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Customize Pitches to Close More Sales

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Great Ideas: Customize pitches to close more sales

It makes sense: your firm is more likely to land a sale if you skillfully tailor your presentation to the needs of a given prospect. But in order to master …

January 05, 2011

It makes sense: your firm is more likely to land a sale if you skillfully tailor your presentation to the needs of a given prospect. But in order to master customized selling, contends sales-training specialist Richard Schroder, you need to take a standardized approach.

In From a Good Sales Call to a GREAT Sales Call, Schroder suggests the following methods salespeople can use to gain insights into potential clients and incorporate them into their pitches:

1. Write a list of open-ended questions for use with any prospect:

Equip each rep with a series of questions focusing on the potential customer, company and business needs. For example, asking the prospect the personal question “How did you get into the business?” lets your rep learn about the prospect as an individual and identify potential common ground on which to build rapport. And asking the organizational question “How is business?” will help your salesperson understand what the prospects firm is going through, including pain points that your company may be able to address.

2. Get the potential customer talking before your pitch:

Your rep should open a sales presentation by saying something like, “Before I start, can you take a few minutes to fill me in on what is important to you and what is going on with your current provider, product or service? This will help me clarify and better tailor my remarks in the rest of the meeting.” Then your rep should listen carefully to get a clear grasp of the prospect’s specific needs.

3. Restate or paraphrase the prospect’s unique needs before presenting a solution:

By doing so, your salesperson will show that she has listened, and the prospect will get a chance to correct any misunderstandings.

4. Take notes to capture important insights:

Doing so will make the prospect feel important and encourage him to keep talking. It will also help ensure that your salesperson remembers the most pertinent details of what the prospect has revealed so she can incorporate these into her presentation.

5. Highlight the prospects needs in the pitch:

A rep must take care that her presentation covers each of the hot-button issues the prospect has revealed during the early “identifying needs” portion of the sales meeting. And she should not worry if your firms sales materials do not reflect this customization; instead, she should focus on showing the prospect that she understands what he is looking for and on addressing each of his areas of interest.