How to Create an Effective Sales Pitch

Have you ever left home for a road trip or night out on the town and realized 30 minutes later that you forgot to extinguish a candle you had burning for ambiance? Your imagination starts to race, and you picture your house or apartment going up in flames with your beloved pet and prized possessions inside. Or, in a more realistic sense, you start to hate yourself because, by the time you get home, half of that candle – your favorite candle – will be burned and wasted. Well, you’ll never have to worry about either of those scenarios again. Our new line of candles features an enhanced technology that is timed to burn for 30 minutes, then self-extinguish.

What you just read is a sales pitch example for a product that isn’t real – yet. But that pitch clearly stated a problem, provided a solution and sold you on that enhanced technology in a short amount of time, right? That’s the goal of a sales pitch. But creating an effective one is actually more complicated than you might think.

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Creating your pitch

“For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.” – Zig Zaglar

Enthusiasm can take you far during a sales pitch. However, a lot more goes into building a concise and persuasive presentation. Before you even begin, you should have a clear objective and know exactly how your product or service specifically can benefit a potential buyer. As a salesperson, you have to be completely prepared to answer any and all questions related to what you’re selling, and you should become an expert on the potential new client you’re pitching to.

Do your homework. According to HubSpot Research, 45% of prospective buyers report a negative experience with sales representatives due to a lack of research conducted prior to the call. Know what your potential buyers do and sell. Know their shortcomings, prospective growth and needs. Understand their history to get an idea about their future. You should also conduct research on their industry and know about their competitors – whether they are being outshined or leading.

Now that you’ve become an expert on your brand and your potential customer’s brand, it’s time to combine the two sources of knowledge. What separates a good lead from a bad lead is a personalized message. Take on a customer point of view and pitch your product as a solution to one of their problems or areas that can be improved. You are not pitching to a general audience. You are pitching to a specific potential client that has unique needs.

Components of a good sales pitch

This video offers an ideal example of how to effectively pitch to an audience. The salesperson demonstrates why his vegetable peeler is a solution to a problem while also anticipating and answering his audience’s questions about whether the tool works for left-handed and right-handed individuals. His overall demeanor is warm and welcoming – without being too aggressive.

Once you have a defined objective and have a firm understanding of your own product and potential buyer, it’s time to create a presentation. In general, your pitch should be short and concise. Try to aim for a total length of 20 minutes followed by an open discussion or Q&A.

PowerPoint, Prezi, and Keynote are standard options for creating your presentation. Keep your pitch to 10 slides with three bullets on each. You don’t want to make the common mistake of overstuffing each slide with a mountain of information. Be sure to include visuals that are clear and easy to follow.

From start to finish, your pitch should follow the inverted pyramid format. This means that you start with your broadest or main idea first and then move onto the specifics. The first 30 seconds of your pitch should be you stating your objective. State the problem your potential customer has and how your product will solve it – along with how it benefits the company.

The potential client should recognize exactly what you’re selling and why he or she needs it within the first 30 seconds. Then, you want to go into the specifics. Be personal when presenting your proposed methods. Anticipate any questions or counterarguments by offering supporting facts.

To make your pitch stand out, include your own personal achievements regarding your product or service and offer testimonials from satisfied customers. Including a short story about your product helping out a customer can add that personal touch to your sales pitch. A recent New Voice Media survey found that 59% of prospects become irritated by generic sales pitches. Clearly, as a salesperson, it pays to be creative and tailor your pitch for every potential buyer.

Although the first 30 seconds of your sales pitch are the most important, your call to action is a close second. The last slide of your presentation should offer the next steps for the potential client you are pitching – whether that’s buying your product, going through a trial period or scheduling a follow-up appointment. You can’t end your pitch and have the prospective buyer figure out what to do next. The pitch isn’t over until some form of response is set for the customer. Entrepreneur and salesman, Neil Patel, suggests aggravating your client’s problem near the end of your pitch so as to set up your call to action. He states, “If you don’t agitate or address the problem head-on, emotionally evoking the sense of urgency, then consumers will never know that you have the solution.”

Once your 20-minute presentation is completed, be sure to set aside time for open discussion. Allow your potential customer to ask questions or seek clarifications. This is where your research time will come into good use. Keep your potential buyer happy and be clear in your responses as well as focusing on the next steps.

Even if you don’t close a deal immediately from your sales pitch, having a strong presentation could open the door for a long-term relationship, according to Patricia Fripp, a motivational speaker who provides presentation skills training for companies such as IBM, Microsoft, and Pfizer. Keep communication ongoing, and thank your prospective client for his or her time before leaving your meeting.  

How Crunchbase can help

It’s easy to get stuck during the research phase of creating your sales pitch. Many times, companies will not publicize trigger events such as staff changes, investments, and funding. However, these are all valuable pieces of information to help you personalize your sales pitch to meet the needs of your potential buyer.

Crunchbase Pro, a tool that helps you navigate and filter our extensive database, tracks and reports information on companies regarding their funding activity, investments, and more. You can even set up real-time updates to get the latest news and activities on your target buyer. Our customizable filters allow you to locate potential buyers who would be interested in your product or service. By getting a firm grasp on who you’re selling to, you’ll be able to create a relatable pitch that is more likely to convert your sales lead into a satisfied customer.

  • Originally published November 9, 2018, updated April 26, 2023