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From getting a raise to pitching a product, Daniel Pink offers unparalleled expertise. Daniel’s research and writing, which focuses on behavioral and social sciences, has cemented his place among the world’s most influential management thinkers. Learn how to craft a perfect sales pitch with these essential pitching tips from the best-selling author and sales expert.

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What Is a Sales Pitch?

A sales pitch is a persuasive argument that a salesperson uses to initiate and close the sale of a good or service. There are a wide variety of sales pitches—from an “elevator pitch” (a short sales pitch no longer than 20 or 30 seconds, or the length of a short elevator ride) to a rhyming jingle. A sales pitch can be oral or include visual aids set to music, can be formal or informal, and as short as 20 seconds or last as long as an hour. A good sales pitch should be clear, concise, persuasive, and attention-grabbing, highlighting your company’s value and the product or service you sell.

Daniel Pink’s 6 Tips for Crafting a Perfect Sales Pitch

If you’re ready to craft an effective sales pitch, check out some of Daniel Pink’s tips for aspiring sales reps:

  1. Throw out antiquated notions. According to Daniel, the conventional notion of an effective pitch—you do a special song and dance, the investor whips out their checkbook—is pretty antiquated. Rather than serve as a simple one-sided conversation, modern sales pitches should “invite the other side in as a collaborator,” Daniel says. Approach the pitch as a sales conversation instead of a sales presentation: Ask questions, determine where your potential buyer is coming from, and pivot accordingly, following the natural progression of the discussion to make a sale.
  2. Apply good sales techniques. Crafting an effective pitch is like making any other sale. When preparing a pitch, you have to find common ground with the buyer, invite them to collaborate, and show how their interests are served by agreeing to the deal’s terms. Use all of the key elements of good sales techniques in your arsenal to craft a winning sales pitch.
  3. Make use of persuasive framing. Persuasive framing allows you to contextualize a sale on the terms you set, which means you recognize and direct the certain cognitive biases your potential customers will hold when listening to your pitch. These cognitive biases include loss aversion, opportunity cost, and experiential value, according to Daniel. To employ a persuasive frame, try one of these three frame approaches: the experience frame, the potential frame, or the loss frame. The experience frame draws on people’s tendency to value experiences over goods and services (e.g., in attempting to sell someone a house, sell them on the experiences made possible by home ownership rather than the property itself). The potential frame embraces how potential is often more persuasive than current performance (e.g., when going for a promotion, you tell a boss all the ways you’d succeed in the new role instead of listing ways you’re competent in your current role). Finally, the loss frame contextualizes a sale around what the buyer stands to lose if they don’t hit the bid. Selling someone insurance is a good example of this frame.
  4. Try out a question pitch. A question pitch is a pitch that you frame as a powerful interrogative rather than a declarative statement. For example, transforming, “I have the world’s greatest carbon monoxide detector” into “How much is it worth to you to protect your family?” Asking a question, especially as your opening line, can be a very successful sales pitch because it immediately attracts your prospect’s attention and gets them involved by inviting a response. This response provides an effective way to start a conversation around your product or service.
  5. Try a rhyming pitch. Despite seeming outdated, a rhyming pitch remains a persuasive method for selling a good or service because we are primed to be pleased by this device from an early age. While you don’t want to overuse this device in your pitch, deploying the occasional rhyme can be a powerful tool to hook your target audience.
  6. Embrace improvisation. In the old-school approach to sales, you’d likely be reciting a mental script to your prospective clients. But, like the overall role of the persuader, this facet of sales has changed with the rise of information parity. Buyers or prospective clients may have questions lined up for you, and they may know enough about your product to push back against your claims. Be ready to improvise. Rather than a simple “yes” in response to a comment, question, or concern, Daniel recommends saying, “Yes, and…” Use this response as a connector, bringing you and the person you’re attempting to persuade closer together. You can even use this phrase to disagree with their claims without seeming too confrontational. For example, “Yes, I see what you mean, and here’s how I’d like you to see it…”
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