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Updated Jul 10, 2024

Sell Yourself: 7 Secrets to Appearing Confident During a Sales Pitch

For some people confidence isn't something that comes easily. We have provided the following steps to help foster confidence in sales.

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Written By: Julie ThompsonSenior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
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Pitching a sale can occur anywhere, be it from your office, during a business meeting, over a casual meal out, or even through a virtual Zoom call. Confidence is a crucial factor that can decide whether you secure a deal or lose it, regardless of whether it’s a one-on-one discussion or a group presentation. 

A sales pitch often serves as your business’s initial contact with a potential customer. It can be highly beneficial to research your client in advance to quickly address their worries. Seize this chance to not only promote your business beyond what your website or marketing emails say, but also to educate them further. The most effective pitches are the ones that solve an issue for your client. It’s crucial to clearly express that your product or service is the ultimate solution by answering their questions and understanding their business needs. 

If you’ve noticed that your sales pitches are falling flat, check out our seven top tips for building confidence. Find out if your go-to moves are turning off clients and how to make corrections so you can close the deal.

How to appear confident during a sales pitch

1. Practice

Practicing consistently brings about a sense of familiarity and comfort. Whether you’re getting ready for your very first public performance, planning to propose to a loved one, or advocating for additional vacation days at work, regular practice makes these tasks more manageable. There’s wisdom in the saying “Practice makes perfect.” Even if perfection isn’t your goal, practicing regularly will undoubtedly improve your skills. 

Since humans first roamed the earth, practicing a skill or task has been vital for survival, mastering a craft, promoting oneself and earning a livelihood. Exceptional communication skills aren’t innate for most of us, they’re learned over time. And, the key to this learning is practice. If you want to come across as confident during business pitches, you need to practice continuously.  

It’s crucial to remember that practice involves making mistakes. Practice isn’t about achieving perfection— it’s about improvement and growth, which often involves failing and learning from those failures. When you’re delivering business pitches, allow yourself the space to stumble. There’s a certain authenticity and sincerity in acknowledging our human flaws, traits that can make your pitches more appealing. Remember to be kind to yourself when you make mistakes and utilize these instances as learning opportunities. At the end of the day, remember that practice might not make perfect, but it surely brings us closer to it. 

2. Persistence

Staying determined is a crucial aspect of conveying confidence during a sales conversation. By being steady and resolved, you display your commitment and resilience, showing you’re not someone who backs out easily. You’re motivated and prepared to do whatever it takes to bring about results. Even if sometimes, you have to fake your determination, it’s still a worthy quality, as long as it’s not too forceful. 

 React to your client’s responses with supporting data and queries to show how valuable your product is. Promote it with confidence. Persistence can be a powerful tool to satisfy your desires by assisting others in achieving theirs. The essential aspect here is to help your potential clients recognize their needs by providing them with insights. 

Assure them of the need for your product and explain its benefits. Be relentless in your approach – ask questions, share facts, maintain eye contact, offer helpful information and demonstrate personalized care. These will all help you in building a trustworthy relationship.  

3. Pride

Being proud of the products you sell is a serious factor in confidence. If you believe in what you are trying to sell, and stand behind every word of your sales pitch, you are more likely to make others feel the same. People are people, regardless of your products, and they have some of the best nonsense detectors built into them. How do you expect them to gain interest if you are faking your way through your sales pitch because you are disinterested?

4. Smile

Remember, a smile can make the difference in making your business welcoming. Keep a balance between professionalism and being approachable. Nobody wants to purchase from a business where the owner seems uninterested. Potential customers are more likely to engage with you if they feel they are talking with a real person, not just another business owner. 

True, your income depends on the sales you make, but don’t let that become your reason to push a sale haphazardly. 

When communicating, be alive with expressions. Even if it feels exaggerated, hand gestures, wide-eyed enthusiasm and animated discussions bring a vibrant, positive energy to a conversation. Speaking to someone while standing still, maintaining a rigid expression, is not the best way to demonstrate your confidence while pitching your products. 

It’s true. Everyone knows whether or not you make a sale directly affects how much money you take home that day, but that cannot be your continual excuse to fudge your way through sale after sale.

5. Body language

Pay attention to your body language during a sales pitch. According to Shapiro Negotiations, “The best sales negotiators are the people who listen effectively.” And by listening, we mean more than just words. What your body says – and especially what your client’s body is saying – should be an indicator for your next step. For example, did your customer raise their eyebrows at a particular comment you made or lift their chin? These are signs of interest and you’ve got their attention.

Beyond just the body language, ensure you are tuning into any verbal cues. Your ability to identify their interest or disinterest and respond effectively shows you are both prepared and confident. Additionally, it will give your client a chance to trust you, which is typically one of the first and most important steps in making a sale.

6. Storytelling

Storytelling is essential for connecting with your audience. Stories have a beginning, middle and end. Whether we are reading or watching them, a good story engages our attention in its entirety.

