Ultimate Sales Pitch Guide

Introduction / Chapter 2 of 8

7 sales pitch ideas & techniques to get you out of a rut

by Steli Efti, CEO

Last updated November 17, 2020


How long have you been using the same sales pitch?

Maybe you spent a lot of time crafting a pitch that suits your audience. You worked to get the right questions, include powerful phrases, and focus on the benefits.

But the more you use this sales pitch over time, the more worn out it seems.

Maybe the market has changed and your pitch doesn’t appeal to them like it did before. Or maybe, after using the same pitch for so long, you’re getting into a rut.

It’s time to dig yourself out with some creative sales pitch ideas.

In this chapter, you’re going to see:

  • 7 creative sales pitch ideas that make you stand out from the crowd
  • How to get out of a rut by avoiding common sales pitch mistakes

7 creative sales pitch ideas that make you stand out from the crowd

Many times, learning how to pitch better and getting out of a rut means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

With your sales pitch, the idea is the same: we want to break you out of the box you’ve been living in and build a sales pitch that tests your skills as a sales rep.

The bigger the effort, the better the results.

Take a serious look at this list of sales pitch techniques. See which ones you can implement in your own process, and be willing to break out of your comfort zone.

1. Create sales pitches for each customer profile

One sales pitch is great: A few sales pitches are better.

If you sell one product to one single type of customer, then you probably only need one sales pitch. But if your solution solves a number of different challenges or is used by customers who are vastly different from each other, you should have more than one pitch, and a lot more sales pitch techniques in your arsenal.

After all, the way you pitch to an SMB is not the same as the way you pitch to an enterprise company.

In Chapter 1 of this guide, we discussed writing a sales pitch. Inside this process, it’s essential for you to use real customer data to craft a pitch that sells. If your company already has ideal customer profiles set up, use that information to craft several different pitches that appeal to different audiences.

Pro tip: If you don’t have ideal customer profiles set up, get this free interactive guide to create your own ideal customer profiles.

Once you have several sales pitch ideas that are based on your customer profiles, you can use the qualification stage to fit new leads into one of these profiles.

Then, you’ll be able to choose the pitch that best suits this particular lead based on their profile.

As an added bonus, using multiple sales pitches is a great way to break out of a rut. In this case, you’ll be constantly changing up your pitch, adapting dynamically during the day based on who you’re talking to instead of repeating the same pitch to every new lead.

2. Build a dialogue, not a monologue

You may have heard the mantra: listen more than you talk.

While this may be true in some parts of the sales process, it’s actually not ideal on a cold call.

Research from our friends at Gong.io shows that, when you’re pitching to a lead, you should be talking just a bit more than your lead does.

Reps own more of the conversation in successful cold calls

However, this doesn’t mean you need to launch into a five-minute discourse on the benefits of your product.

Instead, you want your conversational flow to look something like this:

Conversational flow chart from Gong.io

While there are short monologues in this call, there is a regular back-and-forth between the rep and the lead.

By keeping your lead engaged throughout your pitch, you’ll make sure they’re really listening when you explain important aspects of your solution.

So, keep this sales pitch idea in mind: create a dialogue, not a monologue.

Within your written pitch, include questions to ask your prospect and space for them to express their ideas. Then, your pitch will have a better flow, and the prospect will stay engaged.

3. Use open-ended questions to discover pain points and pitch effectively

Ultimately, you can use questions to help prospects see how your solution solves a problem they’re facing.

The ideal formula is asking whether the prospect has a certain problem, getting them to say yes, and then presenting your solution.

But it’s unlikely you’ll be able to guess at their main pain points without asking the right questions.

The best way to do this? Ask open-ended questions.

Let’s use an example to demonstrate how this works. Imagine you’re selling a scheduling app to doctors. Use your questions as satellites that map out the prospect's wants and needs. You want to use your satellites to spot the exact coordinates of their sweet spots.


Sales rep: "What's one of the biggest challenges you have in your practice right now, especially when it comes to managing revenue, costs, and your time?"

Dr. Smith: "Figuring out a way to increase revenue is important in today's economy."

Most salespeople at this point in the conversation would think: "Great, I got it! I’ll pitch this doctor our scheduling app as a way to increase revenue!"

But you—the real pro sales rep—aren't satisfied with that. You take it a step further.


Sales rep: "If increasing revenue is important to you, what have you done in the past to achieve that? Is it about getting more people in the door, having more people show up on time, or reducing the number of no-shows? What kind of measures do you think could really make a dent?"

Dr. Smith: "We don't really have a problem with no-shows. The main thing would probably be doing more effective advertising."

