Selling to small businesses

Selling to Small Businesses: 6 Ways to Fine Tune Your Sales Pitch

Published on December 27, 2021. Updated on May 22, 2023.

Whether you're in B2C (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business) sales, a fine-tuned sales pitch is essential to any company. How well you present yourself, what you have to offer and the value it provides to your customers will ultimately determine your success.

Selling directory listings to local businesses is no different. You want to come off confident, professional, knowledgeable and trustworthy when speaking to potential advertisers. You need to be able to communicate why a directory listing on your website is beneficial to their business. And you want to do so in a clear and concise manner.

But not everyone is comfortable with selling. That's okay - most people aren't. The good news is that sales is a skill that anyone can learn and improve upon with time and practice. And it's something, that as a directory owner, you should aim to do.

With this in mind, here are six tips to help you fine tune your sales pitch to help you sell more listings.

1. Avoid Filler Words

Using filler words such as “like” and “um” can come off as you don’t feel comfortable or confident in what you are saying about the products or services you are discussing. According to vocal coach Roger Love, you should pause after commas and periods instead of using a filler word and silently breathe in while figuring out what you’ll say next (source). You’ll find that this is a much better alternative to saying “like” or “um”.

Take some time practicing your elevator pitch or how you would describe your business to a potential advertiser. Try recording yourself as you talk through what you are going to say and play it back. This will help you identify where you are putting in those filler words and fine tune your explanation.

2. Be Knowledgeable

If you are discussing your business, be prepared to answer questions. You’ll especially want to be ready for the difficult questions and objections. If a prospect asks you a question that you’re not able to answer, then this could hurt your credibility. Therefore, it helps to take time to practice answering difficult questions.

In addition to being knowledgeable about your own product/service, it also helps to be conscious  about the wants and needs of your prospects. In this case, you’ll want to be knowledgeable about how your online business directory can be a lower cost alternative to certain forms of traditional advertising (such as direct mail and print) and also yield a positive return on investment (ROI). You will also want to be aware of who your competitors are and how your product/service will better suit the needs of your advertisers. This way you’ll be well prepared for your prospective client meetings.

3. Speak with Clarity

Speaking with clarity indicates that you have a concise understanding of your business and are conveying that through email or verbal communication. Donald Miller, author and founder of StoryBrand, states “when you confuse, you lose” (source). In other words, a lack of clarity in your written or verbal communication can lead to lost sales.

Miller further states that at a minimum, your prospects should be able to effortlessly determine what you offer, how it will make their lives better, and what they need to do to buy it (source). As you become more comfortable with your sales pitch and with experience, you will be able to ditch the script and talk from the heart. Remember, no one knows your business better than you. The more clear and concise your sales pitch is, the better picture you can paint of how your services will benefit your client.

4. Use Proper Punctuation

Using punctuation properly in email correspondence may seem insignificant. However, there is much to be said about the way a business is presented in all forms of marketing communication. In fact, using proper punctuation and grammar will improve the credibility of your business - a business that can be taken seriously (source).

Whenever you are working on a very important email to send, it might be a good idea to ask someone to proofread it before sending. A fresh set of eyes can often catch errors you missed. If you don’t have anyone you can ask, then a tool like Grammarly can help. The last thing you want to do is send an email full of errors; this can hurt your credibility and impact the way prospective clients perceive you. 

5. Be Enthusiastic

Speaking with expression and the tone of voice you use can be contagious in getting others excited about your business. In fact, vocal coach Roger Love states that customers buy based on emotions, and one of the best ways to get them emotionally engaged is by the use of your voice (source). Love also states that your voice can be used as a vehicle to get others to know, like, and trust you.

Sales delivery and conversion strategist Cindy Ashton offers these voice tips to help close more sales: (source)

  • Make sure your jaw is relaxed before you begin a sales call (a tight jaw can make your words sound mumbled; it may help to massage your jaw)
  • Speed up the tempo when discussing things they dream of achieving (this can help them get enthusiastic about what it is that they desire)
  • Slow down the tempo when you make your offer (this way you can focus your energy on them and emphasize important words so that they can really hear how your service will benefit them)
  • After you state the price, pause and give them time to respond (many people make the mistake to keep talking and not even give the buyer a chance to say “yes”)

The last thing you want to do is come across as monotone or not excited when speaking to your prospects. You will lose them!

6. Mind Your Body Posture

The way you present yourself says a lot about your confidence in the product or services you are selling. According to The Center for Sales Strategy, here are some tips on making the most of your body language: (source)
  • Make consistent eye contact with your prospect (otherwise you could come across as dishonest or insincere)
  • Have a light smile and ensure your lips are relaxed when speaking (this way you come across as positive)
  • Avoid crossing your arms (otherwise you could come across as defensive)
  • Sit up straight and slightly lean forward to demonstrate active listening
  • Your overall posture should be relaxed and at ease

When you demonstrate the right body posture and overall nonverbal communication, you’ll come across as confident and trustworthy. This can help you come off as an expert in your field and make others want to work with you.

The Bottom Line

Like anything else, practice makes perfect. Refer to the sample sales scripts and marketing resources that Ideal Directories provides for additional inspiration and ideas. Practice pitching your directory website in front of the mirror or for a friend. It can also help to spend 5 - 10 minutes of deep breathing before a sales meeting so that you enter into it relaxed and at ease.

While this may seem like a lot of work, it’s well worth it and the pay off can be big. The more you fine tune your sales pitch, the more comfortable and effective you will be at selling listings to small businesses. 

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