The best way to improve at any skill is to practice, in a realistic environment, over and over again. While the skills and work ethic of individual players are essential for any team, there is a reason that Vince Lombardi, Phil Jackson, and Bill Belichick (as much as it pains us in Indianapolis) are household names. Great coaches make great players even better—and the same goes for managers on your sales team.
Many young professionals begin their career in sales. It’s a job function that requires a variety of skillsets as a salesperson progresses and takes on new roles: the skills needed to be a sales manager are drastically different than a sales development rep. That being said, excellent coaching is absolutely essential for a business that employs young salespeople and wants to help them grow and improve.
One core skill for any salesperson is the art of the pitch. Sales managers who provide useful feedback and coaching will have an outsized impact on their reps’ improvement and performance. To aid this process, we’ve uncovered four areas of focus that are critically important when coaching reps on their sales pitch:
Choose your words.
Turn pain into value.
When giving feedback on a sales pitch, be as specific as possible with the rep. A sales pitch is deeply rooted in psychology, and the little details make a pitch stand out to a potential customer. Harp on concepts like body language, tempo, and conversation flow. Find the small nuggets that reps may gloss over which will add significant value to their pitch.
A focus on details by a coach inherently teaches sales reps that they too need to think about the little things. Attention to detail will become an expectation, and an integral part of the team culture if it starts with the manager.
Choose your words
A sales rep’s phrasing of a question, response to an objection, or push for the deal to close is critical to sales success. When selling, words matter, and they can make or break the relationship with a prospect. Sales reps need to internalize that, when selling, their specific word choices will either put them at a disadvantage or give them a leg up on the competition.
Errors often arise when a rep gets caught off guard. They get flustered by a question, objection, or counter and respond poorly. They might promise a feature that isn’t there, agree to a discount, or give away company knowledge. Practicing for the unexpected will help solidify word choice in the thick of conversation.
Some basic advice is this: never guarantee something you can’t deliver on.
Prospects will hold salespeople to their word, so ensure that reps choose their words carefully when practicing their pitch. Use openings or gaps in conversation to ask tough questions, and see how reps respond. Then analyze these moments and provide ideas for different words or phrases that will empower a rep to perform perfectly when a deal is on the line.
Turn pain into value
If a sales pitch has one goal, it’s to translate pain into value. Sales reps uncover pain points by asking good questions, then translate the prospect’s pain into value with their product or solution. A pitch takes place quickly, and demonstrating how the product or service addresses that pain in a short time period is difficult. But a great pitch demonstrates mastery of the pain that prospects feel, as well as the value that your solution offers. Later, in a discovery call or product demonstration, the rep will have more time to unpack the entire solution.
Find the transition point between pain and value in a sales rep’s pitch and dig into it. Make sure that it’s compelling for prospects, and connects the dots between problem and solution.
One of the primary reasons that a deal doesn’t close is a lack of urgency. Usually, this means that the prospect doesn’t feel the problem is painful enough to fix immediately. In any pitch, it’s important to create urgency around the problem that your product or service solves. A rep can’t translate pain into value if the pain isn’t important to the prospect—if the pain is there, but it isn’t painful enough, the deal won’t close.
When grading pitches, make sure reps are creating urgency and clearly communicating to prospects why this problem should be solved right away.
Master the pitch, master the sale
Writers are often encouraged to make their point in as few words as possible—indicating concise, clear, and compelling writing. The same goes for a sales pitch. A brief sales pitch that works demonstrates mastery over the craft of selling. When reps distill hours of conversation down to a meaningful 30 seconds, it’s clear they thoroughly understand the prospect’s problems, the value of the product, and the competitive landscape.
Salespeople gain this mastery through great coaching. A superior sales coach goes beyond simply pointing out errors: they lead a rep toward a better answer, explain the reasoning, and allow room for failure. When sales reps focus on improving their sales pitch with the help of a consistent and constructive coach, they take a big step toward greater mastery, higher productivity, and more closed deals.
Forward-thinking sales teams use Lessonly to practice their pitches
Every pitch is mini-sales process—and teams that dedicate time and resources to practicing their skills thrive in the market. Use Lessonly to train your sales team, record video or audio pitches, and offer constructive feedback. Our online training software puts all the tools for sales improvement in the palm of your hand. Take a tour today.