm about your offer — too many presentations sound like they have been given hundreds of times and the sales rep is bored with what he is saying.
Relate experiences about how customers solved similar problems. Stories make the benefits real and stick in the memory better than simple facts.
If the customer asks a question, do not simply spout the company line: acknowledge the strengths of competitive products and even the weakness of your own, then show why your total offering will help the customer gain a long-term advantage over his competition.
By far the most important part of a presentation is actually the preparation in advance of giving it. Studies show that the sales cycle can take 20 percent less time if the right homework has been done. Make sure you study a variety of sources to understand the problems and opportunities facing the customer so that you can adjust what you say accordingly.
The Carnegie Foundation did a study that found that only 20 percent of a salesperson's success came from product knowledge, the rest came from interpersonal and personal management skills.
One way to make selling easier is for management to listen to feedback the sales rep collects directly from customers and to use that to design the products and marketing. Peter Drucker said, “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous … to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”