Keep Your Sales Pitch Short...Or Else

Mark Twain said that "Few sinners are saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon."  According to this poll, you'd be lucky today if that sinner gave you five.Funny10  And watch out if you go six.

Half in the AP-Ipsos poll said they refuse to return to businesses that made them wait too long. Nearly one in five owned up to speaking rudely to someone in the last few months when they weren't served efficiently.

The fact that Americans are impatient didn't surprise me.  What did was how universal it is.  Old people are less patient than young.  Men more than women.  Suburbanites get antsy before city dwellers.  Rich, poor, didn't matter.

So if we're all a lot less patient than we thought, how do you craft a sales pitch that ensures your prospect doesn't lose patience with you?

  • Tier your pitch.  Before the meeting, break your pitch into five minute segments.  What will you talk about if you have five minutes, ten, fifteen, and so on.
  • Front-load the good stuff.  I tell my daughter all the time: don't tease.  Be upfront with your prospect about what you think you can do for him and why he should keep listening.
  • Focus on value.  The devil's in the details, right?  So forget them.  Your goal is to build attention and common ground.  Convince her that you can make and/or save her money and she'll be more receptive to hearing specifics and dealing with roadblocks.
  • Hear the unspoken.  This is one reason why I like team selling.  When your colleague is speaking, your watching the prospect's nonverbal cues.  Is he engaged?  Bored?  Impatient?  Confused?  You then becomes the speaker and adjust the pitch accordingly.
  • What's your FLW?  Famous last words.  Every pitch should have them.  What is it you want the prospect to remember more than anything else after you're gone?  Stand up, look her in the eye, shake her hand and tell her what she needs to know.

A father once apologized to his son for not having the time to write him a SHORT letter.  Being focused and concise is hard work.  But your prospect will be so impressed with the effort that you'll be the salesperson he remembers best after the rest have been long forgotten.

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