Paul shares four ways to help you build a better sales pitch. But before building your sales pitch, you must gain an in-depth understanding of the customer’s needs.
To build an effective sales presentation remember the four P’s: Personalize the message, build perceived value, demonstrate performance value, and use proof.
“The buyer must feel like your solution was created specifically for their needs.” The more personal to the buyer, the more likely they are to buy.
Build perceived value by using positive focus words. Focusing on gains will compel the buyer to act.
“Understand your buyer’s needs and then ask yourself these three questions to prepare your presentation…”
“People value proof more than opinion.” Too often salespeople make unsubstantiated claims while attempting to persuade the buyer.
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How do I build a great sales pitch?
(Transcribed from podcast)
Today’s question comes all the way from India. Talk about commitment. Komar, from India, sent the form in Hindi. I had to use Google Translate to get the question right. This is a critical question. Whether you’re selling in India, whether you’re selling in the U.S., whether you’re selling in China, Australia, across the world, you’ve got to have a great sales pitch. That’s what Komar wants to focus on today. He said, “Paul, in Value-Added Selling, you talk about presenting the four P’s. Could you elaborate on that and tell us how you use that as the framework?” So, that’s what we’re going to do.
The four P’s
First of all, the first P stands for make it Personal to the buyer. The second P is building Perceived value. The third P is demonstrating Performance value. And, the fourth P is using Proof sources. So that’s what we’re going to focus on today.
Let’s get right into making it personal to the buyer. Well, before we do that… Before you go into any pitch, just remember this, you have to have a clear understanding of your customer’s needs. Don’t even think about pitching something to your customer or prospect until you first have gone through a needs analysis stage, or discovery, or a probing phase, whatever vernacular you want to use. Just make sure you have a clear understanding of that customer’s needs, because until you understand that, you won’t be able to put together a solution anyway. With Value-Added Selling, it’s first about gaining that in-depth understanding of those needs. With that being said, let’s assume you have a clear understanding of your customer’s needs.
That’s going to help you with this first P: make it personal to the buyer. When you’re analyzing that customer’s needs, you have to craft a solution that is unique and special—a solution that will completely satisfy the needs of that individual buyer. The more the buyer feels like your solution is personalized just for them, the more likely they are to buy it—the more likely they are to accept it. We’re going to give a couple of tips and ideas to make it personal to the buyer.
Tip Number One: Use their language. Use buyer buzzwords. Each decision maker has certain phrases that they use to define value. When you’re talking to a customer, keep your ears open for those buzzwords. And, whenever you hear a buzzword, take a mental note of it and make sure you’re incorporating that language into your presentation.
Tip Number Two: Use analogies. We, as humans, make decisions based on precedent. We’re going to look at the decision we have in front of us, and mentally we’re going to go back and try to identify a similar situation. We’re going to try to use that same logic and reason from the previous decision and apply it to the decision that we have in front of us. Using an analogy, it’s about understanding the basic concept that you’re selling, or the idea that you’re selling to that buyer. Then, you’re going to look at other areas of their business, or other areas in their life where they’ve already made a decision similar to this one, and you’re going to show the linkage with your solution. The reason we do that is that it helps them say yes to your solution because you’re demonstrating how your solution is similar, or the idea you’re selling is similar to what they’ve already accepted. We use analogy and that’s another way to make it personal.
I’ll give you an example. A few years ago, I was working with a group of veterinarian doctors. They wanted to sell dental-care packages to pet owners. They needed some help on the presentation and so I was working with the event coordinator and I said, “What we need to do here is draw a parallel, because at first, people are probably not going to get that excited about paying for dental care for their dog. You’ve got to remember, you’re cleaning the mouth of an animal that probably needs it cleaned based on what they’re eating. This dog is the family pet.” We had to draw a parallel on that.
