One of the toughest parts of any sales role is trying to learn the ‘company pitch.’ It’s something that every junior salespeople has to memorize and oddly, something senior salespeople don’t seem to use at all.
If a ‘pitch’ is so valuable, why do the most successful salespeople not use them?
They do, in fact, pitch – they tell impactful stories about the challenges they’ve seen clients struggle with and how your company solved them. Those well-worn stories are injected with the personality of those senior salespeople. Unfortunately, it takes a decade or more to get those stories and leverage them.
But what if we could accelerate that learning curve by injecting more of our own personality into our pitch? To learn how that would work anywhere in the sales cycle, from initial outreach to onboarding a new customer, we sat down with Caelan Huntress, creative director of Stellar Platforms and author of the book Marketing Yourself. He shared with us how we can leverage the same skills he had to learn to get – and keep – the attention of others to inject more of our personality into our pitches.
Since we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it, and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: Caelan says the triggering event in this sales system can’t come before learning about your prospect. Even though we’re aligning our company-provided pitch with our personalities, we’re not making the conversation about us. It always has to center around the prospect – and that means understanding the prospect’s needs.
That might sound like, “I’ve seen that challenge before, and here’s what I/my company has done to help with that … “
It’s the story you tell, the pace you tell it, and the emotional/logical balance that’s unique to you that makes your pitch personal. Of course, this means having a few stories up your sleeve that will allow you to address (in your unique way) the likely challenges you’ll hear from prospects.
R – Repeatable: To make this system repeatable across prospects and across a diverse sales team where every salesperson is bringing their unique personalities, Caelan recommends first developing the most common challenges and questions you’re likely to hear during a sales conversation.
Once those challenges and questions are mapped out, Caelan says to develop a suite of stories that we can draw on to address those challenges. This is what senior salespeople can do naturally after decades of prospect and client conversations. Mapping out challenges and compiling stories ahead of time (which may be done with team members so everyone can benefit from each others’ experiences) ensured that they’re available to the entire team.
To make those stories your own, Caelan next recommends determining what, in each of those stories, is important/impactful for you. Was it the way your company saved the day for a client’s business? Or the way your delivery team went above and beyond to ensure everything was up to code at the client site?
Identify what elements of your story suite stand out the most to you, because those will be the things that you’ll naturally be able to inject your own personality into as you customize that pitch for the prospect.
I – Improvable: To improve how we systemize our personality into our pitch, Caelan says to survey customers on which stories you told during the sales process that had the most impact. Those are the ones to focus on more, especially if they’re meaningful to you.
Another way to improve a personally-customized pitch is to practice your pitch stories in front of peers. They’ll be able to give you feedback on where you light up, and which stories you communicate with the most enthusiasm. Those are the pitches to prioritize.
M – Measurable: How do we measure how well we inject our personality into our pitches? Caelan says to focus on leading indicators rather than how many sales close. This means looking at your outbound activity, conversations, and prospect engagement in the process. If you’re doing a great job of blending your pitches with your personality, you’ll see faster callbacks, more email responses, and pipeline velocity.
At the tactical level, ensure you track which stories you shared with which prospects so that you’ll know what to use again on future calls. The stories we start out liking the least sometimes get us the best sales results.