One of our neighbors’ kids is spending the summer afterÂ her freshman year at the University of Georgia selling Cutco knives door-to-door.Â We heard her pitch tonight and she did a nice job.Â The knives are impressive.Â We bought several.
But it struck me that most sales presentations in business are no more sophisticated than my neighbor’sÂ Cutco pitch.Â SheÂ brought outÂ the knives, talked about them, and did a little demonstration. My kids and I particularly liked the one where we try toÂ cut through a piece of rope.
When it was all done,Â she took out an order form and asked if we wanted any knives.Â
Of course that’s fine for a door-to-door knife pitch.Â But many sales presentations, for far more sophisticated products and services, doÂ the exactÂ same thing. They show you all their stuff and then ask “Do you think you’ll need any of this stuff?”Â
Great sales pitches don’t start by talking aboutÂ the stuff that you haveÂ to offer. The best sales presentations start by showing thatÂ you understand your prospect’s business problem. Then you present a solution to that problem.Â Great sales pitches focus on nothing other than proposing a specific solution to the prospect’s specific business problem.
For example, start by detailing how you understand that your customer is losing lots of money in shipping costs. Then propose a solution to help them save that money.Â The body of your presentation should then be a demonstration of how your software will save your customer lots of money.Â Do that well and your audience will hang on every word.
By the way,Â we bought the small chef’s knife, the kitchen shears, the vegetable peeler, and the bread knife.Â The total cost wasÂ $344.Â They aren’t cheap. But they come with a lifetime guarantee and never need sharpening.