The Art of the Creative Sales Pitch
From elevator pitches to suit-and-tie presentations (complete with visual aids), sales pitches are part and parcel of getting your product in front of clients.
But there are certainly secret ingredients to the perfect sales pitch — whether you’re persuading peckish passersby to visit your food truck or convincing a room full of grocery execs to showcase your new snack line in stores. What’s the secret sauce that brings the perfect sales pitch together?
For February’s edition of Creative Juice, we grilled our very own Sam O’Connell for his creative sales pitch recipe. Read on for all the juicy details.
How Do You Prepare a Sales Pitch?
According to Sam, it’s almost impossible to prepare a sales pitch blind. Just like chefs take inventory of their ingredients before they start chopping, Sam listens closely for key details about prospective clients:
“First things first, I listen. A major part of what I do is listening to our collaborators’ needs and goals.”
If you have an opportunity to chat with leads before a pitch, take a page out of Sam’s recipe book. Ask your potential new partner about:
- What they might need – Find out about your prospect’s major pain points. Discovering their needs helps you choose whether you’ll offer one of everything on your menu or take an à la carte approach.
- How they want to grow – Exactly how you’ll help your client crush their goals is a critical part of your next pitch. But first, you have to peel back the onion to find out what those goals actually are.
Once Sam has a clear picture of a potential collaborator’s cravings, he can start to envision perfect pairings:
“During this critical listening process, I think about how the Coal Crew can offer our services (in tandem with our creative chops) to accomplish their goals.”
The first step to preparing a sales pitch is uncovering a client need that matches perfectly with one of your products or services — before you write a pitch, you have to figure out what you’re selling.
Writing a Compelling Story
After getting a feel for a prospect’s palate, Sam starts building a menu — err, a story.
“I typically try to create a story about how Coal Creative can use our expertise to accomplish a collaborators goals.”
When it comes to narrative structure, Sam likes to stick with the classic three-act framework:
- The setup – “We define the project by creating a Scope of Work. For example, to help a collaborator increase their outreach, we might produce a video, use it as a social media ad with a call to action and measure the results to ensure that we accomplish our goal. This portion of the narrative sets the parameters for our collaboration.”
- The rising action – “In this stage of the pitch, we show samples of what our services could look like based on our research and development. You can really let the creative juices flow in this stage. If we’re pitching video content, for example, we might highlight storyboards, visual outlines or similar videos.”
- The conclusion – “Tie everything together in the conclusion. It should lock your pitch-ee into your idea by dramatically outlining how the first two acts will combine to accomplish their goal.”
Finally, because you can’t order at a new restaurant without looking at a menu:
“Put the three acts into a slideshow. It works.”
Which Tactics Should You Avoid When Crafting a Sales Pitch?
What should you avoid as you cook up your next pitch? Sam says that confidence is key, but warns against setting unrealistic expectations:
“When it comes to pitching, don’t overpromise! The fastest way to lose trust — and potentially future business — is to say that Outcome A will happen when Outcome F is what actually happens.”
In other words, be realistic about what you think your product or service could accomplish for your clients. If you make cookie dough, it’s probably not going to come out of the oven as a soufflé.
Sam also says, “It’s okay to come across as (and be) confident.”
You know your brand’s offer better than anyone else. Leveraging that know-how and making promises that you can keep will only increase the integrity of your pitch.
What Information Do You Have for Small Business Owners Looking to Make More Sales?
If you’ve had your fill of sales pitch tips, Sam’s also offering two general sales tips small businesses can take to-go:
1. “Meet your customers where they are. Think about how you can best present your product or service to your audience in the space where they are, and stay consistent.”
In other words, offer products and services that prospects can actually use and try to align your pitch with their expertise level.
2. “Find out what works and do more of that — and abandon what doesn’t work.”
If you’re not a seasoned sales pro yet, keep track of your progress and lean on the tactics that consistently score sales. And don’t be afraid to try something new. Your one-time special might just become your signature dish.
About Coal Creative
As a full-service digital marketing agency, Coal Creative builds results-driven strategies around your goals to amplify your message.
Coal Creative’s award-winning team provides digital solutions, video production, brand development and more.
Since 2016, Coal Creative has grown to include robust video production, web development and content creation teams — a group of endlessly creative individuals who lead their fields in innovation, collaboration and productivity.