Sales Pitch Fails: 7 Errors to Avoid in Your Next Presentation

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Sales Pitch Fails: 7 Errors to Avoid in Your Next Presentation

You’re about to make a sales presentation to a prospective customer. You have the right experience, the right products and services, and competitive pricing. You’re an ideal fit for the customer’s needs.

This should be a winning sales formula. But too often, it isn’t, because vendors make dumb mistakes during presentations that cost them the business.

Here are seven things NOT to do when making a sales pitch to a prospect.

7 Common Sales Presentation Mistakes

As a marketing consultant, I often source professional services suppliers for my clients. I see a lot of sales presentations. Some are great, but most are not. I’ve watched many fully-qualified vendors – even ones I was rooting for – miss the mark during the presentation and walk away empty-handed.

What are these presenters doing wrong? Here are seven common mistakes:

  1. Lack of passion: The surest way to lose a sale is to seem like you don’t much care about winning it. Do you want the customer’s business? Are you looking forward to a relationship with their company? Show it through your voice and body language. Be eager and enthusiastic. If you’re not excited about working together, you can sure the customer won’t be.
  2. Focusing on your business: Prospects care about your credentials, but only as it relates to their issues and concerns. No matter how qualified you are, if your presentation is all about your capabilities and not about solving the customer’s problems, you have no chance of being selected.
  3. Not knowing the customer’s business: Come into the meeting with a full understanding of the customer and their marketplace. Listen carefully during the discovery process; know the RFP inside out; study the customer’s website; search online. You want to seem like you’re already a part of the customer’s team, not like a vendor who couldn’t take the time to go beyond the basics.
  4. Poor presentation materials: The quality of your presentation reflects the quality of your work. A presentation that is poorly formatted, poorly written, or poorly proofread does not bode well for your future performance as a vendor. If you make mistakes like these now, what will you do once you’re hired?
  5. Fumbling the Q & A: The customer asks a question, but the sales team is confused about who should respond and gives a weak, unfocused answer. Anticipate questions in advance, have the answers teed up, and be sure the entire team knows who’s supposed to take the lead on each topic.
  6. Checking smartphones: Never, ever let any member of your sales team pull out a smartphone during a presentation, unless you’re showing the customer how great their new website will look on a mobile device. Being unable to resist the use of a smartphone when you’re selling shows a lack of discipline and interest. The customer deserves your full attention. Don’t even check a smartphone for the time; wear a watch.
  7. Dressing down: Some sales teams think it’s okay to dress casually for a sales pitch. You may have a very casual workplace, but the dress code is almost certainly more formal at the customer’s place of business. When you’re asking the customer to pay you money to provide professional services, you need to look like a professional – not like you’re on your way to Home Depot.

The Biggest Sales Fail: Lack of Preparation

The sales presentation is your best opportunity to demonstrate to the customer how sincerely you want to become their partner. If you’ve been given the chance to make a face-to-face presentation, you owe it to customer to be ready for a serious, meaningful discussion about a relationship. Take the time and make the effort to be fully prepared so you can avoid costly mistakes.

What mistakes have you seen vendors make in sales presentations? Share your observations.

  • Deanna Christensen

    I came across your website recently and am learning so much from your insight. It really is a go to site for me to keep up on marketing trends and what does work.
    Thanks a bunch.

    February 23, 2015 at 4:13 pm
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