Since I started my blog, I have been going on and on about how inbound marketing is different from traditional marketing. When doing Inbound Marketing, your goal is to help your customers. You have to find out what they need and fulfill their needs. It is not the other way around. Meaning that you do not want to create unnecessary needs; you want to uncover already existing needs. The Inbound Sales Pitch is based on that: finding the needs of your customers, and showing how you can fulfill them.
Sometimes, I hear that when you implement an Inbound Marketing strategy, you do not sell. That is completely wrong. As an entrepreneur or as a startup owner, you ALWAYS need to sell yourself, your product, or your idea. But the way you sell should always be aligned with your marketing strategy. That’s why a traditional sales pitch will not work for you in 2020 if you wish to implement an Inbound Marketing strategy.
But, fear not, in this blog post, I’ll show you how to design your Inbound Sales Pitch so that your sales meetings will be more successful than ever. I learned about this technique at the University. I modified it a tiny bit to make it more Inbound. Hopefully, you’ll find it as useful as I do.
Before a meeting
A good Inbound Sales Pitch is always prepared in advance. Also, it needs to be prepared again for EVERY meeting, and you should not do the same pitch for all potential clients. The reason for this is that every client is different, so they have different needs. Also, keep in mind that needs change over time. As the Inbound Sales Pitch is adapted to specific needs, it can’t be used for other clients unless they have the exact same needs.
First, before you think about designing your Inbound Sales Pitch, you need to identify your potential clients (prospects).They are usually part of your target group, and they are accessible through one of your channels. You can contact them, talk with them, and see if they have an interest in what you are offering.
Once a meeting has been scheduled, it is time to start preparing. In this blog post you’ll find everything you need to know to prepare an amazing Inbound Sales Pitch, so keep reading. But, remember to always start by setting two goals. First, what is the goal of the meeting (e.g., Identify the needs, signing a contract, etc.)? Second, what is the long-term goal for this prospect (e.g., long-term client, partner, advisor, etc.)? If you aren’t sure how to set-up goals yet, take a look at this article.
During a meeting
An Inbound Sales Pitch includes 5 very important steps. It starts with an initial contact where you install a climate conducive to trade. Then, the needs analysis starts where you try to findthe explicit and implicit needs of the client. Once you know their needs, and you are prepared accordingly, you are ready to present your product/idea. Of course, afterwards, you’ll probably have to manage objections. Finally, you’ll want to close in the end.
Depending on the meeting, some of the points might take more time than others. For example, if it is the first time you are meeting with a client, the initial contact and the needs analysis will be way longer than if you have met many times before. In that case, you already know their needs, so you’ll probably spend more time presenting, managing objections, and closing.
The goal of the initial contact is to put the clients at ease before starting the exchange. It should help you observe the personalities of the clients. It goes as follow:
Remember, the first impression is ALWAYS important. Be authentic, prepared, calm, and self-confident. Show that you are in control of the situation and convinced about what you are selling.
The needs analysis is the most important section of the Inbound Sales Pitch because your whole pitch is based on it. Your goal here is to understand the current situation of the clients and to discover explicit and implicit needs. At the same time, show that you are empathic and ready to adapt to their situation. This will help you build trust. Always try to focus on finding the implicit needs of people. A problem or a need they have that they don’t know about: by finding these and fulfilling them, you’ll make the client more satisfied.
A very important thing here is to reformulate what the client says in a positive way. It shows to the client that you are listening, but it also helps you making sure you correctly understand what the client is telling you.
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– Example of positive reformulation
Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as needed. Asking questions is super important to ensure that you understand correctly. But it is also terrific to help the clients to see opportunities they had not yet considered. Moreover, asking questions is a great way to keep control of the discussions, identify what your major arguments should be (when you present), and determine who the decision-maker is. Are you speaking to the decision-maker? Or, is it actually his boss who makes the decision? Finally, you can ask questions to anticipate objections, and later on, be more prepared to handle them.
Finally, when you are 100% sure you understand the needs of the client, you are ready to start presenting your idea/product. The presentation should begin ONLY when a climate of trust is established AND when the initial situation is well diagnosed. It should be adapted to the needs of the client and his situation, and it should be interesting and impactful.
In a presentation, there are 4 rules you should keep in mind:
- Never lie
- Keep an order that is logical and easy to follow
- Do not give the key characteristics away too early in the discussion
- Bring visual elements: PowerPoints, brochures, demonstrations, business propositions, etc.
A presentation includes the following 7 steps:
Management of objections
Once you are done presenting, you’ll want to manage the possible objections. Remember that an objection is great because it is an opportunity to negotiate, and it shows that the client is interested. So yes, the goal here is to turn objections into a negotiation. And, remember that objections are WAY BETTER than silence.
But keep in mind that there are different types of objections. Some are verbal, while others are silent. Some are “fake objections”, also known as tactical objections, which means that the client only objects to get a price cut. You should try to spot these as they will influence how you negotiate with them.
In other words, an objection is when a client says no to what you present or to what he understood of the proposition.
Examples of objections:
- It’s too expensive
- We don’t really need that kind of quality
- I can’t decide without talking to my boss
- I’ll think about it
You can manage most objections by following these 4 steps:
Once you have no more objections to manage, it is time to close your Inbound Sales Pitch. When you are closing, you should keep the goal of the meeting in mind. So, depending on your goal, it will be important when you are closing to agree on the next step with your client. It could be to agree to meet later on, or to agree on finalizing a written contract. Remember, it is super important to give a good last impression. So, be confident.
You usually close an Inbound Sales Pitch in 3 steps:
After a meeting
Once a meeting is over, it doesn’t mean your job is over. Right after the meeting, your memory is fresh, so make yourself a strong coffee, open your CRM system (I use HubSpot), and write notes. Evaluate your Inbound Sales Pitch: Did it go well? Did you achieve your goal? Also, remember to write down all the information you uncovered (their current situation, their needs, their concerns, etc.).
The next day, write an email to the client that resumes the discussion you had with them. It shows you are trustable, and that you listened to them. Also, use this opportunity to thank them for their time.
Finally, before your next meeting, re-read your notes, and prepare each point of your new Inbound Sales Pitch for them.
Voilà. This is how you prepare an Inbound Sales Pitch. A sales pitch doesn’t have to be pushy or annoying. Forget the car salesman technique, and focus on finding a way to help your potential customers. And, if after the meeting you realize you can’t help them, then, by all means, be transparent about it and let them know. Maybe you won’t get this client, but they will clearly respect you for it, and they might put you in contact with someone in their network.
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