Traditionally, a sales pitch is defined as “a talk or a way of talking that is intended to persuade you to buy something.” But here’s the thing. People don’t like to be sold to — our brains are actually wired to resist sales messages.
We argue that a sales pitch shouldn’t be about persuading a prospect to buy: instead, use a sales pitch to persuade the prospect to take the next step in the sales process.
What is a sales pitch?
A sales pitch is a message or script designed to lead your audience to a certain action, such as an appointment or demo. It can be formal or informal, verbal or written down. A sales pitch sets the tone for the entire customer relationship.
A good sales pitch is concise and provides value to the recipient. Use it to begin a conversation, not to sell to the prospect.
The term encompasses many different types of pitches:
- One-line sales pitch
- Elevator pitch
- Phone sales pitch
- Email sales pitch
- Social media pitch
- Presentation sales pitch
- Follow-up sales pitch
You can use a combination of sales pitches on the same prospect. For example, you might give an elevator pitch at a conference and send an email pitch to a prospect before finally giving a comprehensive presentation pitch.
A typical sales pitch framework
Whatever the situation, the following framework can work for any pitch:
- Problem. Lead with the problem that your audience is struggling with like Zuora’s sales deck. Back up your claims with data and statistics such as “Insurtech has risen 45% over the past five years, impacting how smaller insurance agencies do business.”
- Solution. Detail what needs to happen to overcome the above challenge.
- Value Proposition. What can your product or service offer the prospect? Share benefits not features.
- Facts & Data. Include social proof and actual numbers of how your product or service has helped similar businesses.
- Engaging Question/CTA. Encourage a conversation by asking a question. Also, move the audience to the next step with a clear Call to Action such as “Let me know if you're interested and we can get on the phone this week.”
While our brains are designed to resist selling, they are actually receptive to stories. Whether you are pitching to a prospect in person, via email, or over the phone, ground the pitch in an interesting narrative.
7 proven sales pitch examples
Although each of the following sales pitch examples is for a different type of sales pitch — sales presentation to social media pitch — the takeaways can be applied to each one.
1. Adam Goldstein’s two-sentence pitch
Can you summarize your offering in one to two sentences? Adam Goldstein can. The CEO and co-founder of travel deal site Hipmunk, Goldstein was struggling to get funding for his startup. He reached out to the CEO of United Airlines with the following two-sentence pitch:
The CEO responded directly to Goldstein within 15 minutes. Hipmunk went on to secure over $55 million from investors.
Takeaway: If you have a short amount of time to explain to someone what you do, you need a one-liner ready to go. Consider it your logline. In Hollywood, a logline comes before a longer movie pitch. It’s only one or two sentences that explains what the movie is about. Your own logline should answer the following questions in one compelling sentence:
- What is your presentation about?
- What does your startup or product do?
- What’s your idea?
For example, Google’s logline was simply, “Google organizes the world’s information and makes it universally accessible.” It’s short, memorable, and clearly explains what Google does and its benefits. Try creating a logline that’s under 140 characters to help your audience immediately digest the information and determine if they want to hear more.
2. G2Crowd’s elevator pitch
G2Crowd is a platform that gives software users the opportunity to directly share their opinions on a product. Here's the company's elevator pitch:
“G2Crowd is the user voice platform for people to accurately say what they think about software and not be told by analysts or people who don't use it, or get a reference from the best customer,” the pitch begins, “They actually hear it directly from the user and engage with people who actually use the product."
Although less than 20 seconds long, the pitch hits the highlights of the G2 platform while explaining the problem that it solves for users.
Takeaways: Shorter is often better. It forces you to explain your product or service in layman’s terms. A short sales pitch that quickly generates interest will likely stick with a prospect longer than a rambling pitch that lists your product’s features. Notice how the pitch also hits on a significant problem for software users.
Create an elevator pitch that you can give in 20-30 seconds. Answer the following questions in your pitch:
- What does your product or service do?
- What distinguishes your product or service?
- What are your product or service goals?
Write down what you want to say. Cut out jargon and be specific. For example, if your product or service “eliminates insurance agents’ paper pain point,” you could instead say “E-signature platform cuts down on the overwhelming amount of paper that insurance agents have to use.”
3. Mark Cuban’s phone pitch
Back in the early 2000s, billionaire investor and businessman Mark Cuban was the new owner of the Dallas Mavericks. The team was struggling to win games, which resulted in low ticket sales.
To get ticket sales up, Cuban led the charge with his sales team by getting on the phone with former season ticket holders. “This is Mark Cuban, new owner of the Dallas Mavericks,” Cuban would say, “I know you’ve been to a game and I just wanted to sit here and tell you that we’d love to have you back.”
At the beginning of these conversations, Cuban was met with objections — like how bad the team was. In response, he reminded previous ticket holders of their own experiences going to games as a kid — when it didn't matter if a team was winning or losing. The point was the game itself. The stadium. The popcorn and cheering and time with mom or dad, uncle or aunt, neighbor, etc. It was a unique experience that cost only $8 a ticket and more valuable than going to the movies or McDonald's.
This approach worked and ticket sales began to climb. Cuban bought the Mavericks for $280 million. The team is now valued at $2.25 billion.
