Pitch Presentation Skills – 3 Great Tips for Salespeople

You have a proposal to offer to a potential client. You have been working on the details of this proposal for weeks, and you think it is a fantastic proposal. But the likelihood is that you will have to find a way to persuade your client that your proposal is, in fact, a great one. And that involves pitching.

In today’s competitive marketplace the quality of your pitch presentation can make the difference between winning and losing an important piece of business. Because buyers live in a busy world, filled with information and choice, and it is essential that you can communicate your message effectively.

Here I’ve selected a few tips to help make your pitch presentations a little more engaging.

1. Know your audience

Every client is different, and it is your job to tailor your pitch to their requirements. A generic ‘scripted’ pitch won’t make your audience feel like your product is uniquely suited to them. Think about their ‘hot buttons’, and make every effort to fit your proposal into the context of their specific business aims.
Remember also that your audience are probably pressed for time. This means that in preparing your pitch you need to be sensitive to time limitations, and make every second count. An essential part of this is getting the structure right: make sure your presentation has a beginning, a middle and an end, and aim to get your key message across right from the start.

2. Show some style

It is important to get the details of your proposal right. But buyers are not strictly rational, and it is likely that they will be deterred by a presenter who looks nervous or lacks confidence. You can have the best information in the world, but if it’s not delivered right, no one will be able to buy into it emotionally.
Moreover, buyers will often have only half of their awareness focused on your presentation, so you need to do whatever you can to engage their attention (and be more interesting than their smartphone). Pause before you start, make eye contact with each person in the room while presenting, and speak slowly and confidently throughout, with good posture and body language.

3. Be prepared for difficult questions

You have just delivered the pitch of your life. The audience is in the palm of your hand and then, guess what happens: someone throws you the very question you really didn’t want them to ask, or worse – the one you never thought of yourself. You don’t know how to answer, and the client throws up his hands before saying he’s got to rush off to another meeting.

In order to avoid this situation it is so important to have a thorough brainstorm beforehand – ask yourself: what are the difficult issues here, and what would be the most difficult questions we could be asked by the client?
When the difficult question is asked, stand your ground, look the questioner in the eye, thank him or her for the question (an excellent delaying tactic – you can also repeat the question and ask if you have understood it, to gain some more thinking time), before providing your pre-prepared response.

Pitch Presentation Skills Training

Often the greatest roadblock to delivering really engaging presentations is simply a lack of confidence. But confidence comes with practise. At LDL we provide Presentation Skills Training to help participants develop their ability to communicate effectively on their feet.

There is no great secret. Making an effective pitch presentation is not in fact dissimilar to making an effective sales call – a topic covered on another blog post: “How to Make a Sales Call: 4 Tips for New Starters”. It’s about finding a methodology, and then practising, again and again, until it really is ‘second nature’. We find that video coaching in a safe environment is an extremely effective way of improving, as it gives you the chance to see yourself as others see you.

A guest article by Tom Fielder - Marketing Manager at LDL, Leadership Development Ltd. LDL is a soft skills training consultancy specialising in the development of sales, leadership, negotiation and presentation skills excellence. Tom researches and writes for LDL about fresh approaches to training, with a particular focus on its specialist areas.

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