Ultimate Sales Pitch Guide
← Introduction / Chapter 3 of 8
by Steli Efti, CEO
Last updated November 17, 2020
How many different methods are there to give a sales pitch?
Whether it’s email, social media, SMS, video conference, or in-person, there are plenty of ways to get your message across.
But the one tried-and-true method that all top-performing salespeople keep coming back to is this: the cold call sales pitch.
Giving a convincing sales pitch over the phone requires skills, finesse, and guts. And let’s face it, cold calling probably isn’t your favorite sales method — but it’s worth the effort.
Are you ready to become an expert at over-the-phone sales pitches?
In this chapter, you’re going to learn:
A cold call sales pitch is unique because it requires a moment of clear connection between you and your lead. It’s an opportunity for a personal connection that just isn’t possible in an email or a text. However, that level of connection also puts you in the direct line of fire for rejection.
You need to be able to address objections much faster when you’re on the phone than when you’re working with email and have more time to map out your responses. That said, when you can pitch over the phone successfully, you set the basis for a stronger connection with leads and a deeper relationship as a future customer.
Cold calling sales leads in Close CRM with the Predictive Dialer
When making a sales pitch over the phone, you have several things working against you.
First of all, you’re calling a complete stranger and asking for some of their valuable time. You have just seconds to convince them to keep listening to you.
Second, most people dread making cold calls. Even seasoned sales veterans still feel a pinch of anxiety when they make their first dial of the day, and it takes everyone some effort to overcome their fear of cold calling at some point. Either they’re afraid of facing rejection or they dread sounding like the sleazy salesperson most people associate with phone call sales pitches.
And lastly, there’s the danger of having your sales pitch sound mechanical and robotic since you’re repeating the same words over and over again to different people during the day.
Do any of these challenges hold you back from giving a successful sales pitch over the phone? Keep reading: With the tips below, you’ll learn to overcome these challenges with a comfortable and polished sales pitch for the phone.
The first seconds of your sales pitch are critical. The lead wasn’t expecting your call, and they’ll need solid reasons to stay on the phone with you within the first few seconds of your call.
So, how should you start a sales pitch over the phone?
In Chapter 4 of this guide, we’ll go into more detail about how to create a sales pitch script that works. But for now, here are 5 easy steps to start your cold call sales pitch on the right foot:
While a bit obvious, giving your name and company as the first sentence is essential, especially when you’re on the phone. Your lead needs to know immediately who you are and what company you’re with: otherwise, they’ll spend the first 20 seconds wondering who on earth you are and will completely miss your pitch.
There’s no need to ask if you caught them in the middle of something: let’s just assume you did.
So, after telling them clearly who you are, give a one-sentence explanation of why you’re calling them.
This sentence needs to cover three important points:
That sentence could sound like this:
“I’m calling marketing managers whose companies have recently announced a more permanent remote-work situation to talk about a solution for remote productivity.”
In fact, starting this sentence with “The reason for my call is…” has actually been proven to help prospects stay on the phone longer and even book a meeting.
This is a psychological hack to help put prospects at ease.
Ever get a call from someone that you know will keep you on the phone for hours? Be honest with me: did you pick up the phone with an excuse ready to launch like a lifeboat from a sinking ship?
That’s how your prospects are probably answering your calls.
Let’s assume they’ve had bad experiences with lousy salespeople who have kept them on the phone much longer than they wanted and they’re ready to make their excuses and get off the phone with you before you take their whole day.
To stop this from happening, tell them exactly how much time you’re asking for.
“If you have 35 seconds right now, I’d love to tell you how our product is helping marketing managers to increase productivity on their teams by 25%.”
If the lead agrees to hear your pitch, do not go beyond the time you’ve set for yourself. In 30 seconds or less, give a solid pitch that focuses on the needs and wants of the lead and shows them specific reasons why they should stay on the phone.
Now your lead knows:
They have all the information they need to decide whether they want to keep listening or not.
At this point, you cannot keep pitching without better knowledge of the customer. You need to ask questions (like the ones we talked about in the last chapter) so that you’re not throwing darts in the dark.
But first, you need to make sure they’re willing to continue. It’s time to ask a critical question:
“Does this sound like something you’d be interested in?”
