Competing for your audience’s attention – winning with picture perfect pitches!

No matter if you’re at the front of a conference room, in an elevator, or on a golf course, knowing how to pique someone’s interest and keep their attention is an invaluable skill to have on-hand for any situation.

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A career in sales will acclimate people pretty quickly to the art of pitching, but it’s by no means exclusive to the sales industry, as anyone can be put in a position where they have a product or idea to sell. It’s an acquired skill that sales pros utilize on a frequent basis, and for some it comes more naturally than for others, but the fundamentals of a good sales pitch remain true for everyone.

With that in mind, here’s how to do a better sales pitch for more effective closing:

First off, pick your audience wisely

It may sound obvious but overlooking this step and giving your sales pitch to the wrong buying audience can you leave you floundering before you walk in the room. Target an audience, then press upon them that  “anything else is truly a waste of time!”. If you do find yourself facing an un-interested buyer, try to probe and find out the issues facing them, then help by referring them to someone in your network.

Know what’s interesting and build upon that subject

The key to a sale is knowing the buyer’s interests and reinforcing your sales pitch to further those interests. Have a mindset that you’re presenting because you want to help your buyers first and yourself second. To do this you must keep ahold of their attention. Where distraction is abundant and shared instantaneously, you have to create a good sales pitch that will compete against the audience to win their interest.

Indeed, people have less patience to listen to anything aside from what they want to hear, so play into this by learning about them, getting to know what’s on their mind with regard to (insert your idea here), and then connect your idea or product to fit their vision.

Refrain from using the “short attention span” card as an excuse. If you see your audience nodding off, be cognizant enough to know that it’s not an attention span issue, it’s your sales pitch not being directed at whatever they’re interested in discussing. Also, it’s your responsibility to phrase and present in terms they can understand. Don’t overlook this simple but fundamental way to create a good sales pitch.

Ask active questions

If you feel there’s an issue you’re not addressing in your sales pitch, just ask. Active questioning keeps the audience on-topic, but more importantly it will help you identify the triggers that are going to influence their buying decisions.

Not to pick on car salesman, but most people who buy a car will experience at least once a salesman who talks incessantly about details that don’t matter to the buyer. People are picky about their cars, so it makes sense the first words out of the salesman’s mouth should be questioning that person’s style: What models are you interested in? What do you need in a car? What else have you looked at?

Asking about subjects that conform to the prospect’s vision will also put them in a “buyer’s state of mind”. Moreover, once you find the right sticking points you can narrow your approach and leave out anything extraneous.

Learning how to phrase a question is also a skill in its own right, but for anyone who is inexperienced, the most basic principle for using questions to make a good sales pitch is to ask questions that encourage the prospect to say “yes.”

GOOD BODY LANGUAGE AND A GOOD STATE-OF-MIND CAN BE A DIFFERENCE MAKER

Body language is something you should practice before a presentation (and in general) to help yourself be more engaging and approachable. Presenting with negative body language is one of the fastest ways to discomfort your audience from the start and cause them to tune-out, so needless to say, we want to avoid that.

There’s no need to trouble over your looks so much that it becomes a distraction, but be aware that people are adept at reading emotional intent through your gestures. This is why a confident, composed, and secure state-of-mind will help you act and respond with a natural confidence that is all your own. This will make a good sales pitch even better.

Invite feedback and be conversational

Consider that the audience feels a pressure to be listening, so a friendly and conversational atmosphere will make it easier for them to listen to you.

The best place to start is with an introduction that “hooks” the audience to your product or idea. Again, your aim should be to benefit their work or livelihood, so go into the presentation anticipating questions and prepared responses so you can answer in a conversational manner.

For a tip in group presentations, try interacting directly with one person at-a-time and then use those responses to carry you through the presentation. This and other tips will encourage people to toss around out ideas and feed you with questions, allowing you to sell them on their own interests and ideas.