What's more important to the client you're selling to - your sales success history with other clients you've helped in the past or the success that's possible for that particular client in the present?
It's an easy answer, isn't it? The latter - clearly. So now, I ask you: When you're selling, is it about you or your client? This article is about framing your sales pitch - strategically and successfully. To put it simply, your sales spiel should mirror the process customers experience as they aim to fill a need.
3. Learning & Analysis
If you think of your sales pitch as a five-step process, you can incorporate the above in very relevant ways.
First and foremost, is your client initiating the conversation or do you have five minutes to convince him why this conversation is important? More often than not, you'll be the one pursuing the sale. So, let's start there. Identify something about your offer that may be interesting to your client - personally or professionally. You might be surprised to know that clients are easily engaged when the "interest" you pinpoint applies to their personal lives. People are "whole" individuals - and most of the time, if you peak their personal interest, you'll have a more fluid conversation around their professional needs (step #2). However, I think it's essential to mention how important it is that you draw a boundary - know where the line lies between engaging the client professionally and personally. You don't want to be so casual or informal that you are perceived as unprofessional.
If you do step #1 well, the discussion should naturally move in the direction of the client's needs. The more you know what the client needs, the more you can sell the client the right thing. An unfortunate mistake that many sales professionals make is to sell clients the most expensive product or service. The reason this is the wrong place to begin is because it's completely discrediting the clients' real needs, and gives them little reason to trust you and come to you in the future. Build trust, establish a relationship, and identify the clients' real needs. This way, even if you don't secure a sale, they'll have valid reason to return to you when the right need arises next time around.
The learning and analysis stage is your opportunity to educate the client. You will want to explain the value of your offer, the benefits your client will receive, and the alternatives that are available. As a sales professional, you'll want to mention your competitors, so that you don't ignorantly imply they don't exist, but you'll want to strategically discuss the competition. Again, it's about explaining to your client why your offer is a better fit for her needs.
Although the evaluation stage is usually an inner dialogue that happens for the client, you'll want to be supportive of this stage from afar. The best way to do this is to clearly communicate that you understand the difficult decision they face, and that you want to do your best to answer any questions that may assist them during the decision-making process. The more you can send the message that you are there to help them (not pressure them), the more they will look to you as a partner in the process - instead of viewing you as a one-sided bystander.
And finally, the decision stage is where they either accept your sale and commit to your offer, or they decline. Although it may be tempting to take their rejection personally, don't. If they don't want what you're selling, sincerely maintain curiosity, so that you can explore why they have opted out. The more you can understand their rationale, the better you can understand their needs (which will benefit you in the future). If you react irrationally, you risk losing the relationship and their respect.
It isn't always easy to think of a sales pitch as a step-by-step process, but it can be a useful framework when you're in a pinch or new to the game.