And so here’s what I explained to veterinarians. I said, “You’re talking to the people about dental care for the dog, the thing we need to realize is that it’s not just a dog to them; it’s a member of the family.” I asked the group, “By show of hands, how many of your customers view that pet as part of the family?” Most of their hands go up and I said, “There you go. If they view that pet as part of the family, it means that they’re going to take care of their pet the same way they take care of their own kids. And they’re taking their kids to the dentist, to the doctor, getting vaccines. If we can draw a parallel to that and just say, ‘I know your pet is part of the family, and since it is part of the family, you need to apply the same care that you would if it were your own kid.’ That’s going to help people make the connection.” That’s the analogy piece of it, and that’s why it’s so powerful. So make sure you’re incorporating analogy into your presentation.
The next P is perceived value—how we build perceived value. Perceived value raises the buyer’s expectations. It’s what excites the buyer. It’s important to have high expectations because that sets the benchmark from which they grade every other alternative. We want to set a high bar; we want to be the benchmark from which they grade everyone else. We’re going to build in a lot of perceived value because it raises that buyer’s expectation. And I know a lot of people say, “Isn’t it better to under-promise and over-deliver?” No, it’s not. Nobody get’s excited about under-delivering. It’s not like you can call up a buyer and say, “I know you’ve got different options, but we’re the most mediocre and average of all of them.” No! That’s pathetic! Nobody likes that—nobody gets excited about that—so you’ve got to build perceived value to raise that buyer’s expectation.
The first thing we can do is use positive focus words. When you’re trying to get someone to take action, you want emphasized what they stand to gain. And when you’re talking about gains, it’s usually in a positive manner, so we want to use positive words. For example, look at two phrases here: reduced cost versus increased profit. At first glance, you might say that those are two different things. Well, not really. In fact, if you were talking to a business owner, do you think they would get more excited about something that will reduce their cost or increase their profit? I would say increase profit, and that’s a positive focus word—increasing that profit versus just reducing cost.
I worked with an organization one time that was talking about their logistical support and how great they were at delivery. What they would highlight to their customers was the low delivery failure rate. Think about that. They printed off a report that highlighted all of their failures, and they would say, “We have the lowest failure rate in the industry.” When I hear we have the lowest failure rate, to me that sounds like “Of all your options, we suck the least.” “We’re not the worst out there.” That’s such a negative way to focus the attention on the value that you deliver. Instead, wouldn’t it be great to have a delivery success rate? Highlight that. That’s a much better number. Remember that we want to frame our message in a positive way.
This brings up another point. So often, I hear this word free. Free this. Free that. “We offer free after-marketing support and service.” The word free gets thrown around a lot. And, you’ve got to remember…whatever follows the word free cheapens it. Think about that for a moment. Because, people don’t place any value on things that are free. Free is the worst four-letter F-word you can say in sales. Take that word and get it out of your vocabulary. Replace it with the word value-added. You don’t offer free training, you offer value-added training. You don’t offer free implementation support, you offer value-added support as you’re implementing this new software. You have to take that word free and replace it because people don’t place any value on things that are free. That’s how we build in perceived value.
The next P we’re going to talk about is performance value. Performance value is what you actually do for the customer. This is you delivering on the promise of satisfying their need. It’s the performance side of value. Here’s what I recommend:
Don’t just sell product or service. Too many salespeople are out there just selling their product or service. When you do that, you open the door to too much competition. So, sell something bigger. We call that the “bundled package.” You’ve got to sell the value that your company brings, the value that your product or service brings, but also the value that you bring as the salesperson. In fact, I would take your customer’s needs, go through and say “What are the top three needs this individual customer has?” I would look at each one of those needs and ask myself these questions, “How does our company help satisfy that need?” “How do our products satisfy that need?” and then, “How am I going to help satisfy that need? What am I personally going to do?”
By going through that exercise, you’re going to reveal all the ways that you bring value. And, you’re also going to be presenting a much bigger package than what your competition is presenting. So, make sure you’re asking those questions. That’s going to help you build in some of that performance value.
