5 Best Sales Pitch Practices (and Why they Work)
The Empathetic Pitch They Won’t Forget!
What is an Empathetic Pitch?
An empathetic pitch is a method of selling services that focuses on the prospect and their pain points rather than on the ego of the person who is selling the services.
An empathetic pitch can be the difference between leaving a conference with a new prospect and leaving that prospect with a bad taste in their mouth.
The trick is to balance your approach.
Imagine this, you’re at a conference ready to hand out your business cards and you’ve gone over your sales pitch several times. You look sharp. You feel confident.
The morning rolls by and now it’s lunchtime; the best opportunity to network and sell your services. You pile some salad on your plate and set out to find a prospect. What questions do you ask? How do you pitch your services?
Here are five tips to make your next sales pitch concise, confident, and guaranteed to win your prospect over.
- Talk Less & Take the High Road
- Ask Questions & Listen, Really Listen
- Put Yourself in Their Shoes
- Don’t say, “I’m an accountant”
- Pay attention to Body Language
Talk Less & Take the High Road
It seems counter-intuitive to talk less when pitching your services but talking too much once the pitch is made is often a turn-off.
A while back, I was at a conference and had a discussion with a business owner whose services I was seriously considering. As he spoke, it became evident that they provided exactly the solutions I needed. Before long, I asked for his business card and made up my mind that I would give him a call when I got back from the conference.
But then, they made two critical errors.
- He kept talking. The more he talked the less convinced I became of his abilities. Why is he working so hard at selling himself? I asked myself. When the sale is done, and you know that you nailed it, stop talking; otherwise, you risk talking the potential client out of the sale.
- He began trash-talking his competitors. The second error made me want to rip up his business card and run away… maybe light it on fire for good measure. No matter how superior your service may be, always be respectful of your competitors. Take the high road.
Making a sale usually requires that you talk less and listen more. We generally feel compelled to tell the potential client how great we are at what we do and all of the problems they’ll avoid by working with us rather than a competitor. Make sure that the discussion is geared towards them and not you.
Ask Questions & Listen, Really Listen
If you’re at a conference or an event, start by making small talk about the venue or the food to ease into the sale. Then ask your prospect about what they do. Chances are, their eyes will light up and they’ll be happy to get a chance to brag about their business. Then ask them about how their business is going.
Here, it’s important that you listen.
Are there pain points your services could alleviate? What are their frustrations and challenges? Is this an opportunity for consulting? Or an opportunity for bookkeeping?
Make sure that you know what they’re looking for before you start to pitch. Your goal is to be their savior. Having a mental list of their pain points ready will help you in Step 4.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
To sell yourself you need to understand your prospect. Only then can you provide the solution they are looking for.
Here is an excerpt from this article on putting yourself in your receiver’s shoes. Ask yourself these questions next time you’re about to pitch your services.
“How will hiring me or buying my product enrich your lives? How much better will your quality of life be? Will they have more money? Save taxes? Put differently, what my clients really want to know is how good will I make them.”
Don’t say, “I’m an accountant”
I can feel your push-back. Let me explain. When selling services, business owners are either selling a solution or a feel-good emotion. You want to make sure you’re selling both.
Here is your time to shine.
Think back to their pain points and formulate your pitch to mirror them. For example:
Pain point: paying too much for taxes
Your service: accounting
Pitch: “I provide business owners with peace of mind by making sure that they don’t end up paying too much for their taxes.”
Sounds better than “just” being an accountant, doesn’t it?
Then you can go into detail about your services and why they should consider working with you. Be careful not to brag or trash-talk competitors! Keep it professional and light.
Pay attention to Body Language
The right tone, smile, and words are necessary when pitching your services. But perhaps more important is paying attention to the other person’s body language.
Check out this article for a quick review of how to monitor engagement and disengagement.
Here are some things to watch for:
Watch their Eyes
“When we like or agree with someone, we automatically increase the amount of time we look into his or her eyes.”
Look for prolonged eye-contact and take notice of when your prospect gazes past you or is easily distracted by other things in the room. Glancing down at their watch or their phone is also an indicator of disengagement.
Watch their Mouth
A genuine smile crinkles the eyes, and a fake smile only reaches the lips. If your prospect is avoiding hurting your feelings but really wants to walk away… this may be a signal to cut the conversation short and move on.
Watch their Gestures
“If someone is feeling defensive, you may see an attempt to shield the torso with a purse, briefcase, laptop, etc.”
An interested person will have open arms, give you welcoming gestures and create space with their body. A disengaged or disinterested person will likely cross their arms or clench their fists.
Watch their Proximity
If your prospect leans in while they talk to you, they’re engaged. If their torso is pointed away from you and they are giving you, “the cold shoulder” they are likely disengaged.
And Lastly… Watch for Mirroring
“People who are in agreement tend to mirror each other’s behavior. One will lead and the other will follow. If you notice your client has assumed the same basic body orientation as yours, move slightly and see if she follows suit. If she does, you know you’ve made a positive connection.”
If you’re like me, you may not necessarily pick up on all these tell-tale signs or remember what to look for, but I suspect that your subconscious mind will advise you through your gut. Trust your intuition and follow its lead; it’s probably reading the signs better than your conscious mind.
Now… let’s go back to our earlier scenario.
You’re at a conference and you’re breaking for lunch. It’s time for the empathetic pitch. Remember:
- Ask questions, talk less and take the high road when it comes to talking about your competitors
- Ask questions and listen so you can later leverage your strengths
- Put yourself in your prospects shoes and figure out their pains before selling them new ones
- Sell a solution, not what you do
- Watch for engagement and disengagement
Now you’re ready to take your salad plate and strike up a conversation focused on your prospect’s needs.