By Grace Lau
Let’s be real: in the business-to-business (B2B) world, an amazingly good sales pitch can make or break lucrative deals with big clients.
And, while it’s true that top salespeople share some common attributes, being a natural-born seller doesn’t guarantee success.
The good news is that top sellers have honed their skills by following a blueprint anyone can use.
The most important part is really understanding who your buyer is and putting their needs first. That means asking good questions then tailoring your pitch to meet their challenges.
Sure, competition is fierce and obstacles abound, whether you’re conducting meetings in person or online, and generating new leads and hitting quotas is hard work.
Happily, though, we’re here with a comprehensive guide to help you obtain the skills you need to create stronger connections with each new customer and, ultimately, win new business.
Choose the right tools
There are plenty of video conferencing tools available to use in your sales pitch if you’re doing a virtual presentation. Today’s unified communications products come with a range of features, including business call recording solutions that allow you to record virtual pitch meetings to assess how they went and work out how to improve on them for next time.
Choose whatever solution serves you and your prospects best and test it in advance to avoid any technical hiccups that could cause your clients to get off the train before it leaves the station. Smooth running will hopefully lead to a successful resolution.
Identify business pitch targets
The best way to find your ideal prospects is to use your CRM database and customer avatars to build up a clear picture of the kinds of people you want to pitch to. The great thing is that cloud-based unified communication platforms not only come with handy features such as visual voicemail but also allow you to sync up your call center platform with apps such as your CRM. This way, you don’t miss out on any customers seeking to follow up post-pitch.
Preparation is key
Conduct research into your prospect, their company, role, and the problems your product or service can solve. Let’s suppose that, after conducting strategy mapping with templates, your client has decided it’s time to invest in their internal processes.
Gather more relevant information from their LinkedIn, business site, or any preliminary communications and use it to craft the business pitch of the product that will help them accomplish their objectives.
Get prospects to fill out a quick questionnaire before the meeting to inquire about their goals and budget.
Don’t hop on a prospect meeting without your notes ready or a copy of any sales proposals already submitted.
Now, it’s time for pitching.
Inhabit the right mood space
Your company has nailed its QA strategy. You believe in your product. Now, it’s about getting your client on the same wavelength. A passionate approach to pitching is one way of conveying that authenticity and persuading your buyer of its worth.
Visualizing how the meeting will go helps you get into the right mindset. Remember to channel your past successes to confidently bring to life how your product will improve your prospect’s business.
Try coupling this with practicing non-attachment. Let go of any preconceived expectations that could interfere with giving your buyer your unyielding attention. This also helps free you of the negative emotions that can arise when clients fail to fulfill your desired outcome.
Think big with small talk
A glance around public spaces indicates that small talk has been a casualty of the digitization of everything. A shame, given the surprising benefits of idle chit chat.
Rather than diving straight into the serious stuff, factor in a few minutes for small talk to build a rapport during your sales meeting and relate to prospects. These little pleasantries can have outsized benefits, put everyone at ease, and help you make that human connection.
On that note, stick to safe subjects and behave professionally. Your sales pitch is your chance to package your products, so be scrupulous in your presentation. That means dressing for the occasion, even in a remote pitch meeting. Pay attention to your posture and ensure your backdrop is suitable.
Oh, and don’t fiddle with your phone just because it’s a virtual pitch meeting!
Put your best foot forward
Your research is your groundwork; knowing your stuff inside-out will inspire confidence.
And you’ll only improve your delivery through plenty of practice. There are some techniques every entrepreneur needs to know that will help you project confidence. For instance, use a downward inflection in your introduction to sound confident and authoritative rather than unsure of yourself and your product.
Sure, your prospects are looking to buy your products, but remember you’re a potential partner delivering the solution.
Make it conversational
When you’re trying to optimally present your product or service and expound on its beneficial features, it’s easy to fall into the trap of talking at your prospect.
Instead of delivering a monologue, create a space for a dialogue with open-ended questions. Use pauses to break up your pitch and give prospects a chance to chime in with questions and employ active listening skills to approach each lead with a fresh perspective.
Explain how you add value
The crux of a good pitch is connecting the dots for your prospect between your product and real business benefits. Its success hinges on your ability to convince them that its value outweighs the cost of implementing your solution.
For example, perhaps an eCommerce store is looking to target two different customer personas with new products. Well, you can explain how your customer experience mapping software can deliver serious advantages as a solution.
In general, couch your pitch in interesting personal anecdotes to outline common problems and share how you’ve contributed to good outcomes. Help your prospect understand what you do. How will their business improve if they take you up on your offer? Highlight anything that sets you apart from competitors.
Back up benefits with facts and figures
Don’t be shy about name-dropping examples of customer success. Testimonials from customers, eye-catching stats, and case studies grab attention and quantify success.
For example, explain how your affiliate marketing program management agency has helped growing businesses adapt to necessary changes in the tone and quantity of their marketing efforts by keeping key affiliates on board and discovering new ones. Cite facts that prove your buyers are in good hands.
Give a demo
Do a live product demo if possible to show customers how your product works for real. They’re more likely to sign on when they’ve seen your software in action.
With that said, you’re losing out on opportunities to engage if you’re too focused on explaining the features of your product.
Strike a balance between presenting your overview and value proposition and showing customers you’re actively listening to them. This helps you avoid coming off as overly rehearsed.
Here’s where your pre-meeting conversation comes in. Ask your audience to define what counts as a win. Take time out from your sales deck to speak to what you’ve learned about their concerns. Then tailor your demo to their use case.
Tell a story with your prospect as the main protagonist, reaping the benefits of implementing your solution. Because here’s the thing: it’s not just the product you’re selling but a partnership and a vision.
Respect their time
Sticking to the agenda lets you hit all your talking points and shows your gratitude that your prospects took the time to meet with you.
Advice about how long your pitch should last differs but don’t outstay your welcome.
Close with a CTA
Remarkably, 85% of interactions between salespeople and customers end without a direct call to action. Whether asking prospects to sign a contract as your client, offering a free trial of your product, or setting up a further meeting, be clear and concrete about the next steps.
Creating a sense of urgency helps you close meetings. Again, use stories about happy clients to crystalize the value of your solution so your prospect comes to realize that inaction is the real risk.
Your follow-up begins before your meeting ends. Even if you’re not asking for a sale, leaving customers unsure about how you intend to proceed is unthinkable.
Maybe they need to liaise with other stakeholders and bring you into their ambit. Establishing specific next steps will keep you at the forefront of their mind and motivate your prospect not to renege on the agreed-upon timeline.
Follow up with an email or, ideally, a phone call – if you know how to make your calls successful. But don’t make the mistake of assuming they’ll get back to you later. Chances are, busy prospects could forget.
Play it by ear, but don’t neglect aftercare and service. Imagine your company uses a contact center with a distributed team. Fortunately, you can use tools that empower agents with options so they know how to transfer a call smoothly when a lead reaches out.
Nailing a sales meeting for B2B means getting away from the baggage associated with a traditional pitch and exchanging it for a value-based conversation about how your products address client concerns and make their lives better.
Some innate talent does mark out sellers from tellers, but the truth is, much can be learned. Treat mistakes as opportunities to get better. At the end of the day, perfecting pitch meetings will take practice.
We only hope our comprehensive guide goes a way toward helping you convert your B2B prospects into long-term, venerable clients.
About the Author
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform with the latest call transfer feature for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.