As I watched Shark Tank the other night, it came to me that every contestant was being told they were either a good or bad salesperson as part of the reason one of the sharks would or wouldn’t invest with them. It then struck me that entrepreneurs often separate innovation from the selling process and often find themselves with a great idea that has no voice. Very often do we forget that our innovations are worthless without other people buying them or into them, which is why we typically don’t tackle this till after we perfected our product, which leaves us at a high disadvantage. This is how you can create the best sales pitch for your product or service.
Here are five tips to help you sell better:
Make the problem feel very real before presenting the solution
Too often do we focus on the solution that our product provides instead of getting people to understand how legitimately important the problem it will solve is. Part of being a good salesman is not to jump in and talk about all the world changing solutions you provide but rather making your audience first connect with the real problems out there and WHY you consider them a problem to begin with. A problem can have significantly different level of importance to different people because of their lack of awareness of the context or the subject itself. Making sure that your problem is clearly defined before selling the solution is the first key to effectively selling it.
Share the vision as it’s already complete. Not in process
Confidence sells and in many cases, people are not only trying to buy a product, but the person that comes with it. Staying away from doubt is key during a sales pitch, no matter online or offline. Stay away from saying things like “I hope” or “Its my goal to” but instead focus on keywords like “It will” with confidence that your product will work. Most people understand that the testing phase of any new product comes with possible glitches but no one trying to sell it will do so by re-enforcing that those glitches will be an issue, unless of course they feel like they will be unable to fix them. Share your products end result with confidence rather than dwell on the possibility of what may go wrong. While honesty is key, your perception of honesty is different that that of others.
Discuss obvious objections before being called out
Nothing is worst than being called out and trying to answer your shortfalls as someone else pointed out. The best way to overcome objections in a sales pitch is to address the most obvious ones upfront in a manner that shows they are being worked on or have been addressed. This prevents you from looking like you are reactive, or defensive and instead makes you look analytical. In other words, if there are problems you are aware of, point out some of them rather than be called out on it. A great example I used to share with employees I used to coach with was for them to bring up their shortfalls first before I did in their coaching sessions. If they missed a goal and shared with me what they were doing to overcome this shortfall, I would not go back and ask them why they hadn’t reached that goal. It was their way to see “I am aware, please fuck off” and it works really well.
Sell value, not price
As I pointed out in last week’s article about perception of value, value trumps price and it is important that your audience realizes that through your conversation with them. Too many times do we sell ourselves short by saying “Its only $x.xx” or “Its so cheap” where instead our approach should be “Look at how much you get for $x.xx” which is a much better proposition. Or we can focus on “Its aggressively priced at $x.xx but offers more than all our competitors.” My suggestion here is to stay away from price and build up all the features by focusing on the value of the benefits to the end user, that way going away from having to sell low in order to sell.
Have a clear guarantee or support structure
As discussed in #3, its about the end result, not the glitches along the way. While many know there will be a few, everyone will appreciate the additional guarantee that you stand behind your product both from a technical and value sense. The key to selling a new product is not by selling it cheaper, but rather by ensuring that it will exceed the consumer’s expectations or you will gladly allow them to walk away without losing money. This works well on the online space as you often do business with people you don’t know or don’t see and therefore have no idea what to expect past the purchase stage. Most of today’s retailers like Bloomingdales also use their 90 day no questions asked money back guarantee to sell the idea that you have nothing to lose.