Do not start with your product.
You can’t start with the product because people don’t know that you care yet and they also don’t know whether you understand their situation yet. The last thing people want to see you lead with is your product, no matter how compelling you may think it is.
Others start with the problem the prospect has. This is a big improvement over starting with product. It’s an improvement because now you’re starting with reading what’s on the prospect’s mind and repeating back to him / her what is going on in there. You have at least a tangential understanding of what they’re going through.
It is better to have gone though what it is they’re experiencing right now.
Better, you have gone through what it is they’re experiencing right now, and can use the language they would use to describe what that is like back to them. This proves you understand their situation, their language, their experience.
What is their situation in the marketplace? What are they facing?
In order to keep and hold their attention during a pitch, you must describe the current situation within the marketplace. Describe the shift. What is changing? What’s scary? What’s hard about what they encounter professionally right now? What is it they’re experiencing that causes them to nod their heads in agreement to you and the picture you’re painting?
Let them know you understand how painful it is, this thing they’re going through. Whether it is an industry shift, niche morph, or the old way of doing things is dying out, continue to paint this picture using visceral imagery. Make them feel it. It is OK to make them feel a little uncomfortable here. They should experience discomfort because this is not a pleasant experience. They should be afraid, especially if they’re on the losing end.
Further, let them know what it is like for the winners during this shift. The winners are making out great. They’re killing it. They’re getting after it. They’ve changed. They’ve adapted. They’re winning. They’re celebrating this change in industry.
Now, make the turn in your sales pitch.
What is their desired outcome?
The next part of your pitch is where you make the turn. Now, you describe their desired outcome to them. Where is it they want to be? What does it look like there? What is it they want the most? What is it they want the most, but will still require your help to get there? Paint the picture of this desired outcome for them. Show them what things will be like for them in 12 months. Ask them, “What will have had to happen in order for you to feel this is a success 12 months from now?”
You’re getting ready for the big reveal here, but you’re not quite there yet. Make sure you’ve created a Promised Land for them to picture in their minds. This place is a far more pleasant space than where they are now.
What will things look like 12 months from now in order for you to feel like this has been a success?
Now, you can roll out your solution to their problems. I like to think of this as giving them guidance (expertise), confidence (you are able to help them solve their problem because you’ve been through this before) and tools (you’ve created something that will help them move to their desired outcome).
Think of yourself and your team and your company as giving them gifts. You give gifts. Your products, your expertise, your confidence in what it is you do are gifts to the prospect. You give gifts when you desire to help and be seen as a person of value.
My mantra, like Jeffrey Gitomer’s mantra, like Russell Brunson’s mantra, like Seth Godin’s mantra is I give value first. You’d be wise to follow this mantra. When you follow this mantra, people are no longer on the defensive. They’re more relaxed. If you give off the aura of giving with no expectation of anything in return, people are typically blown away. Some almost think you’re joking. It is a 100% table-turn for the prospect.
Think about Jeffrey Gitomer’s gifts. What are the tools he gives away first? Expertise. Problem-solving. Confidence transfer to his students. Teaching. Most of which are given away for free or for a low cost to the prospect. And people buy from him over and over and over again.
Think about Russell Brunson’s gifts. What are the tools he gives away first? Sales & Marketing expertise. Books. Problem-solving. Funnel strategies. Podcasts chock full of experience and storytelling. Teaching. Confidence transfer to his students. Software. Community. Starting a movement.
Think about Seth Godin’s gifts. What are the tools Seth gives away first? One of the most popular sales and marketing blogs in the history of the Internet. Speeches up on YouTube for free. Tons of books. Teaching. Teaching and transferring the Chutzpah to say No to all meetings and instead devote that time to writing and creating. New ways to shift your thinking so you decommoditize and reposition what it is you sell. Problem solving. Status. Confidence transfer to his students.
What are you giving away to your prospects that proves you can help solve their problems?
What about you? What are you giving away to your prospects that proves you can help solve their problems? Are you giving value first? Or, are you starting with yourself, as in we, we, we? Prospects don’t care about your we until they get that you get their me. Got it? Understand them first. Hold the mirror up to them first. Prove you get them and their plight first.
-What tools can you provide or even give away for a period of time to them to help them reach their desired outcome? What is it you’ve got that has helped people like them be successful?
Finally, don’t just take it from me. Let others do your selling for you. Take customer success stories with you in your pitch deck. Let them tell their story to those like them. This does several things for you: it proves that what you say is effective and it works. It offers 100% credibility to your story. When someone else says it on your behalf, it is 100x more powerful.
Further, closing your pitch with others talking is the icing on the cake. It exhibits the sub-text, People like us do things like this. People like us successfully solved this problem. Come join us. No one is better at selling, nor more credible at selling for you, than customers having success with your product.