A Detailed Guide to Sales Pitches

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Sales Tactics

A Detailed Guide to Sales Pitches

Sales pitches can be boring for your audience if they’re not engaged.

Or more accurately, if you're not engaging them.

How many times have you heard or read through a sales pitch from another company, only to start daydreaming about what you’re going to eat for lunch?

Companies in the U.S. spend more than $70 billion on sales training every year. If you’re contributing toward that ever-increasing figure—and failing to push your sales reps to deliver impactful sales pitches, you're wasting money.

Good pitching is consistent yet flexible, strategic yet creative.

I know… this sounds like a tall order. But once your team gets the hang of it, your potential is limitless.

So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know to craft and deliver sales pitches, including:

What is a sales pitch?

A sales pitch is a conversation that persuades someone to buy something. It covers basic details of the product or service you’re selling, along with the company selling it.

Sales pitches can be formal or informal, and given by any type of company in any industry—from engineering and B2B to fashion and eCommerce.

4 common sales pitch types (with examples)

Since sales pitches can happen anywhere, there are several types of sales pitches you need to be ready for.

For example, conversations over the phone or face-to-face networking usually work well with short and direct pitches like an elevator pitch, as the prospect is unlikely to give you more than a few minutes of their time.

On the other hand, email pitching will be more suitable when you aren’t able to get a prospect on the phone or when you need to follow up after an introduction.

Let’s quickly review the most common sales pitches and best practices on how to execute each one.

Pro-tip

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1. Elevator pitches

These are generally less than a minute in length—ideally, 30 seconds or less. They’re short and sweet, detailing the key purpose and features of your product or service.

Elevator pitches are often used in networking events or sent with connection requests on LinkedIn. Instead of just saying what you do, they tell prospects why you do it – putting you in prime position to generate a lead.

Take a look at this example from Instapage’s blog. Although it’s specific to a design agency, there's some good stuff in here for reps who want to craft their own elevator pitch:

instapage elevator pitch

The agency using this pitch specializes in digital design, but as you can see, it also manages to fit in other offer services that probably bring in significant revenue (digital marketing management and strategies).

When building your own elevator pitch, remember to include a USP (unique selling proposition) to differentiate yourself from the competition.

2. Cold call pitches

You’re probably already familiar with the infamous cold call (aka. calling and pitching a prospect you’ve never communicated with before). Research says it’s an effective way to prospect for leads and customers. The thing is, only a small subset of reps have good cold calling skills.

That’s where being familiar with cold calling best practices can make a difference.

So, try this approach when making your cold call:

  • Open strong, and keep waffling to a minimum. (That could potentially cause your prospects to hang up.)
  • Don’t start your pitch with “Hi, my name is ABC. I wanted to talk to you about our company and its flagship products.” No one likes a hard sell. Instead, take a more conversational approach when you're prospecting. (if you’re looking for a script, check out this blog post.)
  • Respect the prospect’s time. Are they busy at work, do they sound rushed, or telling you they can’t speak right now? See if you can reschedule for another time that’s convenient for them.

3. One-word pitches

This sales pitch is the hardest to perfect. After all, it’s not easy to find a single, powerful word that best describes your company. That said, it may be the most impactful way to make prospects take notice in an era of short attention spans.

So how exactly do you come up with a one-word description for your business?

It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible—brainstorm a word that describes your company’s:

  • Products
  • Objectives or aims
  • Culture
  • Values

For example, here at Copper, we often describe our product as simple and easy-to-use.

If you can find that one-word pitch, it'll give you a launchpad for more detailed messaging in your other marketing materials and sales calls.

Pro-tip: If you need some help, there’s always powerthesaurus.org for finding synonyms that might sound more appealing and unique.

Once you've got your one word, make sure that it's used across your customer-facing communications to make sure it's being communicated consistently to both prospects and customers.

For example, beyond using your one-word pitch as a descriptor of your product in sales calls, you can also use it on the homepage of your website to let prospects know what your company is all about. Another possibility is to use it in a digital media campaign, like MasterCard did with its famed “Priceless” pitch:

mastercard one-word pitch

With the pitch, MasterCard communicated that although money can’t buy happiness, it can be used to pursue other equally romantic rewards like dreams and passions—which are also priceless.