Now that piece of information changes the whole dynamic of the conversation dramatically, compared to what the first version of the answer was.

At this point, it might seem like there's no way to sell to this doctor. After all, how can your scheduling app help Dr. Smith's advertising?

But this is the point that differentiates mediocre sales reps from great sales reps. Because now you're really getting into consulting. You're not just trying to get the prospect's money in exchange for what you've got: you're revealing something of value to your prospect.

Keep asking these open-ended questions. You want to find out: is advertising really the thing that would benefit this doctor the most? What's their actual no-show rate? Maybe there's potential for significant improvement, and Dr. Smith simply isn't aware of how big an opportunity for increasing revenue this represents.

4. Test before you pitch

As you continue to converse with the prospect, asking good questions, and discovering their true needs, you’re getting closer to the point where you dive into your pitch.

But again, don't gamble, don't guess, don't hope for luck. Instead, test!

Don't proclaim, "Dr. Smith, I think I have the perfect solution for you! We can save you money on scheduling!"

Instead, keep asking, probing, testing:

Sales rep: "Dr. Smith, if there was a way to significantly save on scheduling and staffing, would you be interested in a solution like that? Would saving a lot of money be an option for you, so that you keep your revenue unaffected, but lower costs, and thus end up with more profit, instead of trying all kinds of new advertising methods that have unknown outcomes and aren't predictable?"


And then wait to hear what they say!

Dr. Smith: "Na, I'm not really a saving-money guy."

That's valuable feedback! It saves you a wasted bullet. Now you don't have to pitch what you wanted to pitch, and are still good for another round of interaction and questioning until you get a clear sense of what would work.

Ultimately, you want to get to a point where Dr. Smith says, "Yes, that would be interesting."

5. Back up your statements with facts and data

How many times have you heard a rookie sales rep say something like:

“We offer the BEST solution to your problem.”

“It’s the BEST value for the money.”

“We’re the PERFECT tool for this task.”

And maybe it’s true. Maybe you are the best. But simply stating that fact without any data to back it up makes it very difficult for the prospect to believe you.

Anyone can say they’re the best. But only the best can prove it.

So, what makes your solution the best? Do you have unique features that other companies are lacking? Is your customer support out of this world? Are your customers seeing better results with your product?

It’s not wrong to make bold statements about your solution. But if you can’t back those statements up with facts and data, your prospects will lose confidence in you. And if you lose their trust at this point, you’ll probably lose the deal.

Instead, try something like this:

“Our solution is the best value for the money, considering the size of your team. Other solutions charge you per user, but we offer one fixed price per month that doesn’t change when you add more users.”

With some extra facts, that abstract statement builds a solid foundation in reality.

6. Talk about the cost of NOT purchasing

You never want to talk about the price of your product without first establishing the value. But sometimes during a sales pitch, the prospect insists on the topic of cost.

If you feel you’re not quite ready to give them a price, try switching this conversation around.

“I understand pricing is very important to you since you’re working with a tight budget. But let me just ask you this question: if you don’t find a solution to [the problem you’ve discussed] in [amount of time], how much will that cost your company?”

If your solution isn’t directly related to revenue, adjust the last part of that question to lead the prospect to understand the consequences of not purchasing:

  • “What would be the effect on your team?”
  • “How would productivity be affected?”
  • “How will that affect the morale of your remote employees?”

Then, take those consequences and convert them into dollars:

  • “If team productivity goes down by just 10%, how much money could your company be losing?”
  • “If morale starts to go down, your employee churn rate will go up. How much does it cost you to onboard new employees when others leave?”

By asking these questions, you’ll help prospects understand the real cost of the problem before they hear the cost of the solution.

7. Preempt objections by talking about your weak points

At the end of your sales pitch or in the next meeting with this prospect, you will likely face objections.

Let’s be honest: No one knows the weak points and risks of your product better than you do.

Don’t try to hide those. Instead, catch the prospect off guard by preempting their objections.

In other words, tell them exactly why they shouldn’t buy your product.

Honesty is a powerful tool for a salesperson. Use it to your advantage.

Think of it like this: when a prospect brings up objections, it puts you on the defensive. When you bring up the weak points of your own product, you can control how they’re seen by the prospect and how a solution can be found.

The key is preparing a brief solution to each weak point. Even if you haven’t figured out a complete solution, prepare a quick sentence or two that shows you’re aware of the issue and are working to address it.

How to get out of a rut by avoiding common sales pitch mistakes

Another reason you might get stuck in a rut is by developing routines that are counterproductive to your sales.

