In our many years in business and working as advisors to Startups, Buildups, and Buildout companies, we’ve heard hundreds of sales pitches. Most of them strike out before they ever get to first base. The ones that hit the ball squarely all have three things in common.
If you want to know how to write a sales pitch you would do well to start with these three essentials:
1. Keep It Concise (elevator pitch example)
The so-called elevator pitch is supposed to be short enough to be given on an elevator between floors. That’s usually just a few seconds. What can you say in just a few seconds? Our favorite elevator pitch example is what we referred to as the world’s greatest sales pitch. It goes like this, “I can help you sell your product!” To which the prospect will usually respond, “How?” That’s your invitation to get off on his floor and continue the conversation.
Our friend Ryan Foland of UCI has a great technique that can help you keep it concise. It’s called the 3-1-3 method. Get it down to three sentences. Then get it down to one sentence. Then get it down to three words! He also points out that prospects are less interested in what you do than the problem you solve.
2. Make It Compelling (sales pitch examples)
You certainly can’t say, “I can help you sell your product!” unless you know what their product is. You have to do your research. We found that in many cases, we have the wrong idea about what our prospect’s product is. For instance, we thought our retailers were interested in the same things we were, high quality and low price. But in fact, they were interested in high turn, established following, and (believe it or not) seasonal decorations!
So, our compelling pitch had to focus on their product, challenge or goal. As an example, “My product has colorful marketing materials that celebrate each holiday season in the year.” Or, “My product has demonstrated high turnover with your competitors.” Or even, “ My product’s existing customers will bring new business into your store!”
3. Show Some Compassion (solve their problem)
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Instead of standing in front of them, figuratively speaking, stand next to them. Look at their business with them. Ask them what their biggest problem is. Ask them what their favorite product is and find out why.
Respect their time and appreciate the fact that there are many more vendors beside yourself vying for their attention and precious time. This is why it’s important to establish a relationship before you make your sales presentation. Remember, they don’t buy what you’re selling, they buy you. Their concern is simple, “Will you be back? Will you give me good customer service? Will you stand behind your products?”
By demonstrating empathy for their situation and showing compassion for their natural concerns, you will be much more likely to be invited to make a full-on sales presentation.
When your prospect says, “How?” or “Tell me more,” they are demonstrating a great buying signal – interest! It’s a lot more productive to deliver a sales presentation to a person who asks for one than someone who keeps looking at their watch!
We believe the first presentation you make should be introductory, using a 50-word blurb and a 5-slide deck. By keeping it short and sweet and letting the prospect see that the end of the presentation is in sight, they are much more likely to give it their time and attention. Remember, you’re not the only one presenting to them. A brief presentation will be like a breath of fresh air and they will be naturally attracted to it.
In 3 sentences, get their attention. Show them that your solution is relevant, effective, and focused.
Demonstrate the market potential, the unique problem and challenge that your product will solve, how you address it, and the advantages only your solution provides.
In 5 slides, compel them to ask for more.
1st Slide: State the problem (and/or the pain caused by the lack of a solution)
2nd Slide: Demonstrate the size of the market being addressed (show the opportunity for a solution)
3rd Slide: Identify what the solution does more than how it works (don’t disclose any IP at this time)
4th Slide: Identify the alternatives and the current competitive options used to solve the problem
5th Slide: Call to action (State your offer and make the ask – if they want more, consider getting an NDA)
Rather than being comprehensive, answering all the anticipated questions, and “selling” them on your solution, this formula focuses on identifying the problem, the demand, a brief description of your solution, the alternatives to your solution, and what they have to do to find out more. This quickly gets it down to the very few sincerely interested parties. It saves you and them tons of time.
Once you have qualified the prospect, you can provide them with more details about your solution, your business model, and your marketing plans. The efficiency of this type of sales pitch makes it easier for your prospects to distribute your sales presentation to their own network. You reach a broader audience more likely to include the interested parties you seek. You’re still a long way from a home run, but at least you’re on first base!