Storytelling can help the client identify pain points, failures and successes. Clients will “lean in” as you role play relatable characters and situations. Then you finish with an arc that offers a must-have solution.

Researching clients before each pitch can also help you personalize the story. For example, include people in their inner circle, a challenge they had to work through or how their success story could look by using your product or service.

Did You Know?Did you know
A consultative selling approach builds a relationship with the client's pre-sales pitch by listening to their needs and gaining trust. After creating a connection, the salesperson personalizes a product or service. Consultative selling puts the client's needs above the sale and garners authentic business relationships.

7. Uniqueness

Business leaders frequently listen to a variety of sales pitches. You must stand out from the crowd if you want them to listen to your pitch.

Engage emotionally with your audience, whether through humor or empathy, to help break the ice.

Try using the 60-second method. Craft a concise elevator pitch that provides a sales pitch overview. Then, pause for a moment to gauge their interest. Pausing can help calm nerves, keep you focused on the end goal and allow client interaction.

Advice from the pros

Mastering the sales pitch involves understanding the product or service’s value, not just the product or service itself. Therefore, confidently communicating involves not only persuasiveness but active listening.

If you are missing opportunities or lacking sales, check out the following sales pitch mistakes that could hinder your success.

Talk less; listen more.

You may believe getting every last detail of your sales pitch out is the most important goal, but finishing your pitch shouldn’t be your end game.

Most sales pitches fail because the speaker is doing all the talking and not listening. A failure to listen prevents connection – whether the meeting is in person or virtual.

Don’t plan your next move. Be present. A good salesperson is an active listener, so they can adapt to the client’s custom needs and provide solutions, not just noise.

Ditch the robot.

When presenting a sales pitch, put yourself in the client’s shoes. You only get one shot to make an excellent first impression. But, if they are learning about your company, product or service, do they need an in-depth presentation or a brief overview so they can ask questions?

Most of the time, engaging a client takes a conversation, not a presentation. Focus less on the details and more on active listening. The client is more likely to follow along if you include them in the presentation, rather than just talking at them.

Use storytelling to connect with your listeners; don’t overwhelm your customers with too many points. Be open to their questions during the pitch and be transparent with your answers. Trust is an integral part of sealing the deal.

TipBottom line
Clients care less about the features of your product or service and more about the benefits. Don't bury this within your sales pitch, or you'll lose your audience. Open with how your company can meet their needs so your client will see why you are so passionate.

Do your research.

It’s wise to research clients that you will be pitching to. Don’t waste time pitching to a client that doesn’t require your product or service.

The research applies to one-on-one pitches, virtual sales presentations and cold leads. First, do your homework to ensure your potential clients have a problem you can solve. Then, tailor your sales pitch to meet their needs.

Love your company. Love your client more.

Passion for your product or service is essential. However, no matter how much enthusiasm you put behind it, your ego can sometimes get in the way. When you put everything behind your product or service, you expect everyone else to do the same. But that won’t always happen. No one closes a sale 100% of the time – no matter what your product or service provides.

When a sales pitch doesn’t go your way, don’t blame the client for missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Instead, look at your product, service and sales pitch to see how you can improve.

Constructive criticism can be hard to swallow, but it will make you a better salesperson and help your company grow. Focus on the relationship. You may not always make a sale, but the ability to go back to the client when you have a new pitch is priceless.

Provide the next steps.

A sales pitch can’t be successful without a call to action (CTA). Unfortunately, while CTAs are prominent on landing pages, social media posts and email newsletters, inexperienced salespeople often forget that they must lead a conversation to the next step.

Once a client is interested in your pitch, clearly tell them what to do next. For example, whether they need to know how to contact you, access services directly or request a sample product, give the client the information at the end of the pitch. Providing the next steps keeps the client engaged and helps you follow up appropriately.

To have a successful business, you must learn to sell your product or service. You will constantly need new and repeat clients for your business to thrive. Mastering the sales pitch will help create your dream business. So be an active listener and encourage constructive criticism to improve and nurture more profound relationships. The more trust you can build with your clients, the easier it will be to engage them in a conversation that leads to a successful – and repeated – deal.

Additional reporting by Carol Evenson.

author image
Written By: Julie ThompsonSenior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
With nearly two decades of experience under her belt, Julie Thompson is a seasoned B2B professional dedicated to enhancing business performance through strategic sales, marketing and operational initiatives. Her extensive portfolio boasts achievements in crafting brand standards, devising innovative marketing strategies, driving successful email campaigns and orchestrating impactful media outreach. Thompson's proficiency extends to Salesforce administration, database management and lead generation, reflecting her versatile skill set and hands-on approach to business enhancement. Through easily digestible guides, she demystifies complex topics such as SaaS technology, finance trends, HR practices and effective marketing and branding strategies. Moreover, Thompson's commitment to fostering global entrepreneurship is evident through her contributions to Kiva, an organization dedicated to supporting small businesses in underserved communities worldwide.
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