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As a dedicated sales professional, you have worked hard to gain attention in the industry and stand out from your competitors. Recently, a prospective customer has agreed to meet with you to discuss how your goods and services could benefit their bottom line. Are you ready to pitch?

A solid sales pitch is a wonderful opportunity to turn prospects into clients, but it is also an opportunity tarnish integral relationships. Broadly speaking, the art of pitching is the hinge between influencing your prospect to a deal and being ignored altogether.

Here are the 5 common sins of sales pitching to avoid, so you can ‘show up’, not ‘throw up’:

1. Lack of Individuality. Your prospective buyers are receiving sales pitches on a daily basis, so what differentiates you from the masses? What makes your goods and services better or more desirable? The question is what makes you different. You have to be unique in the mind of your customer and create interest. The focus of your conversation should not emphasize why your product is the best, but rather how it can uniquely benefit your customer. It is important for your prospect to communicate their struggles, so you can rectify their specific problems. 

2. Telling and not showing. When you overpower a conversation, you can exhaust the attention and listening skills of your prospect. We live in a visual age, where demonstration often makes a greater impact than explanation.  At the Toronto 2014 Art of Sales conference, Dan Roam stated, “Whoever best describes the problem is the one most likely to solve it. Mapping it out visually helps illustrate issues”. He continues on to share why it is important to show, not tell. You have to:

1) Tell the truth
2) Tell it with a story
3) Tell the story with pictures

Visuals are critical for making a complete, rather than partial, connection. It helps your customer visualize what you are trying to convey. Don't complicate your pitch by citing boring statistics. People want a visual story.

3. Lacking empathy. When selling, it is often difficult not to over talk your prospect. People want to feel understood, not talked at; making each missed connection point detrimental. Not only can you appear arrogant and insensitive, but you can miss the important details of what is specifically important to the customer. You have to know the interests and goals of your prospect, which means adjusting to their personality and preferences. If they are goal-oriented, then help them see how they can drive towards their objectives. If they need inspiration, then show them how they will be able to make a difference. Adapt your presentation to make the human connection. Show them you understand their problem. Show empathy and let your customer know you not only understand their frustration, but have a solution. It is both verbal and emotional.

4. Using testimonials improperly. Testimonials can reinforce your message, as they bridge the gap in your customer's mind between the benefits of your services and the competition. However, if you introduce testimonials too early, or if they appear contrived, your credibility can become tarnished. It is vital that you learn to differentiate between testimonials that will harm, rather than help your reputation. It's natural in a sales conversation to provide proof of what you are pitching to the customer. Video testimonials work best because the customer's voice and body language comes across to your prospect. If you choose to use text-based or interview style testimonials, ensure they appear candid and neutral. The enthusiasm of your past customers will naturally come across and create influence. Most importantly, don't force the use of testimonials; they are a natural request in the course of a sales pitch.

5. Talking too much. There's a saying in sales, "Telling is selling. Asking is buying." If you are talking more than your customer, then you are violating trust. Remember that in sales, often times less is more. To become a master of the sales pitch, remember to hone in on your listening capabilities. Tune in and ask great questions. The more your customer talks, the more opportunities you have to ask great questions and sell to their specific needs. A sales monologue is a deadly sin that will leave your customer feeling uninvolved and emotionally disconnected with you.

As a sale professional, it is difficult to master a perfect sales pitch. The art of pitching is as much an exercise about understanding your prospects needs, as it is about delivering your message and negotiating a deal. Stay tuned in and keep moving towards perfection as you avoid the 5 common sins of sales pitching. 

About the Canadian Professional Sales Association
Since 1874, we’ve been developing and serving sales professionals by providing programs, benefits, and resources that help you sell more, and sell smarter.
Contact us today at MemberServices@cpsa.com or 1-888-267-2772 to see how we can help you and your team reach new heights in sales success.

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