If you’re struggling to pitch and get sales, read this (or carry on wasting your time)

By February 1, 2013 Marketing, Sales 6 Comments

Pitch and sell anything in under 2 mins

Pitch and sell like a pro sales coaching with Jane FranklandThey say that sales people are the easiest ones to sell and pitch to. However, unless I’m unique I’d disagree. Selling to sales people is hard work, as they understand exactly what you’re doing to them. They understand the sales cycle and if they’re any good, they know exactly how to craft a perfect sales pitch.

Anyway, following on from a post I wrote on crafting a 30 second sales pitch, the next thing you’ll need to master is how to present and pitch in person. Imagine a longer version of the sales pitch. Well, it’s a bit like that.  The best way for me to describe this and the benefits is actually through a story.

About two years ago I met a highly respectable figure from my corporate world who was selling (in her spare time) some premium beauty products. Now I’m not actually really that interested in lipsticks, moisturisers or make-up. You see, I’m not a that much of a ‘girly girl.’ However, I do use them, and I do care about whether they work, are affordable and are tested on animals. Anyway, to cut a long story short, as much as I didn’t want to admit it, by the end of the demo (or pitch) I wanted to buy the products.

Why? Well it really was on account of her two-minute pitch. It had been so persuasive it changed my attitude and turned me from a sceptic into a believer. Actually, it did better than that. It transformed me into a brand evangelist. From that day forth I’ve sung the brand’s praises to hundreds of people.

The lady knowingly used five techniques to sell and pitch to me. Anyone can adopt these techniques to pitch just about anything—from products to services to themselves.

1. Passion and enthusiasm – demonstrate it! Passion sells! If you’re not passionate about the service or product your selling then your listeners i.e. your prospects and customers won’t be. A great tip is to say, “Now here’s something I’m really excited about.” The reason this works well is because you’ll automatically think if they’re excited, maybe I should pay attention! Your prospects are giving you permission to have fun and to show excitement.

All too often, business professionals and consultants get into a presentation mode, and lose their personality and enthusiasm. My good friend and mentor Marie Forleo has a key condition for her business – it has to be fun, and Richard Branson has the same attitude – if it’s not fun, why bother? In my opinion too many business owners, and sales professionals are subject to dull pitches and presentations. Death by PowerPoint still exists. So, it’s time to step up and inject some energy and excitement into your pitch.

2. Connect – find a personal connection. The easiest way to do this is to spend a few seconds talking about something fairly mundane. In Britain we usually talk about the weather  – don’t ask me why but we do. In my experience, I’ve often spoken about my children or if there’s a sporting event on, that also works well. Pick something that’s topical but not confrontational! I’ve also seen this work well with family run businesses, where the owner has told his or her story of how they grew up with the business and products. By doing this, they showed they cared about the product or service too and weren’t just being paid to pitch something with which they had no personal connection.

Remember, people buy from people so they always need to like the person behind the product, unless they can’t get it anywhere else – in the world! Having raised funding before and spoken to several venture capitalists, angels and VCs the message that is consistent is that they invest in the people behind the business and not the product or service. So always pay attention to your audience who want to make an investment in you. Make them feel good about the person they’re buying from.

3. Benefits – sell the benefit and not the feature. Marketers often fall into this trap as well. This is a critical persuasion technique so always identify the potential problem before offering a solution. Let me give you an example to drum this message home. It was something I learnt and applied to my own business and it was responsible for gaining consistently 2 new leads per month, which translated into about £12,000 sales. The new customers then became long-term clients who bought regularly and for over a decade. They spent hundreds of thousands of pounds with us.

The example involves the story of the hole and the drill! Think about it, when you need to drill a hole in the wall, if you don’t know about a drill, you’d be a bit stuck, as you wouldn’t know what to use as your tool. So you’d Google your problem, looking for the solution. You wouldn’t put in ‘drill.’ So ask yourself: What are you really selling? Often the answer might surprise you.

4. Stories sell and facts tell – so tell stories. From my experience, this is by far the best way to do this. Tell a story  as to how you solved a problem. Stories create connections between people. People remember stories far easier than by any other communication message. It’s how we learn. So tell more stories and you’ll stand apart.

5. Educate and inform – teach us something new. If you can teach something your audience didn’t know before, you’ll have their attention, and perhaps even have their money! Every successful pitch has the three Es – educate, entertain and engage. So create a positive association with a product or service and you’ll have the ability to persuade your audience with every pitch.

So I wish you well with your pitch. Please let me know how you get on with your sales pitch and sales experience. Let me know what has worked for you and even what hasn’t and also what you struggle with when it comes to your pitch and sales. Please share your experiences and feedback in the comments below as I’d love to hear.

Finally, thank you, as always for reading and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!

With love and gratitude – as always,



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Jane Frankland is a successful cyber security entrepreneur, consultant and speaker who has had a diverse career encompassing art and design; business development; and operations. Having held directorships and senior executive positions within her own companies and at several large PLCs, she now provides agile, forward thinking organisations with strategic business development solutions. Right now she is writing a book on gender diversity in cyber security and is focused on increasing the numbers of women in the profession.

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  • Laura says:

    Wow, this is great! Can you use all those in two minutes? I have the most trouble with communicating the benefit, and it comes from my thinking that my products are a luxury and so not really needed by anyone. Also, I must work on number 5, teaching my audience something new.

    • jane says:

      Laura you certainly can do, but it takes practice within 2 mins! The point you mention about communicating the benefit as your products is a luxury item and not really a benefit to anyone is a really interesting one. I’m not entirely sure what your product is but the way to sell most luxury products is by appealing to the aspirational part of your avatar/customer. You need to know them at a deeper level, and help them envision the life that they really want that involves your product. So if you were selling crafts you might want to get them to envisage having a beautifully designed home with a really well crafted piece where they could feel proud and even pass down to their kids. There’s all kinds of aspirations and dreams that we all have, but it requires you to get under their skin and see life from their point of view. Let me know what your product is & I’ll try to be more specific. I hope this helps though.

  • Farida Messaadi says:

    Spot on Jane Frankland! Thanks for sharing.

  • Love it. I've read things similar before and I can 100% attest to #1. I've made some products that I was just "meh" about. There wasn't anything wrong with them but I just wasn't excited about them. They never sold. Then on the other side of the coin I have been just in the process of making something (not even finished yet) and shown just how excited I was and drove a sale just on that alone. 🙂

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