This method of starting your cold call sales pitch allows you to quickly establish a basis to continue the conversation and give an effective sales pitch that leads to a closed deal down the road.
Sometimes, the best way to learn is by watching good examples.
Want to see what a sales pitch over the phone looks like in real life? Check out these sales pitch examples and see what you can swipe for your own cold calls:
This is a live pitch for sales software to sales leadership. Ryan pitches his product proactively, asking good questions, and getting his prospect interested right from the get-go. He also sets a specific amount of time that he needs to pitch his product right from the start.
How to model your cold calls after this: Acknowledge that you're an interruption, and put a specific time limit on how long you'll spend with them.
Michael gets off to a rough start with technical difficulties on this call, but he pushes through with great discovery questions that hook the prospect.
How to model your cold calls after this: Don't let yourself get thrown off course by unexpected interruptions.
Dan is pitching his social media services to a jewelry business in his area. His calm, natural tone keeps the conversation casual and personal.
How to model your cold calls after this: Clearly state the reason for your call at the beginning, and sell them on the meeting, not the offering.
This salesperson is looking to sell payroll software to a company. But, by asking the right questions, he realizes that this company doesn't fit his ideal customer profile.
How to model your cold calls after this: Ask the right questions to quickly jump to the needs of this client. Or, as in this case, find out from the get-go if this person is right before you launch into your pitch.
Mark is selling sales training and does a great job of digging into the real needs of his prospect before pitching his solution.
How to model your cold calls after this: Use the "Tell me more" trick to do what Mark did: get the prospect to open up about their needs.
Ethan's call with a local business goes really well because he shows he's done his research and takes the time to educate the prospect on paid ads tracking.
How to model your cold calls after this: Know the businesses you’re selling to as well as you know what you’re selling. That way, you can be an expert advisor that helps educate prospects as you find the solutions they need.
Mariah's fun, natural tone goes a long way with her prospects, and she's involved in the conversation enough to respond well to whatever these people throw at her. Mariah teaches us that a cold call sales pitch can be fun!
How to model your cold calls after this: To respond well, you need to listen well. The more comfortable you are with your pitch, the easier it will be to listen to what your prospects tell you.
While most salespeople dread leaving a voicemail (or simply don’t leave one at all), Morgan shows us what a sales pitch voicemail should sound like. Without rushing, he clearly explains who he is and why this prospect should call him back, all in less than 25 seconds. (Jump to 4:27 in the video to see Morgan’s voicemail in action.)
How to model your cold calls after this: Give value right away: Treat the first sentence of your sales pitch as the reason why your prospect should stay on the phone (or call you back).
Michael makes a call to a C-level executive at a billion-dollar company and gives him a pitch that is friendly and casual. His lead is semi-warm since they had already connected on social media, and the two chat like old friends rather than complete strangers.
How to model your cold calls after this: Don’t be afraid of pitching to C-level executives at big companies. In the end, they’re just people, and they’ll appreciate an authentic voice on the other line more than a mechanical pitch.
These sales pitch examples over the phone give us a foundation to start with. But, are you ready to take your cold call pitch to the pro level?
If you want to be more comfortable and get better results from your cold call sales pitches, use these 6 expert tips for pitching over the phone:
This isn’t a myth: there are actually physiological reasons why smiling on the phone changes how you sound. The shape of your mouth and the pull on your vocal cords changes when you smile, so your voice automatically adopts a different tone.
In other words, people can quite literally hear you smiling on the phone.
Tone of voice is extremely important when selling on the phone since your voice is the only link people have to you. With a smile and the right tone, you’ll come off as friendly and helpful rather than pushy, apathetic, or aggressive.
Is there a ‘best time’ to call your prospects?
If you search for that information in Google, you will likely come away confused. Numerous ‘studies’ of sales phone calls have found that the best time to call is in the morning. Others say the afternoon is better. Some studies tell you never to call before lunch, others say 11:00 AM is a sweet spot for cold calls.
The point? Deciding on the right time to call is up to you.
You know your prospects: so, what does their typical day look like?
If you’re not sure, talk to current customers that you have a good relationship with. Are these startup founders who begin their day at 5:00 AM and regularly work past 6:00 PM? Are they working remotely and getting to work a bit later to spend time with their kids before school? Do they typically take a full hour for lunch, or do they work through lunch?
