What is a sales pitch?
A sales pitch is a presentation or statement you make to a prospect. The purpose of the sales pitch is to convince the lead to buy your product, sign up for your service, believe your argument, or progress to the next step in your sales pipeline.
Remember, a sales pitch is part of a conversation. A great sales pitch is not just a one-size-fits-all statement that you recite to whoever you can buttonhole into listening.
To be successful, a sales pitch has to be based on a genuine understanding of the prospect and an alignment of goals between buyer and seller.
Types of sales pitches
A sales pitch can take many forms.
You may deliver your sales pitch verbally, in person or on a phone call. The pitch may include a slide deck or other visual aides. The pitch could be thorough and detailed, or it could be just a few sentences—the classic “elevator pitch.”
The important thing is to use a pitch that fits the conversation you’re having with the lead.
In fact, you should develop a few different versions of your sales pitch, so you always have something appropriate to the situation at hand.
Here are a few examples of sales pitch types.
The elevator pitch gets its name from the idea that the salesperson would be trying to deliver their message in the short time it takes an elevator to travel from one floor to another.
Of course, you could just as easily be using this type of pitch on a phone call or while seated comfortably face to face.
The point is to boil down your pitch to just a couple of sentences—or maybe even less!
Creating this concise, pithy version of your pitch has a couple of benefits.
First, it respects your prospect’s time, and acknowledges the resistance many people have to being pitched.
Second, it helps you focus on the core of your argument and value proposition.
While an elevator pitch is an important part of your toolbox, it may not be the easiest pitch to create first. An elevator pitch’s brevity comes from the hard work of distilling ideas and getting to the fundamental message.
Rather than starting with this, it may be easier to begin with a longer pitch and cut parts away until you have your elevator version.
Slide deck pitch
When you have the opportunity to make a more formal, lengthy presentation, you’ll probably want to develop a slide deck pitch.
Your slide deck—which you can create with Microsoft Powerpoint, Apple Keynote, Google Slides, or another application—gives you a few opportunities to develop your pitch.
First, you can include more content, and go into more detail, in the slide deck. But don’t take this as a license to ramble! It’s always important to focus on what’s most important when making a sales pitch.
Second, you can leverage graphics to make your pitch more compelling and easier to understand. This might include simple data visualizations, photography, or just some appealing typography and layout.
Don’t forget to include your contact information on the last slide. You want to make it easy for your prospects to follow up with you.
For more on what to include in your deck, check out the Parts of a sales pitch section below.
Subject line pitch
Email is an important component of many sales pipelines. Create a version of your pitch (or multiple versions) short and punchy enough to serve as an email subject line.
Remember, while the contents of the body of your email do matter, no one will see them if they don’t open the email. That’s where the subject line comes in.
There are at least two schools of thought when it comes to writing this kind of subject line sales pitch. You can either go for utility or mystery.
A subject line focused on what your product or service can do for the prospect is clearer and more direct. If your message resonates with the lead, and addresses a genuine need, they’re likely to open your message and read on.
On the other hand, a little mystery in your subject line can arouse your prospect’s curiosity. They may not know exactly what you’re going to tell them, but your subject line makes them want to find out.
Either way, as with the elevator sales pitch, you don’t have much space to work with. Make every word count! And try different versions to see which is most effective.
A sales pitch based on story can be a powerful way to hook your prospects. A story pitch can stand on its own or be incorporated into another format, such as a slide deck.
Stories appeal to emotions rather than logic. And while statistics and reasoned arguments have their place, many people make their decisions from the gut.
With a story, you can give your prospect a vision of their future—a future where they’re your customer. You can put them in the shoes of a happy customer and let them walk around.
One thing to keep in mind when creating your story pitch—you are not the hero. Neither is your company. Instead, write the story to make your prospect the hero. Tell the story from their perspective.
Social media pitch
Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram can be great places to connect with leads and pitch your product or services to them.
To create a successful social media sales pitch, you need to get familiar with the particular platform you want to use. Of course, you should choose the one(s) where your prospects are. Discovering that may take some experimentation, but the potential payoff is high.
