sales pitch mistakes

Sales pitches are incredibly important for your business.

Did you know that, according to research, companies that nurture their well-earned leads make 50% more sales? That fact alone should offer enough motivation to take your sales pitch presentations seriously.

There is a catch, however. Around 63% of people asking for information won’t buy from you in the next three months. Some of them might even take a year to decide. 

The best thing you can do is focus on what you can control and impress your leads with your sales presentation. Avoiding these common presentation mistakes will make a huge difference. So let’s take a look at the most common sales pitch presentation mistakes.

1. Not Being Well Prepared

Your audience will most definitely notice when you’re not prepared. This will provide a negative impression and everything could be lost because of it. 

There are many things you can work on before your sales presentation, so let’s make a list to keep them all in mind.

Technical Difficulties

You can’t avoid technical issues with 100% certainty. What you can do is prepare for the worst to come. 

Technical difficulties can be minimized with the right preparation. You shouldn’t waste your time finding a cable, working wifi, or the correct settings during your sales presentation. Be familiar with all the technical aspects of your presentation long before the actual presentation. 

Bring your own backup if necessary. This includes considering: 

  • devices, 
  • cables, and 
  • everything that you might need. 

This means you should arrive at the premises for in-person presentations long enough before the pitch. Similarly, we recommend getting everything ready ahead of time for remote pitches, too, as it’ll help you feel much more comfortable.

Know Your Target Market

It’s never a good idea to have the exact same presentation that you’re using across all your leads. Tailor it to the unique needs and tone of voice of your current audience. 

Make sure to adopt a customer-oriented approach, thus offering valuable insights to each of your prospects. Consider adding social proof from any thought-leaders or known companies that you work with from their specific industry.

This proves to them that you’re aware of their industry, typical problems and niche in general. Research the market well, as a generic proposal won’t impress anyone. 

Don’t Be Too Sales-y

As the name suggests, sales pitches are all about making a sale. You know that just as well as the people you’re pitching your products to. But that doesn’t mean you should channel your door-to-door evangelist and lean into aggressive selling. 

The reason you’re even showing your presentation in the first place is that your leads have a problem they need to solve. The only thing they’re really interested in, is how your product can help them do that. 

Rather than talking ad nauseam about all your flashy features, focus on practical applications of your product to the leads’ unique use case. 

2. Including Too Much or Irrelevant Information 

Stick to the goal of your sales presentation. 

Getting sidetracked is a very common mistake in sales.  Here are four things to keep in mind: 

  1. Be brief with your slides and add only the necessary information.  
  2. Plan the presentation with a sales meeting agenda to stay on track. 
  3. Incorporate images and graphs to break up the monotony. 
  4. Add stories and anecdotes to re-engage your listeners and illustrate the benefits. 

And if that sounds like a lot of trouble, consider the fact that 47% of people take more than 8 hours to create their presentations. However, if it turns a lead into a customer, it’s all worth it in the end. 

Stay Relevant with Real Stories

Like it or not, humans are built for empathy. 

The clinical cleanliness of a peer-reviewed study won’t get your leads’ blood pumping, but a well-relayed customer testimonial just might. Research shows that prospects often prefer to read about real-life experiences regarding your product or service.

Testimonials help create a sense of trust, form positive emotional connections and opinions, and, as we mentioned – grab attention. 

If that’s something you’d like to achieve, consider adding customer testimonials to your sales pitch. There are many to choose from, including quotes, video and audio testimonials, press reviews, and more.

Lack of Visuals

Remember, you’re in a battle for the attention of your audience. Even if you have the best solution, stunning visuals help keep your prospects’ attention. 

Visuals are processed significantly faster (up to 60,000x) in your brain and evoke emotions more easily. 

This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours on your sales presentation picking the right colors. Instead, find illustrations that show either your products or the results of using them. 

Adjust your slides to your branding manual to look more professional. 

Not Including a Video

If you do it right, a short video might save you a lot of effort and help you showcase your mission.

This doesn’t mean you should bore your audience with a 30-minute-long story about your company. Try to make it as compact as possible and valuable at the same time. A great video can motivate your audience and show them you’re a real professional.

And don’t worry if you aren’t a professional filmmaker. There are plenty of video editing applications fit even for complete beginners, including iMovie, Nero Video, Movavi Video Editor, and OpenShot – some of which are free to boot!

And speaking of video, assuming you’re conducting your pitch over the internet, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of using a webcam. According to research, salespeople who use a webcam enjoy a 41% higher close rate than their camera-shy counterparts.

Source

3. Using Unreliable Tools

Nothing is more embarrassing than holding a virtual presentation that fails after a few minutes because you used some sketchy software to save money.

Using a tool that suits you well and is tailored to your needs shows you take your business and partners seriously. Get rid of an unreliable conferencing tool immediately. It’s the best decision you can make during your preparation process. 

