Tell Stories of Failure as Part of Your Sales Pitch

It may seem a bit strange but you can use stories of ‘failure’ as part of your sales pitch.  By ‘failure’ I mean situations where other clients and prospects really made the wrong choices and suffered as a consequence.  That simple illustration can help your current clients see the advantage of fresh new ideas and perhaps the recommendations made as part of your sales pitch today.

Clients don’t want to make mistakes.  A ‘failure’ situation is actually something that can help your current clients move ahead in a positive way and in doing so avoid any poor decisions.

So here are the rules to the process:

  1. Tell stories from the market and provide real life facts and information.
  2. A failure situation is actually a valuable lesson to someone.  Your current clients may appreciate that knowledge.
  3. Make connections between your current clients situation and the ‘failure event’ so they know that it is relevant and real.
  4. From the failure you can work up recommendations and alternatives.  Every client likes to have a few alternatives to consider.
  5. Put yourself in the solution and in the story.  Show the client the timeline to progress as you see it and break it up into stages of action.  Small simple steps are the easy way to move through a problem.

It is fairly easy to pitch on a sale situation if you follow these rules.  It is simple sales logic.  The client doesn’t want to make a mistake; they will listen to you.  You become the solution process.  The depth of your recommendations and solutions will help the client move ahead.  That’s how you can close on a sales pitch.

Use a Gantt Chart in Your Sales Presentation

When you are selling or pitching your services it is important that you stand out as relevant and real as a professional in your industry.  One of the ways that you can do that is by offering the client or prospect a timeline or timetable of actions to be taken.  It will show how you will take them forward.

A timetable process is a tool of presentation and will help the client when it comes to the final agreement.  It is easy for the client to see what is about to happen and why.  It helps them make a decision.

Here are some tips to help you with this process:

  1. Get a graphing package that allows you to create and use GANTT charts.  They are timed based methods of display.
  2. Whilst you can have a graph for each product or service offering, create a personal graph for the client that you are working with.
  3. The beginning of the display graph should be where the client is today, and the end of the process is the ideal position of where they want to be.
  4. If you have a complex product or service then you may need quite a few stages in the graphing process.  In the most complex of situations you can use a ‘PERT’ graph to comprehensively display the stages to the transaction or order.  In that situation, the PERT graph is used before you use the GANTT chart.
  5. If you want to see examples of PERT graphing you can get a good set of examples from the internet or in a professional graphing software package.

If you have any challenges of supply and lead times to the end result for the client, then you will need to handle that in the graphing timeline.  If you are getting goods and services from your overseas suppliers the same rules apply.  Understand the time factors and feed them into your presentational material.

The Easy Way to Sell Your Services – Provide Choices

No client or prospect likes to be pressured.  The days of a ‘canned’ sales pitch are well gone.  The clients and the prospects that we serve are well placed and very experienced to make choices.  In fact I would go so far as to say that they expect choices to be provided as well as your recommendations as part of any professional service.

All of us have seen the ‘push’ approach in sales; customers today are inclined to back away from any ‘pushy’ salesperson unless ‘desperation’ is part of the buying equation.

Choices give a client or a prospect the respect that they deserve; they also have a feeling of trust when the choice process is implemented.

Here are some rules to help you with this ‘golden rule of selling’.  See if you can improve the approach that you make in client contact and with your business presentations:

  1. Choices help you close the sale.  In fact, the client will ‘close’ themselves with the choices you provide if you plan them well.
  2. Show the client just what is available today and how easily they can purchase.
  3. Show the client how the various options that you offer can be implemented.  Make it easy for them to move ahead.
  4. Make clear recommendations based on 3 or so options that you put forward.
  5. Tell some stories about other clients and prospects that had similar challenges and just how they solved their problem in a positive way.
  6. Have plenty of pictures and graphs to support your marketing material.  Facts and figures should always be supported by graphs and pictures.  Clients tend to believe what they ‘see’, rather than what they read.
  7. Key questions will help the client handle challenges.  Questions will help them move through an issue and look at a method of resolve.
  8. Big negotiation problems can be handled by the use of a ‘Freudian Slip’ process.  You simply ask the client lots of questions around and about their problem.  Soon they will be giving you the answer that they need to make a purchase.
  9. Provide some testimonials to give the client or prospect some comfort as they move towards an agreement or final decision.

All of this is based on common sense.  There is no need to ‘push’ your products and services through to a sale.  Offer alternatives to your clients and prospects and show them how easy the choices are.  Give them the ‘logic’ to move ahead.  Allow real trust to develop as part of the client contact process.

Assemble a Top Class Marketing Packet

When you work in professional sales, you must have a marketing packet that is of the highest quality.  It must support you in every way possible given your market conditions, competition, product, and service.  You should know what’s in it and how to put your fingers on the right bit of information relative to the active connection with the client or prospect that you are making.

Some salespeople do this quite well, whilst others do not.  A client will view the condition and relevance of your presentational materials before they will listen to the story that you have to tell.

