How to prepare your sales pitch

Checklist

  1. 1 Find out which services or products the customer is interested in.
  2. 2 Establish your objectives. Do you want to make a sale now, or create initial interest to justify a later presentation to the decision-maker?
  3. 3 Clarify what style and length of meeting the customer wants: for example, a full presentation, a product demonstration or a short briefing followed by a discussion.
  4. 4 Establish the key message you want the customer to take away from your presentation - the main benefit that makes your offering attractive.
  5. 5 Establish a few key points that support this message; relate your points to the customer's needs and interests.
  6. 6 Prepare a logical argument which will convince the customer to take action: for example, book a follow-up meeting or place an initial order.
  7. 7 Anticipate any objections or questions the customer might raise; decide whether to answer these in the presentation or just have answers ready.
  8. 8 Organise your material into self-contained sections which you will be able to expand or shorten in the presentation depending on the response.
  9. 9 Prepare an introduction and conclusion to introduce the key points at the start of the presentation and to reinforce them at the end.
  10. 10 Collate any facts and evidence to support your argument: for example, product samples, brochures or customer testimonials. Make sure your samples work.
  11. 11 Prepare a first draft and read through it aloud, leave it overnight and then revise it.
  12. 12 Identify and prepare any simple, relevant visual aids which will reinforce or clarify your points: for example, flipcharts, handouts or PowerPoint presentations.
  13. 13 Transfer the key points of your presentation to cards or a summary sheet and note where any visual aids will be used; discard the draft.
  14. 14 Rehearse your presentation until you are satisfied; consider asking colleagues for feedback or recording yourself.
  15. 15 Make sure you know how you will close the meeting and agree follow-up actions.

Cardinal rules

Do:

  • find out what the customer wants and expects
  • identify the key message you want to convey
  • establish supporting points and a logical argument
  • make your key points three times - in the introduction, the body of the presentation and in the conclusion
  • prepare notes
  • rehearse

Don't:

  • overcomplicate and confuse your argument
  • keep a script to read from