Anyone that wants to learn how to create and deliver sales presentations should take a little time to study Billy Mays, the famed television pitchman who died over the weekend.
Of course, most people in business would never attempt to pitch with Mays’s revved up, over-the-top style. And I would never suggest such a thing.
But there are a several of things we can learn from Billy Mays.
First, energy sells.
Mays is best known for his hyped up style of almost yelling into the camera as he sold everything from OxyClean, to Mighty Putty, to Flies Away. Of course, business people should not present like a television huckster. But they do need to speak with more energy. Too many people in business speak with all the energy of a houseplant.
Second, always start your pitch by focusing on the customer’s problem.
In his pitch for the “tool bandit”, Mays starts by saying “Tired of fumbling with your tools or wasting time trying to find them?” Use the same approach in your sales pitch. Start by focusing your sales pitch on the business problem that your prospect sees. If you’re pitching for the chance to build an office building, start by focusing on what your client sees as the biggest problem with the project. If the key issue is cost, then start by focusing on how you understand that your prospect is concerned about getting the project done within budget.
Third, build a relationship.
One of the reasons that Mays was successful was that he was on television constantly. People felt like they knew him. That familiarity led to trust. Sure he was goofy. But people liked him. Good sellers understand that a good sales pitch doesn’t stand on its own. They understand that to you greatly increase your chances of winning a sales presentation by developing a relationship with the prospect prior to the pitch. For that reason, good sellers are constantly seeking chances to meet with and listen to the prospect prior to the pitch. Those pre-pitch encounters help build a relationship that often pays off with a sale.
Billy Mays was a great seller of consumer products. But we can all learn from his ability to connect with prospects and make the sale.