So what can or should you put in your presentation packet?  Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Ensure that the packet or folder is very professional in appearance. That will mean a black folder with all relevant information placed inside.  It should be clean and not damaged through any ‘over use’.
  • Include ‘visual’ charts and graphs to help your clients understand the trends and changes in your industry.
  • Have colour brochures relating to your products and services.
  • Carry plenty of business cards ready to use
  • Company information and testimonials
  • Photographs of samples, and other client situations
  • Price lists plus order or agreement forms
  • A history of successful situations and stories from other clients that can be referred to
  • Letter of introduction will be useful to leave with the client or prospect
  • Statement of benefits available when using your products or services
  • Press clippings relative to your industry and market share

The keys to winning new business include professional tools like these.  Preparation is the rule here.  Let the client or prospect see that you are professionally competent and skilled in the right way to help them.  Beyond that point everything comes down to what you say and the confidence you convey.

Sales Presentation Ideas

The clients that we serve today are under all types of pressures when it comes to business stability and growth.  Our job in sales is to help our clients improve their position; to make their business life easier and more fruitful.  When you understand that fact and feed it into your sales pitch the whole thing gets a lot easier and more logical.  The client can then see why they need your services above that provided by others.

If you make a lot of presentations on a regular basis you cannot help but improve your skills and communication strategies.  The whole thing can however be fast tracked with personal practice and role playing.

Here are some facts to feed into your presentational processes:

  • Understand your market and where it is headed over the coming months and years
  • Understand your clients business and the pressures that they operate under
  • Provide comprehensive information on your service and product
  • Show results that are proven and have relevance to your client
  • Use pictures and graphs as part of attracting the clients attention
  • Have a selection of ‘success stories’ that can be used to strengthen your presentation
  • Use your database to build your personal brand and relevance to your prospects and clients
  • Be clear about prices, supply chain, and supply times
  • Don’t make your proposal too complex or detailed (keep it simple)
  • Understand beforehand if others will be involved in the meeting or presentation and just who they are in the decision process
  • Offer discounts if they are of benefit and relevance to the client today
  • If possible choose a location for the presentation that gives you some control of the situation
  • Find out what the timing of decisions are likely to be
  • Understand the competition and how they may approach the client with a counter pitch
  • Know where the client is at when it comes to purchase urgency and choice
  • Ask questions to fill in the gaps with the clients knowledge and understanding of options available

When you really understand these facts, you can improve your conversions from presentations.  Use your prospecting efforts to get to know more business people and prospects in your market.  Your options will soon open up and the sales can grow for you.

Personal Appearance in Sales is Really Important

The personal appearance of sales people today is just as important as it has ever been.  Unfortunately there are huge variances in the way sales people appear.

Those sales people that do not look ‘smart’ are actually destroying their reputation and wallet.  They are not showing the client the respect and professionalism that is required.

Like it or not, and in these days of mobile phones and ‘casual’ business, how you look still matters ‘big time’.  If you are in sales or customer service of any type you cannot avoid the issue.

Most of our customers will judge us on how we look first and foremost.  If you cannot pass that test, you will fail in the client connection.

Here is an example for you of this problem:

We will call this person ‘Max’; the name is false but the situation is real.  Max works in a very competitive sales active office in a capital city.  There are 8 other salespeople in the same office.

Max is aged in his late 20’s and regards himself as a ‘top salesperson’.  Whilst he may be the top performer in his team, he is earning less than 50% of a top operator in his market.

So why is this?

Max has a big attitude of himself, and yet a real appearance problem.  His moderate levels of success give him some ‘ego’ in the market place.  He believes he is the best salesperson in the area and market; whilst that may be partially true in his team, his visual appearance destroys his credibility with any new clients.

From an outsider’s perspective, Max always looks like he ‘fell off a bus’.  His clothes are scruffy, and his personal appearance is unkempt.  He lives a rough life and the customers can see it.

Ask yourself this question.  Why would a client trust their valuable business to someone that cannot even manage themselves?

Max has placed limitations on his income and client base because he sends the wrong signals with his appearance and business style.

Here are some other facts about Max:

  1. Most of the time his desk looks like a ‘bomb site’
  2. The standards of his documentation are poor
  3. His diary and time management processes are terrible
  4. He is late for most appointments
  5. His organisation with business materials in a client’s office are weak

So why is Max somewhat ‘successful’?   He knows a lot of people.  Would those people he knows trust Max to do a deal?  Perhaps, although there are some real limitations when it comes to getting new customers to know and trust him.

New customers cannot help but see him as poorly presented and unorganised; like it or not, Max will not win much new business regardless of how good he thinks he is as a salesperson.  If he is outside of his ‘customer group’ and pitching against a sharply presented competitor, Max comes from a base of significant disadvantage; he created that entire problem for himself.

Will Max change his ways?  Maybe or maybe not, but it’s a hard way to learn.  He is doing himself out of money and sales.  There is a level of maturity in business and Max doesn’t yet know what that is.  He has placed limitations on his professional career.  Pretty dumb, don’t you think?

Focus Your Appearance

If you work in sales or customer service, strive to look your best every working day at all times in the presence of clients and customers.  Send the right message.

Every new meeting with clients and customers should be a top ‘visual’ experience for the client well before you say anything.  Set the scene for a great business relationship.  Show that you respect the client and yourself through a top personal appearance and presentation.  In sales, it is a test that you must ‘pass’ with flying colours.