Do you cringe at the idea of sales pitch feedback? Do you avoid commentary regarding your sales skills because you’re scared what you’ll find out?
Imagine how stand up comedians feel. There is no sales pitch harder than being a stand up comic, and the greats don’t get to where they are with luck. They put in hard hours practicing, getting feedback, and practicing again.
So how do they do it? Everyone has a different style that works for them.
One comedian explained in a Quora article, “Generally speaking, we practice on stage. That’s the only place you can really get a gauge on how good any given piece of material is.” He also said, “Everyone works differently. There are some comics I know who would never say a word on stage if they haven’t run it past their girlfriend/boyfriend.”
Just like in comedy, sales pitch feedback is some of the most valuable information you can collect to improve your craft. If you’re following the right collection methods and engaging the right groups of people, getting feedback about your performance can be an incredibly valuable experience. If you’re not getting feedback, you’re not improving.
To help you jump in and embrace the process of critiquing your own sales pitch, we’ve outlined the top three ways collect sales pitch feedback.
1. Sales Coaching from Coworkers and Managers
A great place to start looking for sales pitch feedback is right at work. Think about a stand up coming testing their jokes out first on a group of fellow comedians. They know the industry, and they know what works.
As a sales professional, team members, other sales reps and sales leadership are a good place to start for a valuable critique on your skills.
Get started collecting feedback with the following ideas:
- Record yourself. Record yourself presenting so you can see where you accel and where you need improvement. Also since it’s already recorded, pass it on to a few teammates or leadership to watch. For a more practiced approach you can record yourself alone giving the pitch in a hypothetical situation. For a more natural setting you can record yourself on the phone or in person with a real client, just make sure to inform the client what you’re working on. After you’ve recorded the pitch, distribute the video to key sales professionals and leaders in your organization for feedback.
- Try live role playing. You can also try role playing with someone in your sales organization. Find a time when several people are available and setup the scenario with your fake client. Recruiting an audience of extra members watching the exchange is a smart way to get immediate insights.
- Utilize your actual customer exchanges. Possibly the best opportunity for feedback is your customer. Invite a fellow sales rep or your sales manager to your next client appointment or phone call. Have them to listen to your natural process, and then have a sit down afterwards to see what they thought.
It’s important to leverage your team members and managers for feedback because they have the most knowledge about your sales organization and how it’s supposed to function.
Their sales pitch critique will incorporate their knowledge of the industry, their experiences, and the mission of the organization. Successful team members or leaders will most likely also have valuable suggestions based on their own experiences with industry accounts.
In other words, if your jokes stink, these people may be able to help get you back on track.
2. Looking Outside Your Organization for Sales Pitch Feedback
While looking internally to coworkers and leadership can provide valuable insights from within your industry, looking outside for a fresh perspective is just as important. If you’re the comedian that has to run every line by their significant other before jumping on stage, these are your people.
Utilizing family, friends, and mentors, and professional coaches for feedback is another great way to get insight on the quality of your sales pitch. You can use similar methods to how you approached coworkers, but slightly adjusted.
Does it matter if they have absolutely no idea what you do? That’s probably even better. You need to simplify your message so even your grandma can understand.
The type of information you’ll collect from friends and family will be different than your peers at work. They won’t have the same industry knowledge as your coworkers, so feedback will be focused on style and specifically when they felt lost.
The following questions are a good way to start getting sales pitch feedback from family and friends:
- Was the sales pitch clear?
- Did they have a good understanding of what product or service you provide after the pitch?
- Do they have a good understanding of your organization after the pitch?
- What your sales pitch interesting?
- Did the pitch capture their attention?
- What did they think of the sales pitch length and tone?
- What lingering questions do they have?
- Did you feel lost at any point?
Leveraging family and friends will provide a fresh outsider perspective on your sales pitch skills. While coworkers and sales leaders within your organization might focus on the product or services, family and friends can provide valuable insights into your tone and overall approach.
3. Analyzing Your Own Sales Pitch
The last person you should consult with about your sales pitch critique is yourself. It’s difficult to watch ourselves on video or listen to a recording of our voice, but these activities provide an opportunity for true introspective analysis.
Successful comedians use themselves as sounding boards all the time. One comedian explained in an online response, “In Los Angeles I would sit in my car and say repeat everything over and over again out loud.”
Just don’t rely too much on yourself. Incorporate some technology too.
Why? Because the mind has a funny way of playing tricks on us. We often only remember the highlight reel. Kind of like singing in the shower, we usually think we sound way better than we actually do.
Because of this, it’s not enough to rely on your idea of what you think happened. You need to watch and hear actual footage. You need to review your own game tapes.
Whether it’s a video recording from a meeting, or just a audio recording from a phone call, watching and listening to the actual conversation is a key component of your sales pitch feedback process.
What sort of things should you look for in your sales pitch game tapes?
- Am I someone I would buy from?
- How did I sound?
- What was my tone like?
- Did I cover the main selling points I thought I did?
- What non-verbal queues did I project?
- What types of questions should I expect from a client?
- What was the biggest thing I missed?
- Where could I have done better?
Put together a regular set of questions so you can collect data and review trends over time.
Even though getting feedback can seem like a hassle, don’t expect yourself to hit the big stage and be an immediate hit. Practice your craft, get feedback, and then practice again.
Do you have other ways you’ve successfully critiqued your own sales pitch? We’d love to hear about what tactics you’ve used, what groups of people you’ve engaged, and what types of insights you’ve discovered.