Takeaway: Give prospects benefits, not features, during your phone pitch. Cuban didn’t promote good seats, talented team players, and tasty popcorn. Instead, he promoted a special family experience, something that he and his team knew that former ticket holders valued.
Create a phone sales pitch script. Include the specific benefits that the person on the line will receive from your product or service. Maybe you’re a B2B company that sells sales training. Rather than listing off all of the classes you offer, you could explain how your training helps reps become more confident with cold calls and emails.
Also, don’t list everything that is perfect with your product. Cuban admitted that he didn’t know if the team would play well or not. People are more apt to trust you if you’re honest about the bad. In fact, when people are reviewing product ratings, a 4.5 rating draws in more customers than a perfect 5. Highlight what your product or service struggles with, but how you differentiate from competitors.
4. Ryan Robinson’s email pitch
Content marketing consultant Ryan Robinson often contacts businesses to offers his services. However, before ever making his pitch, he finds something of value to give to the recipient such as a share on Twitter. He then includes what he did for the recipient in his pitch.
The following email netted Robinson $10,000/m retainer in the end:
Takeaway: Your emails should provide real upfront value, Robinson says. Information about himself and services don’t appear until the third paragraph. He then opens the door to chat and gives a more detailed pitch.
Oren Klaff, author of Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal, continues this idea: “What is vitally important is making sure your message fulfills two objectives: First, you don’t want your message to trigger fear alarms. And second, you want to make sure it gets recognized as something positive, unexpected, and out of the ordinary—a pleasant novelty.”
Your email pitch needs to stand out from the white noise in your prospect’s inbox. Send a guide or resource that solves a problem for your prospect. For example, maybe you see on your prospect’s website that they’re busy hiring a virtual sales team. Since you’re a human resources company, you send an eBook all about onboarding virtual employees before asking for a conversation.
5. Follow-Up’s social media pitch
FollowUp shares how a colleague, Dipti Parmar, was pitching to experts and influencers for her ultimate guide on content marketing for SaaS.
Before pitching, she looked at bios on Twitter and LinkedIn to personalize her message. Take the following example of a bio of a content marketing strategist:
Karen Guglielmo clearly has to carefully manage her time and projects on a regular basis, as written in her LinkedIn bio: “Whether it’s chaos in the workplace or chaos on the home front, my passion is simplifying the complex.”
Parmar took this information and wove it into her pitch to Guglielmo:
Parmar personalizes her email by offering a guide on Content Marketing for SaaS packed with actionable tips and ideas to help Guglielmo manage her content responsibilities.
Takeaway: Personalize your pitch by looking at the prospect’s LinkedIn or Twitter accounts — take 10-20 minutes to find valuable insights about the prospect. You can then reach out via social media messaging such as InMail.
Lead with a social talking point like Parmar did and connect your offering with the prospect’s needs. Build trust by sending several messages like this before asking for an appointment.
6. Scrub Daddy’s sales presentation
A sales presentation pitch is typically more in-depth than the other pitches we’ve mentioned. You may recall that we analyzed Scrub Daddy in this article. Aaron Krause’s sales pitch presentation on season 4 of Shark Tank is worth revisiting.
The smiling sponge product received $200,000 from Shark investor Lori Greiner for a 20% stake in the company and has made more than $50 million in sales.
Takeaway: Include eye-catching visuals to accompany your sales presentation. In the above example, not only is the “Scrub Daddy” logo clearly visible, Aaron Krause incorporates a demo with the Scrub Daddy tackling tough stains. Krause gives the Sharks a glimpse of how the product solves a common household problem.
This approach follows the tried-and-true adage, “Show, don’t tell.” For your own presentation, adding visual aids like these sales decks also makes it easier for you to tell your story about your product or service. Even adding charts, graphs, and statistic graphics can make your story more interesting for the prospect.
7. MailBox Validator’s follow-up sales pitch
A follow-up sales pitch can be a phone call, email, or even social media message. Mailbox Validator’s follow-up sales pitch was sent after meeting the prospect at an event:
The email highlights where the two met and references their conversation. Only in the third paragraph does the sender, Janet, mention Jim’s problem and how she can help. She then asks directly for an appointment.
Takeaway: Remember, the point of the sales pitch is to get the prospect to the next step (e.g., another conversation, an appointment). Janet includes a clear CTA at the end of her pitch — a phone call. She lays out a time that they can meet and puts the ball in Jim’s court.
In your follow-up pitch emails, if you’ve already established trust with the recipient, give some specific days and times for a conversation. Don’t simply say, “Would you like to meet?” Prompt the recipient to take action.
Use these sales pitch examples to make your own
Use a message map to create your own sales pitch. Write down your product or service in two to five words. Then connect three related points to the main idea. Adjust based on the length of your pitch.
Also, view your pitch more as a conversation. This approach has been proven to improve your chance of an eventual sale.
The goal of a sales pitch is to present your product or service in a way that leaves the audience wanting to know more. Incorporate approaches from these sales pitch examples into your own sales pitches. Whatever the occasion, you’ll be prepared with a compelling message any time you need to make a pitch.