And, finally, you’ve got to use proof. Proof is more valuable than an opinion. When you claim to the buyer, we have great quality, we have great service, we can do this, we can do that, you’re giving them your opinion. You’ve got to substantiate any of those claims you make.
Proof can come in various shapes and forms. One of my favorite uses of proof is the testimonial. Testimonials are great ways to share with your customers the value that you already delivered for another customer. Build up your list of testimonials: case studies, offering a warranty, a guarantee, those are part of it—any third-party resources or reporting. This proof source is important because buyers can be hesitant, especially if they don’t completely trust you yet. Putting in that little bit of proof can go a long way.
In fact, I’ll share a story about my first car that I bought out of college when I was in my first sales job with Ferrell Gas Propane. My car broke down, so I had to buy a brand new one. Every dealership I went to – it was like, Let’s Make a Deal. It was all the high-pressure techniques, every stereotype you could think of with a car salesperson, I experienced it until I went to this Chevy dealership. That’s where I met Max. I told Max right off the bat, I said, “Look, this is the first car that I’m buying. I’m not going to be pressured into a sale. Don’t even try it. I’m not into that. Don’t pressure me. If you do, I’m leaving.”
He said, “I understand. No pressure. We’re going to make it a great experience.”
We went out and test drove a few cars. He’s talking to me, asking about what I do. He’s doing all the right things. But, what shocked me about Max was how he handled the end of the sales call. At the end of our meeting, I’m pretty interested in buying this one particular car. He acknowledges that.
He said, “Paul, I can tell you’re interested, but let me make a suggestion. Don’t buy the car today. This is a big decision for you. Instead, why don’t you sleep on it. Tomorrow’s Sunday. None of the dealerships are going to be open, and I’d like you to read through these testimonials.” And, he handed me a stack of testimonials from people that he had sold cars to.
I said, “Okay. I’ll think about it. I’ll read through the testimonials.”
He handed me his card and said, “Just promise me that you’ll call me on Monday before you call any other dealer.”
I said, “I’ll do that.” I looked at his business card and it just said Max. It didn’t have his last name. It didn’t have his email address. It just had Max with his phone number, and that was it. I said, “Okay, Max. Do you have a last name? Who do you think you are, Madonna or Prince? What’s your last name?”
He said, “The dealership doesn’t like me telling customers what my last name is.”
What could this guy’s name be? I’m thinking of people throughout history. What is his name? I said, “That’s not fair. It’s your name.”
“Well, yeah. They don’t want me to put it on my card.”
I said, “Okay. What’s your name?”
He’s like, “I’d rather not tell you.”
I’m like, “Max – dude! Come on, man. What’s your name?”
He said, “Alright. I’ll tell you my last name, but you’ve got to promise me that you’re going to call me on Monday.”
I said, “Enough already! I promise! What is your name?”
“My last name is Price.”
I paused for a moment and just started laughing, “Wait a minute. You mean to tell me that you sell cars and your name is Max Price? Maximum Price, that’s your name?”
He said, “Now you know why the dealership doesn’t want me to put it on my card.”
I’m like, “Okay. I get it.”
I ended up buying a car from Max Price, and the reaction from my dad when I told him was priceless. He said, “Have I taught you nothing? You bought a car from a guy named Max Price?” Man, it was great.
Anyway, the reason I bought that car—as I get back to the main part of the story—was because of the testimonials and the fact that he personalized it. Early on in the sales call I said, “I’m not going to be pressured.” And, when he said, “Why don’t you take your time,” I knew that he understood that. Then he handed me those testimonials as proof sources. These were all glowing reviews from people who purchased cars from Max in the past.
Remember, you’ve got to make it personal to the buyer. That’s the first P. The second P – build perceived value. Perceived value raises that buyer’s expectations. And, then you demonstrate performance value. This is how you’re going to satisfy the expectation that you just set – the need that that buyer has. And then you’ve got to follow it up with some proof sources.
Make it a big day!