How the Right Balance of Boldness & Brevity can Seal the Deal
In business, the pitch process is similar to tightrope walking. Walking on a tightrope is only terrifying when you look down. In truth, anyone can walk in a straight narrow line at ground level because the stakes are, no pun intended, low. Experienced tightrope performers don’t start by crossing the Niagara or cloud-walking between glistening skyscrapers… they begin by keeping their feet on the ground.
What does this have to do with the power of the pitch? Many sales executives sabotage their efforts by overthinking their approach (the paralysis of analysis). Then they bombard the prospect with a data dump of facts while wishing for a sale with crossed fingers.
This approach rarely works. Instead, find the right combination of balance and brevity.
Balance is executing on the proper ratio of preparation and action. If you’ve spent more time learning about a product than communicating it, you’re flirting with a long fall from your tightrope. Remember, your client doesn’t need to be an expert; that’s why you’re there!
Less is more. That’s what you should leave your audience wanting more. While that axiom seems counter-intuitive, there’s nothing more crucial to avoid when communicating than over-communicating. Watching your prospect’s eyes glaze over in a thick fog of disinterest is an unrecoverable misstep that will corrupt your most exemplary efforts.
Assuming you’ve already pre-qualified your prospect as a likely customer, their desire to hear what you have to say is the concrete foundation of your pitch. Talking with the appropriate audience is half the battle; if they’re willing to sit through the pitch process, they are genuinely interested in your product or service.
Lay the groundwork in advance, then finish with the perfect pitch process.
We’ve all been there, unfortunately. One way to halt momentum and reveal yourself as an amateur is through vagueness prior to your meeting. For example, imagine someone invites you for a coffee to “catch up” and an hour into their pitch process, you realize they want to sell makeup, supplements, or essential oils. You might have been willing to hear them out if they wouldn’t have entrapped you, but instead you end up feeling misused and emotionally exhausted. You were nothing more than a captive (read: hostage) for their surprise pitch process.
Be transparent and lay the proper ground work as you’re setting up your meeting. Doing so sets expectations for you and your potential client. Their acceptance of the meeting gives you confidence that they are indeed interested, and it gives them the preparedness to make a purchase. Then, you can finish strong with your pitch process.
THE FAST 5 | How to Pitch Like a Pro
Now that we’ve covered the proper short-and-sweet approach, preparation strategy, and pitfalls to avoid – let’s cover the simple, proven method of a powerful pitch process:
Unambiguously share the precise essence of your product or concept.
Be intentional and direct in your delivery. Your opening statement should never confuse your prospect; it should enlighten them and leave much meat on the bone to invigorate your value proposition.
Quickly craft a compelling Hegelian Dialectic.
The Hegelian Dialectic is an irreplaceable component where a problem is exposed, and a suitable solution is offered. Problem. Reaction. Solution. A strong proposition will lead to valuable common ground as you pique a heightened interest in your prospect.
Conversationally engage the prospect.
As social beings, one of the savviest things you can do is make an ally with your prospect. The friction caused by the default psychological posture of “I don’t need what you’re selling”, means something has gone wrong in the earlier steps. Remember, you’re not selling anything; you’re filling a deficiency the client has explicitly or implicitly confessed their need. Above all else, actively engage your prospect in guiding the dialogue with their questions – and be prepared to answer them. Don’t fear a question for which you don’t have an answer; fear a prospect that doesn’t ask questions.
Reveal the “Tie Down”.
Don’t be subtle here. Don’t shy away from the groundwork you’ve laid. You are the established expert and the prospect will defer to your directives. The tie-down is a business term referring to the review of the pitch process with an undercurrent of purposeful next-step navigation. Central to the messaging of the tie-down is your task to solidify the problem, reflect on the solution, and focus on the prospect’s urgency to take part in a reasonable reaction (purchase or acceptance).
Close with conviction.
The most conspicuous and fundamental aspect of the pitch process is boldly asking for the sale. This the MOST overlooked and neglected part of the pitch process. So many amateur sales executives refine their communicative skill set, polish their product knowledge, and spend hours rehearsing and role-playing their presentation, only to watch their efforts evaporate before their eyes. Luckily, human nature has an inbuilt rewards system for answering calls to action and solving problems. So while newbies and veterans treat this final step like a plague, the stage is fundamental!
After the pitch process, the prospect has a decision to make.
This is the time to be helpful but not overbearing. Trust the process of the “fast 5” to solidify your pitch process. You will gain knowledge and confidence by studying business practices like these. Experience helps too, so with time your pitch process will be perfected. Closing a deal is cause for celebration; congratulations!
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