Each social media platform is a bit different. They have different character limits for written messages, and different default dimensions for shared images. Beyond that, different platforms have different audiences, and the types of messages that work on one platform may fall flat on another.
In general, social media is highly visual, with limited text. So your social media pitch will probably be closer to your elevator pitch version than anything else, with a carefully selected image to complement the words.
As with any pitch you post online, make sure you are prepared to measure the impact. This might mean using platform analytics to see engagement or shares, or it might mean checking your website analytics to see how many people came to your site from the post.
Parts of a great sales pitch
Building a great sales pitch isn’t hard. The six elements below will help you put your pitch together.
As we saw above, you will probably want to create different versions of your sales pitch for different purposes. Each version may not include all six elements. Pick and choose what works for your situation. For example, your social media pitch may just be an image and one other element, such as a story or value proposition, along with a call to action.
A good image can help grab your prospect’s attention and give them a sense of what you’re all about.
Build a collection of appropriate images for the cover slide in a sales deck, the body of an email, or your social media posts.
Your value proposition is basically a statement of what you can do for your prospect. Why should they care what you have to say? What’s in it for them? How will your product or service make their life better?
Often, this can be expressed in a single sentence: [your company] helps [customer] with [product or services] so they can [benefits].
Don’t forget the benefits! You may think it’s obvious why your services are valuable. To connect with a prospect, though, you need to break out of that. How will your offerings
While a solid value proposition is important, a story can really bring your pitch to life.
Rather than just telling your lead what you can do for them, you can show them—with a story.
The story should focus on a hero—the customer. Let your prospect see themselves in the hero. Walk them through the hero’s journey of struggling with a problem, finding a solution, and entering a new phase with real benefits.
In a way, you’re giving your lead a vision of an alternate future for themselves—the one they’ll live if they choose to work with you.
Ideally, you can get the details of this story from the experience of real customers you’ve already guided through it.
Stories appeal to people’s emotions. To complete the pitch and drive the message home, you can outline the solutions you offer—the same ones your story illustrated.
When describing solutions, stay focused on the prospect’s problems. If you aren’t sure what their problems are, ask them! Your pitch will be much more powerful when it addresses people’s real pain points.
Take the benefits you mentioned in your value proposition statement. Then, make a connection between the solutions you offer and the benefits your prospects will receive when they become your customer.
People have many ways to get information about your company, your products or services, and your competitors. They don’t have to rely on you or take your word for it.
Instead, buyers today look at online reviews, testimonials, independent research, and the opinions of people they know and trust.
You simply can’t control where and how people find out about you. But you can offer your prospects evidence that you can deliver what you say you will.
Ask your customers for reviews. If you’re doing your job, these positive reviews will be powerful social proof of what you can do. Make sure your website and social media platforms display this kind of evidence.
There’s another way to give your prospects unbiased information about you—a free trial. This kind of offer lets the prospect experience what you can do for them first-hand.
Obviously, there is a cost associated with providing your service for free. But acquiring and converting leads always costs something. If you’re confident in what you do, giving your leads a taste of it can be among the most powerful pitches you can make.
Call to action
Without a call to action, your pitch won’t have the impact you’re looking for. You may persuade your prospects that you’re the right solution to their problems, but unless you give them a clear next step to take, they still may drift away and out of your pipeline.
Depending on your process and the version of your pitch you’re creating, this call to action may be to call a sales line, register with a web form, or sign up for a mailing list. Whatever the call to action is, make sure you can track how many people take it. And make sure you know how this action will lead them closer to conversion.
Consultative sales pitches
One final thought on creating a great sales pitch—aim to consult, not just sell your product.
What does that mean?
When your mindset is all about selling your product, you’re focused on you, your company, and what you need to make your quota or achieve your goals.
When your mindset is about consulting, you’re thinking about the prospect and what they need.
To create a consultative sales pitch, you need to listen to and understand your prospect. Rather than selling your solution, ask them questions. Find out what their actual challenges are, and work with them to decide whether your product or service will help.
It can be hard to break out of the product-selling approach. But many people are impatient with that—or even completely over it. People know when you’re trying to help them, and they know when you’re trying to help yourself.
Make it all about the prospect, and you’ll be on your way to a great sales pitch.