It’s time to break bad habits within your sales pitch. Here are some routines that some reps fall into, as well as ideas on how to get out:

Aimlessly throwing darts in the dark

If you’re not clear on exactly what parts of your product will appeal to your audience, your sales pitch will lack proper aim.




Using our example above, here’s what NOT to do:


Sales rep: "Hey Dr. Smith, we've built this scheduling app, and it saves doctors like you a lot of time. Would this be interesting to you?"

Dr. Smith: "No, we don't really have that problem, I don't think this is really for us."

Sales rep: "Yeah, but our scheduling app can also help you to reduce staff costs because you don't need to have somebody on the phone all the time, going back and forth with potential patients. Are you interested in reducing your staffing costs?"

Dr. Smith: "No, I don't think this is something we're interested in."

Sales rep: "Yeah, but, how about if we could actually increase your revenue a bit?"

And the sales rep goes on and on like this, without a clear target, without a clear understanding of where to aim at. They’re just throwing features and value propositions around, hoping something will hit the target.

That's not selling, that's speculating. It lacks direction.

Instead of throwing darts in the dark, make sure you can see the target before you take aim. There are two specific ways to do this:

  • Do proper research before you get on the call
  • Ask questions that reveal needs

Once you have a clear view of the target, you can stop throwing into the dark hoping for a result, and start aiming your pitch effectively.

Building a no-street

Asking yes-or-no questions is a dangerous road to travel on. Because once a prospect starts telling you “no,” you are building a no-street.

You're conditioning the prospect’s mind to say "no" to your proposals. The more often the prospect says no to you, the more likely they are going to be to keep saying no, and the bigger the disconnect between you and the prospect. Eventually, they’re so tuned-out of your pitch that they’ll respond with “no” to anything you say.

Here’s how to fix this:

Instead of asking the prospect, “Do you have this problem?”

Ask, “What’s the main challenge you’re facing right now?”

Above, we discussed the power of open-ended questions. These questions will lead you to a better understanding of your prospect, meaning you can guide them based on their actual needs.

Assuming what you like about the product is what your prospects will like

A good sales rep really believes in what they’re selling. But what you like about the product may not be what the prospect likes.

Remember this scene from Wolf of Wall Street?





Do you know why all their sales pitches suck? Because each of these sales seminar attendees pitches prematurely. They assume that what they like about the pen is what their buyer likes about the pen. They just show up and throw up all over the prospect, rather than gathering information, engaging the prospect, and presenting the solution in response to their fact find.

Over-promising

You know the moment. You’re pitching, it’s going great, they love your product. Then they ask: “But does it have this feature?”

The knee-jerk reaction is normally something like this: “Not yet, but it’s on the roadmap!”

This is one of those phrases that’s almost certain to kill the deal.

Because most of the time, either this feature isn’t really on the roadmap, or the rep has no actual idea of what the product roadmap looks like.

Here’s the key: Your sales pitch isn’t about what your product might have down the road. If a feature isn’t part of your product today, or won’t be part of your product in the next few weeks, don’t sell it.

When you’re trying to sell the vision instead of the reality, it’s easy to over-promise and under-deliver. That’s never a good way to start a relationship with a new customer.

Instead, try to dig into why the prospect is asking about this feature. What do they want to solve? Is there another feature of your product that will solve that problem just as well? Is there a workaround using Zapier or another integration that some of your customers have used to solve this problem?

By digging into the root of the problem, you can overcome this question without promising features that may never be part of your solution.

Forgetting to follow up

Never underestimate the power of the follow-up.

Maybe you’ve set up some specific next-steps and are now waiting for the prospect to get back to you.

That’s fine. Just don’t wait forever.

To make sure this prospect doesn’t fall through the cracks, set up a reminder in your CRM to check back with the prospect after a reasonable amount of time.

In Close, you can check your inbox to see upcoming tasks, such as follow-ups, or reschedule them for down the road.

Inbox in Close CRM Don’t let their excitement cool off: follow up to keep that lead hot.

Use these ideas to create the perfect sales pitch

So, are you ready to deliver a pitch that resonates with your prospects?

The creative sales pitch ideas we’ve discussed will help you gain a better understanding of your prospects and use that information to close deals faster. By maintaining a dialogue and asking open-ended questions, you’ll keep the prospect engaged from start to finish.

Also, avoiding common sales mistakes, like throwing darts in the dark or overpromising, can help you keep a good rapport with your prospect and move them to the next stage in your sales pipeline.

But how does a sales pitch work over the phone? And what can you learn from top examples of cold-call pitches? Jump to the next chapter of this guide for more.


Ultimate Sales Pitch Guide: Table of Contents

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