Here are a few must-have features for a great video conferencing tool:

  • High-quality audio and video
  • Screen sharing
  • Webcam capabilities
  • Integrated VoIP

4. Boring Your Listeners

We’ve all been there. You just sit there and pray for it to end soon. This is definitely not a high-converting strategy. 

A good sales presentation should be dynamic and engaging. A solid technical solution and well-prepared slides are good foundations.

But they’re not enough to carry you all the way through the finish line. To that end, you need solid presentation skills as well. 

The first thing any salesperson should work on is being an engaging speaker. 

5 Pointers to Become a Better Speaker

  1. Avoid a monotone tone of voice. 
  2. Emphasize important points and questions.
  3. Take short breaks between important information to let it resonate. 
  4. Say goodbye to those tiresome run-on sentences.
  5. Add language flairs personalized to your listeners’ industry and unique interests.

Not Personalizing Your Pitch Deck

We’ve touched on the importance of personalization in a previous point, but it’s one worth repeating. Research shows that high-performing sales teams are 2.8x more likely to say they focus on personalized customer interactions than underperforming teams. 

Typically, this includes asking qualifying questions to better understand leads’ pain points and unique company goals and tweaking your pitch to suit their needs.

However, it’s not just the content you should be personalizing. The words, comparisons, and anecdotes you use are just as important to put your point across. 

Let your knowledge of the potential customers’ business inform your wording and information structure, and you’ll see your conversion rates rise in no time. 

Source

5. Neglecting Practice and Relying on Notes

One of the best ways to deliver a great presentation is by recording yourself during practice. It might feel weird at first, but this is one of the best ways to improve the way you talk. 

Practice your sales presentation a few times, replay your recording, and take notes. 

  • Are you using too many filling words? 
  • Are you playing with your hands too much? 
  • Where do you look? 
  • How fast do you talk? 

Focus on how you feel about the whole presentation, take notes on your weak points and how you could improve on them, and do the presentation again. 

Such deliberate practice will help you feel much more comfortable when presenting. Many people tend to rely on their notes, but relying on them too much is distracting and sounds highly unnatural.

There’s also a small difference in the way we talk and write, and people will notice. Notes should serve you only as a backup with a few bullet points to help you stay on track. 

Don’t Stick to the Script

Even though it’s really important to be prepared for your sales presentation and have a script in mind, it’s not always best to stick to it completely. Avoid robotic monologues and try to involve your audience in your presentation.

The best salespeople use their pitches to facilitate a two-way exchange of information, allowing the leads to pitch in whenever appropriate, ask questions, or even qualify their needs and desires. 

All you need to do to change your one-way pitch into a fruitful two-way conversation is:

  • Let your audience members interrupt you
  • Ask them whether they have any questions every 5 minutes or after each slide/module.
  • Present the information in a way that allows the leads to expand on topics or at least agree or disagree with you.

6. Trying to Predict Everything! 

Do your best but keep in mind that you can’t prepare for everything. There will be some situations that you didn’t think of before, and that’s ok. 

Always remain calm and just be yourself. Your audience will appreciate it and it’s always nice to see you’re another human being. 

Smile at your mistakes and don’t take the situation too seriously. Sometimes the moments when you improvise are those moments that persuade your audience. Vulnerability isn’t a negative thing.

Be sure to give space to questions. Don’t try to avoid them or promise to get back to them in another call. This should happen only in the worst scenario when you really are not authorized to give answers.

It can help you to think of at least 5 to 10 questions before you attend the sales presentation.

It’s very helpful if you practice it with another person that will act as a “Devil’s advocate“. This means the person will oppose your view and give you uncomfortable questions. This way, you’ll be prepared even for more tough questions that may occur.

7. Missing a Strong Call to Action

So you’ve finally reached the final slide of your pitch. You breathe a heavy sigh of relief – it’s all over. Or so you would think, but in truth, this is your moment to really seal the deal. 

It’s shocking how many people do their best on the presentation but without any real results. And every sales presentation should lead to some result, right?

Now it’s the time for action. You should literally call for it. You can try to close the deal or just ask for a deposit or some other commitment. 

This is really important, and it would be a shame not to include a strong ending when you’ve done so well.

Don’t be too pushy or sales-y, but make sure you have something to work on in the future. Even if it’s just another call in a calendar. 

Conclusion

As you’ve had the opportunity to see in this article, sales pitches may seem simple, but getting them out of them requires a good degree of knowledge, skill, and effort. But if you focus on the tips we’ve outlined, your eventual success is all but guaranteed. 

So go out there and start selling! Just remember that a great presentation leads to a mutually beneficial outcome. You’re working for your customers just as much as for your company.

The article was written in collaboration with CloudTalk.