Can You be Authentic in a Sales Pitch?

When you're in sales, you must connect with the audience you're pitching . Make it a meaningful experience

We help clients craft a meaningful presentation—everything from a global sales presentation to an industry keynote—by emphasizing the need to connect with the audience and bring value to everyone who attends.

Can this be done with a sales pitch? You bet.

We often find that sales and business development professionals are on the cutting edge of this kind of high-impact engagement. Those who are able to sincerely connect with their audience find themselves at the top of their professions. Those who believe they’re in a pitch fest will struggle in their careers and eventually fade away.

Give away value

Today, may consultants and solo-preneurs begin the business development process by giving a workshop or talk for free. The thinking is to allow the audience to sample your services — to give listeners so many great ideas that they will be eager to consult with you about the presumably even greater stuff that you didn’t share.

The audience knows there will be a call to action: a book for sale at the back of the room; a discount on a package of consulting hours; an online course or something else. This is an accepted part of the model.

However, when the free workshop is delivered with a hard sell, listeners know immediately that you are not sincere about bringing value. They feel as though they were promised a weekend at the beach only to find they had to sit through a timeshare presentation—without the beach!  

Here’s an example of a pitch gone wrong

Bradley was a social media consultant who came to Interact Studio to practice a presentation on the value of including a social media strategy in one’s marketing plan. Bradley had planned an Open House to engage new prospects, and we found his material to be hollow. It was devoid of real value or takeaways.  

He wanted to speak about the end-game benefits without offering real examples or insights.  

When I suggested to Bradley that he add some tangible nuggets, he said “I don’t want to give away my worth—otherwise, why would they need me?”  

I explained that without bringing value, listeners would see that it was all about him, when it needed to be all about the audience. They would neither trust him nor consider his services.

Unfortunately I couldn’t convince Bradley. After his event he called to say he was disappointed with the outcome, since no one would commit to second meeting after the talk.  “Next time I’ll do it differently,” he said, “I guess I’ve got to give away something to earn a real conversation with prospects.”

Bradley learned the hard way not to worry about some people walking way with a lot of valuable information that they didn’t pay for. Next time he gives his pitch, let’s hope some of the audience walks away with Bradley as their new social media consultant.

If we can assist you with an upcoming pitch or presentation, please reach out

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Avatar for Lou Solomon

Lou Solomon

Lou Solomon is the founder of Interact. She is a TEDx speaker and a member of the adjunct faculty at the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte. Her articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur.com, CEO.com, and Fast Company.