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Is Your Sales Pitch Working? 6 Steps to Open More Sales


By Deb Calvert, President, People First Productivity Solutions

{#/pub/images/IsYourSalesPitchWorking.jpg}I’ve met and worked with over 10,000 sellers in my career. I can only remember two who truly loved the work of genuine cold-calling. In the past few years, sellers seem to like cold calling even less. That’s because empowered buyers see fewer reasons to accept cold calls. In fact, buyer research says that buyers would prefer not to interact with sellers at any stage of the buying process.


That news is both sobering and discouraging to sellers who are expected to make quotas based on new business development. But there is a process that works better than the standard opening. When you’ve identified your top prospects and are ready to advance the sale by getting more time with the decision-maker, try this 6-step approach.


Before we review the 6 steps, let’s take a look at 3 things this approach does not do.


First, it does not include the question “may I have a moment of your time?” That’s because this question is not going to work in your favor. Why would someone say “yes” to this question? You’ve interrupted their work, they don’t know who you are, and it’s highly unlikely that what you have to offer is relevant at this exact moment in time.  


Second, this approach does not include a presentation about your features and the benefits you assume might be of interest to the buyer. Remember, no one was sitting around waiting for yet another sales pitch. Getting and unsolicited and unwelcome one won’t warm the buyer up to you or your company.


Third, this approach does not involve a robotic script. There are 6 steps, but you’ll be putting your own voice and style into what you say in these steps. What’s more, you’ll be adding information that is about the company you’re calling. So every single call will be customized. The buyer will notice this in a favorable way, and you will be differentiating yourself from the sea of other sellers. 


Remember, the objective of a cold call is to get an appointment. You may not have much time in this initial call to make an impact, so you will need to offer a compelling reason for the prospect to set aside more time for you. By incorporating these six elements in your initial contact, you will increase your chances of getting the sales appointment:


6 Steps to Open More Sales


1.  Opening

This is close to what you say now, a very simple introduction. Do not ask for time at this point! You need to establish value before you earn more time.


2.  Appreciation

Thank the prospect for giving you a moment of their time. After all, you are grateful for this opportunity. What you’re doing here is putting the Law of Reciprocity into practice. By extending your appreciation, the prospect will want to give you something in return. What they will give you is a little more time; just enough for you to truly grab their attention by showing the value you can bring to them.


3.  Credentials

This is not where you start talking about your products or your company. This is where you briefly describe your own credentials like number of years working with similar businesses or other experience that is relevant. What you need to convey, very succinctly, is the value of spending time with you personally.


4.  Personalization

In order to personalize this call, you’ll need to know something about this unique business. A glance at their web site will give you enough information to work with. Doing this communicates that you are interested, have already invested time, and are different from every other seller who makes generic pitches. There’s no need to add in anything at all about your product at this point. The idea is to keep this all about the prospect.


5.  Benefit to the Prospect

On top of personalizing, you’ll also answer the question “why should I spend time with you?” By expressing how you might be able to help, you will show empathy and an ability to think from the customer’s perspective. Avoid the urge to do product pitching – you will have time for that later. The way to get the appointment is by spotlighting a potential need of the prospect, not by talking about solutions during this call.


6.  Courtesy & Solicitation

Now it’s time to ask for more time. Don’t minimize the value you’ve just created by saying something like “could I just have a couple minutes of your time?” Say instead that you would like to meet and offer two choices of a meeting time. Ask for the amount of time you actually need in order to assess needs and offer relevant and meaningful solutions.


When you put it all together, you have a template that looks like this:



“Hello, this is _________________ with_______________________.



Thank you for____________________________________________.



I’ve been working with _____________________________________.



And I noticed that you______________________________________.


Benefit to Prospect

I’d like to discuss this more with you because I believe I can help you to ______________________.


Courtesy & Solicitation of Buy-In

What’s works best for you? Talking about this opportunity now or scheduling a call later today?”  


Here’s an example of an Opening Statement using these 6 steps:


 “Hello, this is John Smith with The Daily News. Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself and the area’s most powerful advertising media options. I’ve been working with local realtors for six years, helping them find the right buyers for the lakefront and vacation homes they’ve listed.…like the ones you’ve been marketing in Cityville and Springfield. I’d like to discuss this more with you because I have some unique ideas that can help you get established quickly. Since you are just getting started in this area, I think I could really help to attract buyers and to get more new listings, too.   What’s works best for you? Talking about this opportunity now or scheduling a call later today?”  


For most sellers, this process feels awkward at first. The Opening Statement seems a bit long. But remember, this is music to the prospect’s ears because it is about them & not about you. Chances are that this opening is actually shorter than what you try to pack in to any opening that includes a product pitch.


Getting used to this process takes practice. Use it for two solid weeks and see what happens. You can use this on e-mail or voice mail, too, because it is highly effective in getting messages returned.


With this approach, you’ll be opening more sales. Ultimately, that means you’ll be closing more sales, too. 



{#/pub/images/DebCalvert.png}Written by Deb Calvert, President, People First Productivity Solutions

Author of the DISCOVER Questions book series, Deb has worked as a sales productivity specialist and sales researcher since 2000. She is certified as a Master Sales Coach, Master Trainer, and host of CONNECT! an online radio show for selling professionals where listeners ignite their selling power in just an hour.



Do you have a sales question for Deb?  Please visit our Sales Community, she will be happy to help: Ask an Expert


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