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SCORING A SALES PITCH

A sales pitch can make or break a deal. It is vital to have it secured down before or while meeting the customer. In this issue of B360°, Dibesh Dangol interviewed experts in the field of sales and marketing to know about their signature sales pitch style, the dos and don’ts, and how to score a sales pitch.

NOOR DHOJ JOSHI
Managing Director, J&T Associates

Tips on sales pitching

Our company, J & T Associates is an outsourcing company established in 2003 providing B2B solutions. Most of our customers are looking for solutions to a specific problem. In our scenario, we really don’t need to use any sales tricks but the capability to provide a solution for their problem. I do extensive research on the company and the person I am pitching to. The pitching starts from the moment I give my visiting card. The icebreaker first impression is critical. I always ask questions to assess the seriousness of the customer if they are really looking to buy. I keep the pitch short and simple and straight to the point and a continuous follow up till I nail the sale, or the customer says no.

Dos & Don’ts

Reaching on time is very important. The sales person should reach 15-20 minutes early. DO: carry plenty of visiting cards, dress to impress and smile as they open the first statement. Also research the company, research the person you are pitching to and the decision-making capability in the company by using LinkedIn or Facebook. Focus on what the customer cares about, listen to understand the problem the customer is facing, and ask the right questions.

DON’T: argue or try to prove the customer wrong even if you know they are wrong, jump to conclusions, be negative, discuss on sensitive topics like religion, politics etc, claim to have solutions/answers to something when you don’t, bore the audience with a lengthy presentation and data, confuse and bore the audience, be too pushy, and badmouth your competitor or the customer’s competitor.

Your signature style

I don’t have any signature sales pitch but always customise and modify the pitch that is personalised to solve customer problem. I always try to connect with the decision maker for a quicker result. In our culture, negotiation is expected, and the decision-maker wants to feel that they are able to negotiate a better deal, so I always leave room for negotiation. I paint a picture as to how we will provide a solution to their problem and what value we will bring in. Instead of beating around the bush, I ask the customer what their expectations are if I feel the cost factor is hindering the sale.

Preparing a sales pitch

Ditch the lengthy PowerPoint presentation unless you must provide visuals or meaningful data is a must. Other elements include focusing on providing a solution to the problem; always try to show the value that you will bring; structuring the sales pitch to follow a smooth path; telling story of similar solutions that you have provided to other clients, if you have any; having data to backup your claims; preparing for the sales pitch; preparing to handle objections; listening; sending a ‘thank you’ email after the sales pitch; and making sure to follow up after a few days.

Your sales and marketing idol

My first sales job was selling home security systems going door to door while studying in Australia. My role model was the owner of the business, a 22 year old guy who drove a Porsche and wore a gold Rolex. He was a true sales leader who led by example and was always ready to teach and motivate us to achieve our sales target. Every week we had about 10 hours of sales training focusing on communication skills, objection handling and hearing success stories from the best sales person in the team.

JEAN-LOUIS RIPOCHE
General Manager, Kathmandu Marriott Hotel

Tips on sales pitching

Be well informed on the hotel products and every aspect of it. A factual knowledge and focus area based on what the guests want makes the prospective client feel comfortable and develops a foundation based on trust and reliability. Be well prepared for the questions that the prospective clients might ask. To ensure that the guest comes back, small gestures like sending an email also matters a lot. At Marriott International, we focus on digital sales and marketing as well to ensure that we capture our guest’s attention, we focus on providing the right information and keep it on a personalised note once the lead comes through.

Do’s & Don’ts

Few recommendations that I can share with the younger generation would be:

• Do always be prepared: It’s important not to wing it but also keep the conversation under a spontaneous spectrum while having all your notes in place in accordance to the subject of your sales pitch.

• Don’t exaggerate: Always ensure that we don’t oversell to the guest about our product and be very accurate with the information we provide to the potential clients.

• Do always be punctual: Always dress well and show up before your clients do. It will create a positive mindset from the beginning and set a good tone for the rest of the conversation.

• Don’t use ‘I’ a lot: Try to use words with ‘we’ more to feel the guest included in the conversation.

Your signature style

For me personally, I don’t treat a sales pitch meeting in a tense manner. I try to find a common ground with the guest, find out about likes and dislikes and what exactly does the person need to make things comfortable for him or her. The major focus is to keep it light and personalised.

While preparing a sales pitch

Always follow up with the guest, ensure that your homework is done, and always be confident.

Your Sales and Marketing idol

I consider Steve Jobs to be my idol. He changed the consumer and retail world globally in a revolutionary manner. I think he will be an inspiration for people for years ahead.

SUJATA SHAKYA
Head of Retail Sales, Him Electronics

Tips on sales pitching

To communicate anything like schemes or information of products with our showrooms and dealers, we use various multimedia tools like phone, e-mail or messaging apps like Viber and WhatsApp. As for employees, whenever a new employee joins our company, we see whether s/he is a fresher or has past experience in sales field. If the employee is a fresher, s/he starts from the junior level and is trained about the company, our policies, our products and how s/he should approach the customers. If the employee has past experience, s/he is just given idea about our products and company policies because s/he will already have idea about approaching the customers. We provide assistance and sales ideas to our dealers if they aren’t being able to sell the products. We also do microwave cooking classes in our seven existing Samsung Digital Plazas during off-seasons which can be attended by interested participants and customers.