The key is to stamp your message onto prospects’ minds—if they can’t remember anything else about your company, at least they'll be able to recall that one word.

4. Email pitches

Pitching via email is also called a “cold email” when you’ve never communicated with the prospect before.

This cold email from Ryan Robinson landed him a client with a $10,000 per month retainer, showing that it’s an effective sales pitch method that all reps should master:

email pitch example

But with the average office worker receiving about 90 emails per day, your cold email needs to be impressive if you want the sale.

The easiest way to do this is to ace your subject line—it’s the first part of your email pitch that a prospect will see. One idea is to say something positive about the prospect’s company, whether it's about one of their latest product introductions or their recent mentions in the media.

Consider this: “Hey, XYZ—congrats on the new hire” was one of four email subject lines that helped generate $4 million in revenue.

Praise and acknowledgement. People love them.

Pro-tip: The key to making sales pitching work is to master and practice all types of sales pitches. This will ensure you’re never caught off-guard.

Now that we've gone over common sales pitches, let's look at how to write your own pitch.

Writing a sales pitch: a framework

While all the different types of pitches can seem overwhelming, the good news is every sales pitch should follow a basic framework. This means that the initial sales pitch that you create can be rehashed to create another instead of you having to write one from scratch.

For example: You’re likely to introduce yourself when delivering a sales presentation. That same introduction can be re-hashed, along with the key points, to form an elevator pitch—meaning you don't need to rehearse an entirely new pitch.

To do this well, you need a solid understanding of the framework for writing a good pitch.

Here’s how it goes:

How to prepare for a sales pitch

One of the biggest parts of any sales pitch happens before you start selling: you have to spend time doing discovery. Discovery basically means doing a deep dive to learn about what your prospect's current processes and pain points look like.

Here at Copper, we usually talk about two types of pain:

  • Process pain - This is more micro-level. For example, a process pain might be: "Our salespeople can’t see or communicate with each other about their deals, and it's blocking our ability to collaborate."
  • Business pain - What's the ultimate business impact? This might be expressed as: "We’re not being efficient enough with our deals and it’s costing us X dollars every month."

This is especially crucial when you’re going in for the close—understanding the problems you’re trying to solve can help you drive more urgency and immediacy.

You can cater these to each prospect. During our own discovery at Copper, we consider questions like:

  • If our prospect is a SMB... what does a pain point look like for the CEO? Will they have to raise more money because their current sales process is wasting time and/or resources?
  • If we're talking to a VP of Sales... will they have to work 70 hours a week because they don’t have a good CRM? Do they look silly during board meetings because everything’s on spreadsheets and the data’s inaccurate?

Pro-tip: If you can quantify both the business impact and the personal impact and sell to those points, your sales pitch will be much more effective.

Your CRM can be your best friend when it comes to collecting, organizing, quickly accessing, and sharing this treasure trove of information between everyone who needs it.

Look for a CRM that helps you document all research, intel, and interactions with prospects—as well as interactions with different members of your team.

For example, Copper can be used to track and store relevant info about the prospect and their company. Once leads are synced to Copper, you can create notes that list the pain points and interests of each prospect. Your teammates can see the details about each lead, add comments, and follow up on pending tasks through the Activity Log:

copper crm's activity log
Copper’s activity log allows you to see the interactions you had with a lead during the course of your sales cycle.

This saves your team time and effort—instead of going back and forth on lengthy email threads, they can just fire up the CRM to get a high-level overview of what the prospect needs.

How to start a sales pitch:

Follow a consistent flow.

When you have a set structure for your sales pitches, it creates consistency and reliability across your entire sales team. This makes it much easier to track and identify what’s working and what isn’t, so you can constantly tweak the process until you hit gold.

