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In 2005, I flew to Atlanta, Georgia to attend a three day executive sales training seminar on how to sell to C Level executives. C Level executives refer to a company’s CEO, CFO, CTO, CIO, etc. They are the decision makers and top leaders in every company.

The course was offered by Vass Executive Sales Training. I had heard about Vass Training from some top commercial real estate brokers who had attended the seminar. I pride myself on being a life-long learner and I have regularly have invested in my education. If memory serves me correctly, I think I spent about $3,000 (flight, hotel, tuition, etc).

Our moderator’s name was Iris Herrin, who was excellent. The very first exercise she gave us was to develop a one minute commercial about our company and services in 20 minutes.

There were about 15 others in the group. My commercial was full of sincerity. But unfortunately for me, and everyone else, we failed. Why? We all said the same basic things. We all talked about the features of our services but none of the benefits. We all sounded alike.

Here are the 5 Musts you need to make the perfect pitch!

You 1) Must 2) Must 3) Must 4) Must and 5) Must sound different!

Iris Herrin and Jerry Vass have trained thousands of executives and salespeople. They have sat through countless presentations and pitches. The feedback they constantly get from executives around the country is that every presentation sounds the same.

What is your unique sales voice? How will you sound different and separate yourself from the thundering herd that is your competition?

If you don’t think we all sound the same, see if any of the statements on the left sound like something you said in your last pitch. Below in ALL CAPS is what most executives are probably thinking in response.

“We pride ourselves on giving our clients personal service.”
I WONDER WHAT THAT MEANS?

“Our company really cares about our clients.”                                         GEE, THAT’S NICE…BUT CAN YOU PERFORM?

“No other company can perform like we do.”                                             I’M GETTING SLEEPY!

“We will save you time and money by using our services / product.”
I AM SO GLAD; I WAS AFRAID I WOULD BE SPENDING MORE TIME AND LOSE MONEY IF I HIRED YOU!

“We really want your business.”
NO KIDDING? THAT IS A RELIEF. I WAS AFRAID YOU WERE HERE TO STEAL MY WATCH!

Does any of this sound like part of your pitch?

This is a worthwhile process to go through. Find out what is unique about you and the firm you represent. What makes you different? And be sure to validate the claims you make. Tell them how you will save them money and how much. Everyone wants the business. You are clearly qualified or else you wouldn’t be in the meeting in the first place.

Don’t make the #1 mistake salespeople make during a presentation: don’t sound like everyone else!

You must, must, must, must, must sound different!

Final note: My main motivation for attending was to try to become more proficient in my presentation skills. However, I had a second motive. I knew that Vass had trained many of the top commercial real estate brokers in the country and I was planning on doing some covert research on what the best of the best were doing. Of course, the Vass organization is very professional and they did not reveal any of their other client’s secret sauce to me. But I did meet another broker from Boston at the seminar and he taught me one technique that immediately resulted in boosting my income substantially. As the guru Forrest Gump said, “….you never know what you’re gonna get!”

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