Dos & Don’ts

First and foremost, fake information shouldn’t be floated to the customers whether it is related to the products or schemes and offers which is strictly prohibited at Him Electronics. Whenever a sales promoter or executive joins us, we tell them that customers are our gods and we need to be true to them about our products. Beside this, they should be well dressed and presentable so that the customers don’t get a bad impression or feel uncomfortable around them. Also, whenever a customer enters the showroom, s/he should not feel left out and should be entertained. The sales personnel should approach the customer, gain information regarding what they are looking for, deal with the customers accordingly and provide them information regarding available schemes and offers.

Your signature style

In this field, apart from looking well-dressed and greeting the customers, good communication skills are vital. The sales personnel should have proper information about the products and should be able to communicate information about the products to the customers. We also follow the Law of Average and treat our customers equally so that no customer feels left out. This is my signature sales pitching style.

While preparing a sales pitch

At Him Electronics, we consider every customer that enters our showrooms as a business opportunity. They are greeted and asked if they want sales personnel’s assistance or would like to freely explore our products. If the customer wants assistance, then we do need assessment like budget, features, specifications, etc. Knowing what the customer wants is very crucial. Through that we can know more about the customer and explanation about the product to the customer can be done accordingly like explaining about the technical aspects or usability aspect. After that, the sales personnel can takes the customer to that particular product or product segment and communicate about the product in a way which s/he understands. The customers are asked if s/he has any additional queries regarding such products and arealso given information regarding schemes or offers in the product. Along with that, the sales personnel also showcases substitute products (if any) to the customer. If the customer buys the product, s/he is also given information regarding our after sales services.

Your sales and marketing idol

Prabhakar Samsher Thapa, General Manager of Him Electronics, is my mentor and inspiration. I have been working in this company for the last 11 years and started as a sales executive. When I joined Him Electronics, I had an idea about sales from my previous workplace but the process and policies were totally different here. He guided and taught me about everything every step of the way in terms of dealers, products and customer handling, making schemes and offers, etc.

PURUSHOTTAM BHANDARI
Deputy General Manager – Sales of LG Division, CG Electronics

While pitching for sales

We have a team that directly assists the dealers. We have two types of customers; dealers and dealers customers. We consider actual sales when the dealers customers receive their product at home. We motivate dealers to meet their sales target by providing different motivational benefits. To motivate those dealers we have area executives and supervisors that deal with the dealers and show them benefits. The dealers see their benefits and deal with the customers.

Your signature sales pitch style

I visit major dealers once a month to listen to their problems, analyse them and find solutions with our sales and marketing team to show customers the benefits of LG products and how they can and are changing the lifestyle of our customers. The important thing for any sales pitch is to show the benefits and features of any product to the customers. I tell my sales team during the training sessions to listen to their customers first; know their wants and budget; and only then show them the products and describe about the products properly. I also tell them to provide necessary information regarding our after sales services so that they won’t have problem regarding after sales service after purchasing the products.

While preparing a sales pitch

When a customer enters our showroom, our sales personnel need to know the mindset of the customers and the products they are interested in besides greeting them. If a customer doesn’t understand the technical aspects of the product, describing them technically won’t mean anything. Whenever such customers come, we need to explain to them about the brand and the features of the products in a language they can understand. Also, we need to be honest with our customers and provide factual information about the products because providing them falsified information can later hamper our sales and brand image.

Your sales and marketing idol

I consider all my seniors who I have worked with as my sales and marketing idols. They have always tried to uplift me and through their guidance the company has been prospering.

KISHOR MAHARJAN
Sales Manager, Showroom Sales, GO Automobiles (Ford)

Tips on sales pitching

Generally, we start with understanding the need of the customer. Most of the questions are based on the “FORM” technique. A good salesperson always understands how and what of a sale. Understanding the need of a customer will always help a salesperson to pitch the right product to the customer and will also save both their time rather than fussing around on different questions.

After understanding the needs of the customer and presenting him the right product, we have a process which helps us to break down the explaining process in simple steps which makes it easy for the customer to understand. Rather than explaining everything if we explain the right things, then the sales pitch will be a fun filled conversation. Explaining about the product is always a major part of sales, as it either excites the customer or makes him bored. Giving a touch and feel demo is also a major part of the sales pitch. Your sales pitch is not complete until your customer feels the product in his own hands. And in the end you should not forget to ask for sale. This is one of the crucial parts of any sales pitch.

Do’s & Don’ts

The do’s are to always give your full attention to the person who is in front of you; try to listen to what the person in front of you has to say; use open ended questions; always follow the sales mantra and always share a past story or an experience related to the ongoing event.

The don’ts are: don’t rush to close the deal, don’t confuse the person in front of you, don’t try to downsell your competition with negative points, and don’t use too much data.

Your signature style

A signature sales pitch does not exist for me. I actually consider myself a learner and am always excited to learn new things whenever and from whomever I can. If you can give a clear, simple and short pitch which is easy to understand, then it is considered as a signature sales pitch for me. The few things that I normally follow are to understand the need, keep everything simple, break down the presentation, give touch and feel presentation, ask for sale, fulfil your commitment and always keep in touch.

While preparing a sales pitch

• Make sure you ask the right questions
• Make sure that the customer feels the product according to your sales pitch
• Make sure your pitch has an objective
• Focus on what the person in front of you cares about.
• Research and prepare relevant data
• Stay positive
• Carry a smile with you
• Always stay calm and steady

Your sales and marketing idol

I don’t know if we can call him a sales idol but Will Smith in the movie ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ has really inspired me to change myself. The struggle that he had to face just to have a good day for him and his son was really inspiring. Even through the hardships he faced, he was fully in line to sell the portable bone density scanner on which he had invested his money. The technique and determination which he applies to sell those machines are truly commendable and professional. Not only that, at the very end of the movie, the way he gets the brokerage and securities firm job although it’s not his field tells that no one should lose hope but give their 100%.

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