Here’s one way to structure the flow of your sales pitch:

  1. Give a brief introduction to yourself and your company.
  2. Define the problem or need that your customers—and this specific prospect—are facing.
  3. Explain your company’s end goal of solving the problem, and how your product helps solve it. Include supporting elements like:
    • Data and stats to back up your claims and confirm the need for your product
    • Infographics, pie charts, and graphs that illustrate this data
    • Images and diagrams that can enhance the explanation of your offering
    • Case studies of similar prospects who’ve seen success from using your product or service
  4. Tell the prospect what to do next (more on this below) with an actionable CTA.

Use a sales deck with stats, visuals, and case studies.

Your sales deck has massive power to convey what your company is all about, while smoothly and consistently directing the pitch flow that’s laid out above.

Part of the reason a sales deck so effective is that visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than text. And according to the picture superiority effect, images are more easily remembered than text.

Plus, they help to build credibility and trust, which helps when you’re trying to close a new prospect.

In addition to telling your company’s story, your sales deck should also prove that what you’re selling has worked before. If someone else in a similar situation to you has purchased a product that’s solved a pain point you share, wouldn’t you want to try it?

Reddit does this brilliantly by showcasing the growth in its monthly pageviews in an engaging sales deck:

More on how to build a sales deck here.

Ask questions and be prepared to pivot.

Everyone knows you should ask questions. They can help you learn how to improve your pitch in the future and tailor each sales pitch to the person you’re delivering it to.

But what nobody tells you is this: when asking questions, you need to be prepared to pivot.

If I asked, “How many leads are you currently getting each month?”, my follow-up response would differ if your answer is “zero” or “50+.”

If you can pivot your pitch effectively—and sustain a conversation after a prospect has answered your question—you can further personalize the speech you're delivering.

How to end a sales pitch:

Provide an actionable CTA.

As I mentioned above, your pitch should have an actionable CTA.

What’s the ideal next step of the sales funnel? Maybe it’s signing up for a demo or scheduling a qualifying call.

Whatever you want your prospect to do, use clear action words like:

  • Register
  • Sign-Up
  • Schedule
  • Call
  • Download
  • Buy/Order
  • Click here for

It also helps to add a sense of urgency or exclusivity, depending on your offering and the timing of the pitch. You might say something like, “Through September 30, we’re doubling the free trial period. If you sign up now, you’ll get 60 days instead of 30.”

Don’t forget to follow up.

In an ideal world, all of your prospects will be enamored by your offering and do whatever you ask, when you ask it.

In the real world, most of your pitches will require thoughtful and well-timed follow-ups.

Your CRM is a great resource for this. If you can use it to its full potential, it can be used to store all the information you need to craft a follow-up that directly references the original pitch and any pertinent details about the prospect and their company.

This includes information like:

  • The date of the pitch and/or last communication
  • Any unique details about the pitch or offer based on the prospect’s needs
  • Detailed notes about the prospect and their company
  • Interest level and to-dos to reinforce value

In Copper, you can use Workflow Automation to ensure that every task is pre-scheduled and even executed automatically.

How it works: Workflow Automation uses if/then statements to automatically create tasks and perform certain actions within your company’s account.

For example, you can create an automated workflow that sends relevant reps a follow-up reminder after two weeks from the pitch date. Another workflow could automatically move a prospect into a different stage of your pipeline once a rep completes the initial pitch.

Now, let’s look at the nuances of delivering the pitch.

Delivery is just as important as creation.

Writing a good sales pitch isn’t enough.

People want personal relationships with brands before they become customers, which means the delivery of your sales pitch is just as—if not more—important than what you’re actually pitching.

So, put some thought into how you’re delivering your sales pitch.

The body language you use, the personality you express, and the stories you tell all play a role in building those all-important personal connections with the people you’re selling to.

Here are a couple of tips for that extra oomph in your pitch.

Build your pitch around a story.

Is your goal to see direct sales from your pitch? Building your entire pitch around a story could be the boost you need.

That’s because storytelling is proven to boost sales. Stories have a strong impact on our brains and thought processes, and proving that your brand is relatable through a unique story is a fantastic way to humanize your sales pitch.

