As one of the UK’s leading sellers of promotional products, we have suppliers making appointments and pitching products all the time. The office can feel like Dragon’s Den, apart from we don’t sit at tables with piles of cash and grouchy, bickering millionaires. We are so used to receiving supplies through the door that we know within ten minutes whether we will end up signing a purchase order, or whether our mind will be wandering to what to have for lunch. Throughout EMC’s many years of experiencing sales pitches, we’ve come to the conclusion it doesn’t matter who is delivering the pitch; the success of a pitch rests upon a few vital factors that leave a lasting impression.
- Do you research – it is important that you contact the company before you make the pitch to find out as much about them as you can. Find out which products do best and worst, and where there are market gaps. You need to know their problem so that you can present a solution.
- Dress appropriately – this is an obvious one, but it doesn’t mean you have to be suited and booted; sometimes a suit isn’t what best represents your company. If you have a laid-back vibe, then wear something that is more representative.
- Know who you are meeting – checking out your audience before you present to them is important, so make sure you read up on their LinkedIn, Twitter and website.
- Know what you want from the meeting – set your agenda and give yourself three aims; what is essential, what is expected and what would be exceptional to get out of the meeting. Aim for the exceptional and you should at least get what is expected.
- Tell a story – everybody loves a story, as it gets them more engaged with the pitch and they can relate to it. Use an anecdote of how a past sale was really successful, and if you have some solid statistics to back up your tale then this works as subtle persuasion.
- Control the conversation – gently steer the conversation in the direction you want it to go, and make sure you focus on your objectives.
- Don’t be scared to ask questions – it is important that you take an interest in them, as finding out the needs of the company could be the key to you landing a sale
- Don’t go for the hard sell – make sure you are subtle in your approach and clearly explain the benefits of your product. Aim to be the creative idea-giver, rather than a sledge hammer.
After The Meeting
- Follow up – send an email within 24hrs thanking your customer for their time, and also answering any queries that came up in the meeting. Find a reason to call after a few days to capitalise on the rapport built up during the meeting, and reassure your customer that the action points from the meeting are being worked on.
- Keep on top of production – Depending on your role, you may hand over operational issues at this point, but it is in your interest to keep up with what is happening. Make sure your internal team keep you appraised of any issues or successes with your clients, so you can step in when needed.
So there you have the tricks of the trade to make you into a successful salesperson. In a sense, you have to ‘butter up’ your customers a little, but only in a very subtle way. Make the pitch about them, and demonstrate how your product provides a solution to their problem.