Sales call timing also involves timing in the week, month, or quarter. Get to know the cycles that these businesses are going through and the timing of their goals.
Another aspect of timing your calls well has to do with inbound leads. When someone signs up for a trial on your website or fills out a form, how quickly do you respond?
According to one study, your chances of contacting a lead are 100 times greater if you call them in the first 5 minutes than calling them just 30 minutes later.
And the chances of qualifying are 21 times higher.
The point: Contact new inbound leads within the first 5 minutes.
Pro tip: Want to add new leads to your call lists faster? Close CRM integrates with inbound lead generation tools like Intercom, Drift, 99Inbound, MailChimp, Unbounce, and more, so new leads are added to your lists automatically and you can call in the very moment they show interest in your product.
Words like “um,” “uh,” “well,” and “you know” slip into our conversations like the dust that’s collecting on your computer monitor right now.
And just like that dust, filler words make it difficult to see through to the point of your sales pitch.
So, cleanse your pitch of filler words (and for goodness sake, clean your monitor already)!
Of course, we know these words aren’t in your script. So, how can you stop saying them?
The best method to remove filler words from your pitch is to practice, practice, practice. And then, go practice some more.
The more comfortable you are with your sales pitch, the easier it will be to get through it without adding unwelcome filler words.
Once you remove filler words, you may notice some gaps in your pitch.
These are what we like to call dramatic pauses.
Yes, pausing in your pitch sets a very interesting tone. When you pause at the right time, and for just the right amount of time, you give your prospects a moment to consider what you’ve said and show them that you’re comfortable and relaxed, not in a hurry.
Pausing also gives you the opportunity to breathe. While it may seem a bit obvious that you need to breathe while giving a sales pitch over the phone, it’s far too easy to get caught up in the stress of the moment and speak several sentences without taking a breath. (At which point you’ll sound more like someone who’s about to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon than someone trying to sell software.)
By adding appropriate pauses to your pitch, you’ll make sure not to confuse the prospect and actually hold their attention. Learn more about how to speak in a way that makes people listen in this article: Cold calling? You lost me at hello.
While it’s true that this should be a conversation, it’s important that you as the sales rep guide this conversation effectively.
In fact, research from our friends at Gong.io found that top-performing sales reps switch topics 15.6% less frequently than average or poor performers.
This means that, even though top reps seem to cover more ground, they keep their conversations clear and intentional, bringing in the right topics at the right time.
How can you do this?
By following an effective script. Looking for an example? Jump ahead to the next chapter to see how to create a winning sales pitch script.
When you have a clear goal in mind for your sales call, you’ll know what you’re saying and how to direct the conversation. Keep in mind 3 points you want to highlight or topics you want to cover, then take the prospect through those one step at a time.
With clear intentions and a path to follow, you’ll stop jumping topics and start having a clear, well-developed conversation.
In a cold call sales pitch, you have much less personal contact with your lead than you would in-person.
So, when they talk, you need to make sure you hear everything they’re saying and understand it.
Without the advantage of body language and facial expressions, this becomes more of a challenge.
So, you need to take your listening a step further.
As you go through your pitch and ask questions, you want the prospect to feel understood and make sure you understand their answers (and the reasons behind their answers) very well.
Here’s an easy psychological hack to do this: repeat back their answers.
Let’s say you’ve asked about the main challenges the prospect is facing. They respond, “Figuring out how to keep the team productive when they’re working remotely permanently has been a recurring challenge over the last few months.”
Then you say something like this: “So, team productivity is a priority for you right now.”
And the prospect responds: “Yes, exactly.”
Now, the prospect knows that you truly understand their main need. This gives them more confidence in what you say from here on out since any solution you offer should apply to this particular need.
You already knew that giving a sales pitch over the phone can be scary. But this chapter has taught you how to take those calls and make them work for you instead of letting phone fear overwhelm your pitch.
You’ve also seen some incredible cold call sales pitch examples that you can imitate, as well as expert tips such as smiling, pausing effectively, and speaking with intention and clarity.
But to maximize the power of your sales pitch, you need a script.
How do you create a sales pitch script, and why is it so important? Head over to Chapter 4: How to create a phone sales pitch script.