So, center your pitch around a story that happened to you—it could be either a personal or business-related story.

Did your founder or CEO create the company to solve a problem they were experiencing? Has another company’s VP of Sales praised your product?

Whatever story you’ve got to tell, featuring it in your speech is a differentiating sales pitch idea that sets you apart from competitors.

(Bonus points if your story relates directly to your prospect’s pain point.)

Don’t be afraid to inject some personality.

Although some people prefer sales pitches that are 30+ minutes in length, you run the risk of losing a prospect’s attention if you're talking about your product or services for too long.

To keep your listener’s attention, try injecting personality into your pitch. Humanize your brand (and prove there’s a real person behind your speech!) by:

  • Telling jokes or otherwise creating a comfortable and engaging mood
  • Bringing prospects into the conversation and coming up with solutions together
  • Telling stories (about yourself—not the brand)

So many sales teams are overly cautious about showcasing too much of themselves in their pitches, which is funny, because it’s easier to get your customers to remember you if you show personality.

Remember, you’re one of a kind. Nobody can tell your story like you can.

Case study: One of my favorite elevator pitches

One of the best elevator pitches I’ve ever seen comes from G2, a popular software review site. It goes like this:

“G2is the user voice platform for people to be able to say what they actually think about software, and not be told by the analysts or people who don’t use it, or the reference from your best customers. They actually hear it directly from the user and engage with people who actually use the product.”

Of course, sales pitches can vary dramatically. Whether you’re focused on building rapport or using proven sales techniques to influence a sale, no pitch is the same.

But you should definitely try to cover a few bases, which this pitch does successfully.

Here’s what makes it so great:

1. It’s short and direct.

The average human has an attention span of 12 seconds—you’ll need to make sure your prospect is engaged and entertained to stand any chance at making a sale.

That’s why this elevator pitch is awesome. Valuing its prospect’s time and keeping the sales pitch short and direct, it lasts just 17 seconds.

The salesperson delivering the speech also opens with a strong statement, nailing what G2 product is and who it’s for.

That’s key for any type of business.

2. It replicates customer language.

This sales pitch also replicates the language that its typical customer would use.

Instead of rolling a ton of jargon through the sales pitch (like “generate” or “game-changer”—proven to be the most-hated office jargon), the salesperson is more focused on relating to the prospect.

Phrases like “say what they think” and “people who actually use the product” use common language that is used in everyday life.

What does that mean? In short: The prospect can relate to the person delivering the pitch. They feel connected, which leads to trust: a well-known factor in buying decisions.

3. It lists the potential customer's pain points.

After opening their pitch, the salesperson doesn’t waste any time with listing their prospect’s pain points: the key dilemmas they’re facing before handing over their cash.

In G2’s elevator pitch, the main pain point of their potential customer is finding reliable software reviews that aren’t influenced by other people. Instead, they hear it directly from users.

Notice how those three points bulk up the majority of their entire pitch?

Demonstrating that you understand (and can solve) a potential customer’s pain point is a great way to boost trust and reliability—something only 13% of consumers admit they experience.

Not being afraid to go the full hog with your pain point knowledge is key if you want to create one of the best sales pitches out there.

4. It addresses the prospect’s end goal.

An effective sales pitch also references the prospect’s end goal. In this example, that’s to find trustworthy reviews (here's how to get more customer reviews) of the software they’re looking into by other people who actually use it.

This end goal sums up the sales pitch nicely and proves the company delivering it is different from their competitors, which is critical at this point in the sales process.

Plus, conveying this understanding to a prospect helps with relatability. If you’re able to clearly explain that you understand the dilemma they’re struggling with—and the aim they’re trying to achieve—why wouldn’t they trust you to solve it for them?

You’re proving you understand them to a T, after all.

Perfect your sales pitch.

Building a sales pitch that sells takes time, effort, and persistence.

And there’s no better time to start than now.

Start by using the framework we’ve shared and tips for crafting a relevant pitches that really focus on the needs of your prospects.

You’ll soon be delivering incredible sales pitches, each and every time.