Pitching to clients can be unpredictable – you never know what they’re going to say, how they will respond or the way your pitch is going to land upon them. That’s OK – focusing on what we cannot control will not give us answers or help us in that moment. So what can we do when things get unexpected during a client pitch?
# 1 Breath! Yes – take a deep breath and lower your heart rate. No client or audience wants to see a nervous sales executive in front of them. Nervous sales executives give the impression that they are unconfident, incompetent, unwilling, unprepared, unreliable… (The list can continue for a long time….)
#2 Make eye contact! Yes – look at the client in the eye to show that you are willing to communicate and engage with them. Think about how untrustworthy people’s eyes move when you are engaged in a dialog with them – let’s not give clients the feeling that we are not trustworthy. And apart from eye contact, it helps to have a slight smile, a relaxed expression on your face.
#3 Ask a question! Yes – sometimes, we don’t know what to say, how to respond or how to handle the situation. The best way to not get trapped is to ask a question back to them. For example, you can ask them to further explain or clarify what they have just said to you. When you ask a question, you force yourself to not speak and get an opportunity to listen. This moment is precious! Listen carefully to what the client is saying. What they tell you is valuable information on what they are thinking and feeling. What they say to you may give you clues as to how you could better serve them or address their concerns. Moreover, when they speak, you get more time to think and less time to say the wrong things!
I always tell people that when we pitch to clients, it is like the Final Exam we got in school. But this exam has only 1 company passing, and all others failing. The clients are interviewing you to determine if you are the right partner for them in the future.
Stay tuned to our next blog to see how else we can pitch better to an international audience…