You have a sales pitch with a potential new client. Lovely, well done for getting this far. Let’s not mess up. Structuring your pitch is key. You see, it’s not just about cramming in all of the facts, figures, features and benefits into as few PowerPoint slides as possible, reading them word for word, and hoping for the best. You could have the most feature rich, problem solving, value for money product or solution known to man, but without the right delivery, it won’t matter one bit. Facts alone won’t sell.
“What interests us most vividly at the time is, other things being equal, what we remember best.”
It’s a human misjudgement, an error of cognition, a bug in the system. We can’t help it. If John told you an entertaining story full of imagery and laughter, that’s what you will remember. You associate John with comedy and laughter, which, if they are traits that you value, will obscure your judgement when selecting a service of which John is one of the options.
What examples of using vividness and recency in your presentations do you have? Please share your stories in the comments.
So back to our sales pitch. In order to sell, you should make your most important points vivid. It sounds obvious, so why are you still reading massive amounts of data in a monotone voice and the occasional smile? And not just vivid, but entertaining, and tangible. The easier it is for your prospect to recall the event, the more likely they will think it will happen again, the more they are influenced by it. So, if instead of reeling off numbers and figures, you tell a really compelling case study where you helped a customer similar to your prospect, backed up with imagery, pitch and tone variation and the odd joke, you’ll be a lot better placed to close the deal.
Recency matters too. We tend to overestimate the likelihood of an event happening again soon after it has just happened. So, make sure you finish your sales pitch on a high, with a story, with a good reason to remember you. And follow up shortly after. Don’t wait for your prospect to sit on it. There are a thousand reasons he could get side-tracked, and the longer he gets side-tracked from you, the less impact your wonderful pitch will have on him when he comes to decide whether or not to use your services. Follow up, stay in the consciousness of your prospects and win more deals.
Conversely, if you are receiving a pitch, remember this: humans make cognitive errors. You are trying to be rational, but, just like everyone else, you are fallible to making misjudgements. So, when you feel yourself liking the pitch, or making judgements, take a step back to ponder and ask some of the following: