Tired of seeing someone’s eyes glaze over as you give your carefully planned sales pitch?
Sick of coming away from a pitch knowing you blew it?
Constantly struggling to convey information clearly?
We’ve all been there, and we’ve all seen the fallout from hilariously bad sales pitches unfold on social media.
Life is full of sales pitches from cradle to grave, be it trying to convince your parents for a pet or trying to get your “million-dollar idea” off the ground, you’ll likely spend hundreds of hours thinking about, planning, and giving sales pitches over the course of your life.
Let’s go through 7 sale pitch examples of atrocious sales pitches and see what you can do to avoid these pitfalls.
Our first entry on this list is a two-parter:
The first and most obvious, don’t join a pyramid scheme, you’re better than that.
Secondly, understand your product before you try to sell it. When making a pitch, be ready for follow-up questions. You want your viewers to ask more about what you’re proposing, but tripping over simple questions or being caught off guard about large-scale inconsistencies erodes the trust you want to build with your potential clients.
It’s fine not to have all the answers right away, but know the important details inside and out so you don’t seem unprepared. The last thing you want is your viewer to think your concept is half-assed.
And seriously, don’t join a pyramid scheme.
Does your sales pitch sound like this to your customers?
While the “Turbo Encabulator” originally started as an inside joke about the pitfalls of technobabble in the 40s, some people still think that this type of sales pitch will impress their customers.
Whether you’re selling a valuable product or tunnels on mars, this sort of language will make your customers bounce right off your pitch. Author Donald Miller said it best when he wrote “If you confuse, you’ll lose.” This quote and its thousands of variations are truly words to live by when it comes to pitching anything.
While I would certainly hope you don’t talk to a client like this, insulting your client can take more forms than just outright harassment.
While it’s important to be concise and simple, don’t insult your audience’s intelligence by talking down to them or being condescending. Whether it’s applying for a job or trying to land a big account, nothing will kill your chances quite like coming off as though you’re better than them.
If you treat your client like they’re stupid, even if you know for a fact that you’re more knowledgeable than them, it’ll kill your chances of getting what you want.
We’ve all heard it before:
Disrupt! Stand out! Subvert!
These are all great ways to be memorable, but not having your client forget about you isn’t always a good thing. You don’t want to be the person who gets brought up over lunch because of how cringey or uncomfortable your pitch was.
Remember, you don’t want to sacrifice integrity and professionalism for cheap memorability. You want your viewers to remember you because of your product, your confidence, and your creativity; you don’t want to end up as an example of what not to do during a pitch.
This should go without saying, but don’t come off as desperate, especially if you actually are. If you keep changing your pitch to make it more appealing to someone who is clearly skeptical or outright uninterested, it undercuts how confident and professional you look.
And sometimes, no matter how well thought out your pitch is, it just won’t work. Accepting that with grace and walking away makes you look more composed and respectable than begging and pleading; it undermines your integrity.
Your reputation is always going to precede you.
Don’t want to be known as the person who will say anything and everything to get what they want.
Don’t hide your intentions or be dishonest about what you’re trying to do. If you’re trying to sell something, you’re trying to make money, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t couch what you’re pitching with disingenuous ideas to make yourself look better.
Nothing will make you seem less trustworthy than trying to hide your motivations, especially if what you’re hiding isn’t bad or out of the ordinary. If you are pitching a product, it’s only natural that you’re doing so for financial gain, so why would you try to hide that? Doing so only makes it seem like there is something seriously wrong behind the scenes, or that you’re a habitual liar.
Both will make your potential clients run for the hills.
It can be very tempting to throw everything you’ve got at your viewer, especially when you have put in the time and effort to research them. The more information you have, the more you may feel the need to show the audience just how prepared you are to make them more interested.
Unfortunately, this can have the opposite effect: dumping a ton of information on your client all at once, no matter how well put together or informed it is, can overwhelm and confuse your target. Give space between ideas so they can breathe, and so that the listener or reader can take a moment to digest them a bit. Snappy pacing can be compelling, but too much of a good thing can end up causing your project harm.
Make sure your listener understands point A before you find yourself on point D.
Conveying information quickly, clearly, and honestly is key to making your pitch successful. Giving your audience the chance to ask questions, engage with, and digest the information you present is vital to cutting through the slurry of content they wade through daily and leaving them with a positive impression of who you are and what you offer.
Small businesses struggle to make those lightning-quick pitches stick without fading into the background noise that saturates the web.
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And remember, you really should avoid pyramid schemes. You don’t want to end up in an article like this one day, right?