We've all had those moments; you're heading into a sales pitch and your mind goes blank. You can barely think of the company you work for, let alone the product you're trying to sell.
For salespeople, this is pretty much Room 101. All you can do is stand there and hope your brain kicks into gear before the blank stares get too much and you can salvage something from your pitch.
Others may be confident heading into the pitch until they get that question that absolutely floors them, and then they wish the ground would swallow them up.
Don't worry. It happens to the best salespeople at some point but there are ways to make sure your pitches go to plan and you walk away confident. Preparation is key and can help you through any sales pitch, regardless of who the consumer is and what service you're trying to promote.
Here are seven ways you can prepare for every sales pitch:
Know your product
It should go without saying that you need to know what you're selling inside and out. You need to be prepared to answer any question about it that could come up during your pitch, or at least be able to convincingly deflect it while you access the information.
Know your contact
After your product, the most important thing you need to prepare for is the contact you're speaking with. Are they a decision maker? Do they have the authority to close a deal? Are they more interested in money or product specifications? Answering these questions will help you prepare the right materials for your meeting.
Know the business
How is your product going to help their business specifically? This will either be a key question that your contact asks or the decision maker asks them at a later stage. Either way, you need to supply them with the information that will convince those at the top that it's a wise business decision to purchase your service/product.
Know the sales process
You need to know what stage they are at in the buyer cycle and what their process is for sales. There's no point preparing to close the deal at a pitch if there's a much longer lead-in time, while you could lose a sale if you're not prepared to sign off the sale if you're contact is ready to sign.
Know your competition
Are you bidding against others? Who else are they looking at? Are you trying to convince them to leave a current supplier, or is this a new venture for them? What's your USP? These are key questions you need to answer before you head into any pitch.
Know the budget
It's important that you have an idea of what budget is on the table before you head into the meeting. This will help you to find a suitable option for your contact. Of course, all budgets are negotiable but pitching something that is way above or below their targets will waste time on both sides.
Know the pain points
You need to be prepared to deal with and resolve any pain points your contact - or their higher ups - may have about your product. Is price point or quality more important to them? Perhaps they've had a bad experience with customer service before and this is where you'll need to impress. Knowing what their key pain points are ahead of the pitch will put you in a much better position to sell.