For business professionals, the key to success is often a well-crafted sales pitch. For many, however, presenting your pitch to a board room full of executives can be pretty intimidating. You spend hours (or even days) strategizing the ideal sales presentation, filled with snappy one liners and convincing arguments, just to let a few public speaking mishaps get in the way.
Think of it this way— how many times has one stutter or hesitation completely ruined the flow of your sales pitch? No matter how knowledgeable you are about your product, business plan, or prospect, a convincing sales presentation often comes down to well-refined public speaking skills.
Here are our top public speaking tips to nail your next sales pitch.
1. Keep It Short
Being enthusiastic and knowledgeable about your product is great, but don't get so excited that you ramble on for extended periods of time during your presentation. Stay focused on your main point, and your prospects will, too. It’s tough to regain interest once you’ve lost it in the middle of a presentation or sentence, so be sure your pitch is concise enough to keep your audience enticed throughout. Keep your presentation as short as possible and focus on the most critical points. If your prospects need more in-depth information, they’ll ask for it.
2. Slow Down
Nothing displays your nerves more than racing through a presentation. Additionally, the quicker you’re speaking, the greater chance you create for yourself to trip over your words or completely skip a discussion topic. Before starting your pitch, take a deep breath and remind yourself to speak slowly. It may seem unnatural to you, but your audience will follow the conversation much more easily. Someone who speaks slowly and pauses after each main point portrays a much more confident demeanor than those who move the pitch along as quickly as possible.
3. Limit Use of Hand Movements or Gestures
As public speakers, we often amplify our hand gestures when we’re passionate about the presentation. This is a great energy to channel into your sales pitch, but relax your hands and arms when speaking. Exaggerated movements can be distracting to an audience, and rather than focusing on your speaking points, they’re too busy watching your gestures.
Pro tip: Right before you begin speaking, clench your fists and then let them relax naturally. You’ll avoid any awkward hand poses and get rid of those pre-presentation shaky hands.
4. Incorporate Open-Ended Questions
Modern sales pitches aren’t a one-way road. Be sure to check in with the buyer throughout the pitch— take the time to listen to them and respond with deep, thoughtful follow-up questions. This is critical step to really understanding their business needs and ultimately closing the deal. Asking open-ended questions is also a great way to shake any nerves. It shifts the attention off of you an onto another person, at least for a good 30 seconds or so.
With a few pointers in public speaking, you’re ready for your next sales pitch. Keep your pitch on-message, keep it clear and you'll maintain your buyer's attention. Review it repeatedly and trim excess until it’s as concise as possible without losing the intent. A little bit of nerves are okay, but be confident because you've put real thought and effort into your sales pitch.
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