Any good story is built on a foundation that consists of three critical layers: the exposition, anecdote, and moment of reflection. And an effective sales pitch utilizes a good story to enhance the connection between presenter and audience, salesperson and company leader. In fact, a recent study found that the addition of a story with a product description amplified the perceived value of the product and increased sales. Although all three of the story components are important to a sales pitch, the moment of reflection is quite possibly the most important. According to This American Life’s Ira Glass, the moment of reflection is one of the two most vital parts of a great story – along with the anecdote. The moment of reflection sums up the main message; the primary reason the story and presentation matter. Typically, a sales pitch will include a strong opening, a solution, supporting evidence, and a call to action. Where does the moment of reflection find its place within the pitch? Here are 3 ways to strengthen the moment in your next sales pitch:
1. A pitch purpose
It goes without saying that you should set the purpose of the pitch in stone before creating the rest of your content. Incorporate a mention of the purpose at the beginning of your pitch and construct it in a manner that illustrates the benefit and impact of your product or service. For example, if you are an industrial parts salesperson pitching to an automotive company. The purpose of your pitch might be the following:
“With our business, you’ll receive the parts you need quickly and efficiently – up to 5x faster than your current receipt times.”
From the start, you tell the audience what you are ultimately there to accomplish. First, you conveyed the benefit (getting the product faster). Then, you conveyed the impact (5x faster receipt times).
2. A cohesive anecdote
From the purpose, the sales pitch should establish an anecdote. Ira Glass describes the anecdote as the series of events and actions that moves the story forward and curates questions for the audience to ponder. Anecdotes can be used humorously, honestly, and descriptively. For example, the industrial parts salesperson could relay a personal anecdote like the following example:
“My mom always told me that I have been running full speed ahead since I was baby. She said I wasted no time crawling. Just stood up and ran around the house all day. A car wreck threatened to take my ability to move when I was 14. The doctors said I might never walk again. It took two long years of constant practice and training and a ton of support to get me back on my feet. And I have been running ever since.”
A personal anecdote may not always be appropriate for a sales pitch. Try using a consumer or client story to feature the benefit and impact of your product or illustrate how your company found a pain point and provided a solution. Be extra descriptive if your anecdote focuses on a character that isn’t in the room. Above all, ensure that you are speaking with the audience, not to them. According to a recent Edutopia article, Paolo Freire, an educator from Brazil, discussed the importance of conscientization in the reflection process in his book. The concept involves the exchange of ideas between you and your audience and the intended result of reaching a moment of reflection through dialogue. An anecdote is the best way to create an environment conducive to a monumental moment of reflection that both the salesperson and automotive company representatives can reach together.
3. A connected call to action
Did you know that 85% of sales interactions fail to conclude with an ask for the actual sale? To carry the moment through to the end, craft a call to action that ties the moment of reflection with the steps you want the audience to take. A sample call to action that succinctly connects the purpose, anecdote, and moment of reflection might look something like this:
“That’s what attracted me to ABC Company. It’s dedication and pursuit of progress. Our company hits the ground running every day for our customers and yours. Lace up your shoes and join ABC Company in the journey to a better me, a better you, a better us. Would you like to do business with us today?”
By employing a moment of reflection within a sales pitch, salespeople not only maximize their credibility, but they also humanize themselves and their brand – a necessary skill in today’s business climate. For more information about storytelling elements and their impact on sales, check out the following links: