When was the last time you got excited about spam? Probably never.
That’s because these messages are a nuisance, and we filter them out almost by instinct.
Likewise, if you are jumping right to the sales pitch during initial contact with a client, they will at best ignore your efforts, and at worst feel alienated by your approach: even a well-meaning sales pitch will fall on deaf ears if a prospect doesn’t have a reason to listen.
In order to avoid this situation, stop pitching during outreach. Instead, follow the system developed for the T-shaped sales development accelerator:
In sales, it is important to consider human psychology. Everyday, you are bombarded with advertisements, and it has gotten to the point that your brain is hardwired to instantly recognize the pattern of a sales pitch. And when you recognize that pattern, especially coming from someone you don’t know, you will stop listening.
This is compounded by the fact that we are all busy people. You have to realize that your sales prospects care about their time as much as you care about yours. When they hear your unsolicited sales pitch (even if it’s an example of a good sales pitch!) they will tune you out, and worse, become frustrated that you have wasted their time.
This brings us to the main point: you have to earn a sales pitch opportunity. Before you can break through the barrier your prospect has erected to keep out crude marketing slogans and spam, you need to make sure that you have something valuable to offer—a product or service that’s worth the prospect’s time and attention. Then, you have to build rapport and trust with the contact, so they will actually consider what you have to say.
There is no shortcut. If you want to succeed in sales, you need to put in the work and build up to the effective sales pitch.
The first step of your process in breaking through to a prospect is to identify and develop triggers. A good sales trigger is an indication—and an invitation—to connect. This most often comes in the form of publicly available information that suggests that a prospect may have a problem you can solve.
Here’s an example: whenever a prospect likes or comments on one of your posts, you can use that as an excuse to get in touch. This is why it’s so important to be posting content regularly—it increases the opportunities for your sales team to conduct outreach with people who might actually want it.
An even better trigger would be someone who has viewed your profile or watched one of your videos. You might connect with them and say: “Hey Maria, I see you watched my video on creating a good LinkedIn profile. I’m curious, did you find what you were looking for?”
If you want more examples or techniques to develop your triggers, I have a great podcast episode with Mark Colgan that you can check out. Use the information from this article and the podcast to find your triggers, and you are one step closer to effective sales pitches.
After you have identified your triggers, you will need to start teasing your prospect. You don’t want to find a trigger and immediately go and vomit your elevator pitch. Likewise, you don’t want to give everything away for free. Instead, provide slow drips of information–via email or otherwise–that will get your prospect curious about what your company has to offer. More importantly, slowly giving prospects high-quality information on your product or service will get them coming back for more.
Going back to the LinkedIn profile example, you might tell your prospect that you have two major improvements to offer them that might help increase traffic to their page. But don’t tell them what the improvements are: instead, tease them! For a pre sales pitch example: “If you’re into it, I’d love to share these tips on how you can improve your profile.”
The idea is to create a cliffhanger, show them you’ve done your homework, and get them interested in your services.
What to do after you’ve laid the groundwork? Finish with a soft call to action! At this point, you have identified a client that is interested in learning more about your services, and you’ve teased them with useful—but not exhaustive—information. Now, you should have one clear and simple ask for your prospect.
For more on this step, there’s a really nice blog post by Devin Reed; his advice will get you started on thinking about what kinds of calls-to-action will be effective for your services.
I also recommend downloading the outreach-to-sales pitch checklist I have developed. Use the checklist to work through your approach to prospective clients in a systematic way: find triggers, tease, and finish with a soft call-to-action, all while avoiding the clumsy and premature sales pitches we all dread receiving.
By following these steps, you will ensure that you’re actually doing good outreach—and not pitching your sales outreach away.
And, whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you crush your sales targets:
1. [NEW] Join the T-shaped Sales Community
The T-shaped Sales Community is for salespeople in tech. We produce tactical content, share opportunities, and shine a light on those who make sales happen. Join here.
2. Join the T-shaped Sales Development Program
Ditch the old sales development playbook and learn the skills that will make you successful in tomorrow’s sales environment. Apply today.
3. Work with me privately
If you’d like to work directly with me to take over the leaderboard, just book a call here. Tell me a little about what you’re selling and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!
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