“Hello, Mr. Mongillo,” the salesperson began, “wouldn’t you like to save more money on your cable bill?”
Yes, I thought, but not with you. The salesperson plowed on with his ineffective pitch without hearing my response or taking a breath, and it seemed to me he was thinking, “Let me get out as many words as possible before he hangs up.”
I cut him off after thirty seconds. There was no end in sight.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “I’m not interested.”
“Well, Mr. Mongillo, thank you for your time.”
There are several problems with a scenario like this. Forget that the salesperson mispronounced my name. I could forgive him for that. (Members of my own family mispronounce our name.) Forget the fact that he gave up and didn’t fight for the deal. (That’s unforgivable.) And for argument’s sake, let’s dismiss the salesperson’s canned, robotic, I-just-want-to-complete-a-full-pitch mindset. (That, too, is unforgivable.)
Let’s just talk about the pitch. The written pitch.
First off, executives have barely have time for a crystal clear pitch that clocks in at forty-five seconds, never mind one that drones on for more than ninety seconds. Secondly, executives don’t like cutesy pitches with ridiculous openings such as, “Hello, Mr. Mongillo, wouldn’t you like to save more on your cable bill?” Granted, I’m not an executive when I’m at home after working hours, and the cutesy salesperson is actually a telemarketer, but salespeople—individuals in B2B sales—are making the same mistakes over and over again, and the biggest mistake is using a poorly written pitch.
A good pitch should begin with a crisp opening—a who, what, and why.
“Hi, Bill (drop the mister and miss), it’s John Mongillo from ABC. I’m giving you a quick call regarding our new XYZ product we’re rolling out next week. XYZ is twice as fast as LMN (product prospect is currently using) and can generate you a 200% ROI annually.”
You’re not asking Bill if he wants to save money—you’re telling Bill he’s going to get see an excellent ROI if he buys your product. Is he listening? Well, he should be. Doesn’t he want to know more? Well, he hasn’t cut you off yet.
Take a breath and finish your pitch.
“Unlike our competitors’ products, XYZ’s installation takes half the time and can be used company wide. The price for three years is (name price). Bill, is this opportunity something you’d like to discuss further?”
“I don’t know, John. Maybe. Could you tell me a little more about it?”
Remember, the pitch is designed to create interest. It is not designed to close the sale. Post-pitch dialogue seals the deal.
What’s needed in a good pitch: a clear beginning (who, what, why), facts about the product (what the product can do), and why the prospect will see an ROI. The prospect is all about the ROI—if they don’t see hear in your pitch and see for themselves they’re going to hang up.
What the prospect doesn’t want to hear in a pitch: a cutesy opening, the company’s history, a bombardment of facts, and a long-winded delivery.
Keep your pitch short, crisp, factual, upbeat, and with an “a-ha!” moment.
“A-ha!” the prospect will say to himself. “I see an ROI opportunity here.”