I had a conversation with a family member recently and I thought it was a good example of why you need a good sales pitch. Or an example of me not using a great sales pitch.
The background is that I recently bought a set of ceramic knives and I have been pretty happy with them and since my sister-in-law cooks a lot, I wanted to share this type of knife with her as I am fairly sure she is not familiar with them. And even though I am not selling her the actual knives, for me to share the idea of them with her with the potential outcome of her purchasing them is an example of trying to use a good sales pitch.
Here is how the conversation went:
Me: Have you ever thought about using ceramic knives at all?
Her: No, not really. Are they good or something?
Me: Yea, I bought a set and they are some great.
Her: Are they expensive?
Me: No. They ones I bought were only $19.
And that was pretty much the end of the conversation as I noticed that there was not a lot of interest on her side and we were traveling and energy levels were low so I did not want to press a boring topic.
What Went Wrong
There are some flaws in how I tried to discuss this topic and we can look at those to get ideas for how to improve how we talk with sales prospects and try to create a good sales pitch.
It is easy to look at this and see that I tried to use what we call a “product selling” sales pitch. Everything that I said centered around details about the product (ceramic knives). Since she is not in “buying mode” for new knives, for me to randomly bring this up, it is understandable for her to not get interested.
This is what happens in the B2B sales world when you cold call a prospect randomly and try to use a product selling pitch. They are not in buying mode so this can be a less-than-optimum way to create interest.
As part of my product pitch, I mentioned the low price and I did this before communicating any of the value of the product or building any interest. This probably had a negative effect on the level of interest because the price was low and people associate price with quality. And since I had not discussed any of the great things about the knives before mentioning the low price, my sister-in-law might have become less interested and curious at that point.
This happens all the time in B2B sales when salespeople try to create a good sales pitch by talking about primarily discounts or low prices without also sharing all of the value and benefits the product offers.
What I Could Have Done Differently
It is pretty simple to try to fix this situation and turn it around to create a good sales pitch. The key is to stop and think about the problems I was having that motivated me to buy the knives and here they are:
- My knives were not cutting well
- My knives were not as sharp as I would have liked
- I had to frequently sharpen my knives
I have been very happy with the ceramic knives because they have solved those problems with the following benefits:
- They seem to cut great
- They are extremely sharp
- I don’t have to sharpen them all the time
If those are the pain points solved and the benefits of the knives, then for someone to enjoy these knives in the same way, they either would have the same concerns or would want the same benefits. As a result, to have a good sales pitch for these knives, we can start with questions that measure where the other person is in terms of either having those challenges or wanting those improvements. Here are a few questions that would take the conversation in that direction.
- How happy are you with how your knives cut?
- Do you feel like your knives are as sharp as you would like or need?
- How often are you having to sharpen your knives?
Whether or not those are the perfect questions or not, they help us to identify where the other person is and that can either set us up perfectly for talking about the ceramic knives or maybe identifying that it does not make sense for either party to spend any time talking about ceramic knives and this is where you start to head in the direction of a good sales pitch.