Someone once said that sales deals are made within the first minute of the B2B sales pitch starting.
Whoever was the first to say that was right on!
You can spend a lifetime curating the perfect social media feed, using sales psychology tactics like testimonials and social proof, and even writing out the perfect sales pitch script...
But, if you blow the first minute of your sales pitch, the odds that you close the deal with your prospect are pretty low.
Why is the first minute of the pitch so crucial?
Because it's the time in which the prospect makes a first impression of you!
With that said, to help you secure more deals in less time, we're sharing 7 tactics you must do in the first minute of every sales pitch!
Each of these tactics helps you create the best first impression of yourself, so that you can instantly win your prospects over.
The first minute of the sales pitch is a small amount of time with potentially major consequences. Are you ready?
What is the Goal of a B2B Sales Pitch?
The goal of a B2B sales pitch is to close the deal with your prospects because it is the last step of the entire sales process. Plain and simple.
With that said, you should show up to the pitch in the mindset and with everything you need to close the deal there!
Leading up to this point, you should have already implemented your B2B marketing strategy, completed your lead generation, made the outreach calls and emails, and finished your initial sales calls.
As a result, by this point you should have a set of perfectly qualified leads that know your unique value proposition and can seriously see things working out between the two of you.
Therefore, the sales pitch is more about wrapping up the sales process and capitalizing on your ability to solve the prospect’s problems and form a relationship with them.
Think of the sales pitch like the bow on top of the present.... It completes the entire sales process in a presentable way.
If you've done your job well up until this point, the sales pitch should be a breeze.
B2B Sales Strategies: Why the 1st Minute of the Pitch Is So Important
The first minute of any personal encounter, whether it be a sales pitch or a blind date, is the most important minute of the entire encounter.
Because, whether we like to admit it or not, our first impressions of people tend to be pretty strong. Not only that, but they tend to stick with us for the long term.
Hence, why the first minute of a sales pitch is so important!
In that first minute, prospects tend to make a first impression of the sales rep, and that first impression influences the way that they see them for the remainder of the pitch.
Therefore, the stronger first impression you can make as a salesperson, the stronger the prospect will see you overall!
How do you make a good first impression, though?
Making the perfect first impression comes down to something we talk about a lot here on the Business Growth Insider... It comes down to how you can make the prospect feel.
Remember, people remember less what you say and more how you make them feel.
Furthermore, if you can create a first impression that makes the prospect feel great, then you've done an effective job!
Prospects are humans just like the rest of us. And, like any normal person, the way that they see people is heavily influenced by their first impression of them.
Will you and the rest of your sales team be the ones to win the prospects over in the first minute thanks to the first impression you make?
Secure Deals In Under 1 Minute With These 7 Sales Pitch Tactics!
If you've done your sales process well up until this point, including lead generation, outreach to your target audience, and initial sales calls to the qualified leads, then all you have left is the sales pitch.
By this point, the prospects should be right on the verge of giving you a 'yes!'. Hold it together for the next twenty minutes, and you can consider the prospect your new client.
More importantly, hold it together for the first minute of the sales pitch, and the prospects are yours!
Even if you have the best sales pitch ever crafted, missing the mark in the first minute significantly increases the odds that the prospect slips out of your hands.
With that said, do these 7 things in the first minute of your pitch to make the best possible first impression on the prospect. If you do these few things, then the deal is secured.
1. Serve Up Enthusiasm
Put yourself in your prospects shoes: You show up to a sales pitch, whether online or in person, after a long day. You're feeling overwhelmed and slightly burnt out. Right now, the last thing you want to do is sit down and go through the same old sales presentation. While you are looking forward to getting your pain points solved, having to sit through another pitch sounds brutal.
As the salesperson, the center of your professional world revolves around, well, sales. While your focus is 100% on closing deals, the same can't be said for your prospects.
On the other hand, your prospects most likely have a lot on their plate. If they're coming to you for help with one of their problems, you already know that there's some challenge in their business that they're working to overcome. More likely than not, they’re feeling a fair amount of stress because of it.
With that said, it's unrealistic to think that your prospects have the same enthusiasm and excitement over your sales pitch as you do! However, if you want to secure a deal with them, you must get them on the same level of enthusiasm as you
Therefore, before going into a sales pitch, understand that your prospect's minds are probably in a million other places. Your job then is to hype their energy up to be on the same level as yours! More specifically, you need to make them feel the same level of enthusiasm.
Think about it... If your prospects have low energy at the start of the pitch, it only makes sense that their minds are going to drift elsewhere. Their attention will be on everything but what you are saying!
From the moment you walk into the room, you need to start making them feel enthusiasm. To do that, you need to:
- Stand up nice and tall
- Speak in an up-beat tone of voice
Believe it or not, but these small gestures are very effective ways to get your prospect’s energy levels up.
Walk into the sales pitch with the intention of making your prospects feel enthusiastic. If you can make them feel amazing right off the bat, the odds that you secure the deal increase significantly.
2. Use Your Body Language to Build Trust
In addition to showing your prospects that you are enthusiastic, you also need to give them the impression that they can trust you.
The way to do that is through body language!
We’ve all been in a situation before where we are watching a sales pitch unfold and the salesperson is painfully stiff. Even though their face, words, and tone says that they are excited to be there, their body language tells a different story.
Believe it or not, but when you are stiff, it actually gives off the impression that you are less trustworthy.
Think about it… When someone has something to hide, do they stand still in order to keep their cover, or do they move their bodies around because they feel free to open themselves up? You know the answer!
If you cannot build trust with your prospect, then consider the deal impossible. On the other hand, if you can get the prospect to fully trust you within the first minute of the meeting, then consider the deal done.
Therefore, use body language that shows that you are a trustworthy person, including:
- Opening up your shoulders and arms
- Walking around in circles and back & forth
- Having a firm handshake
If your sales pitch is over video, then using body language is even more important! Whenever you are meeting over video, don’t be afraid to go over the top with your body language. While you might feel awkward doing so, it will look very mild on the prospect’s side of the screen.
The more you can open up your body, the less it looks like you have something to hide. And, when you look like you have nothing to hide, your prospects feel comfortable placing their trust in you.
There is a reason they say actions speak louder than words… If your words invoke trust but your body does the opposite, then you are sunk!
3. Hook the Audience
The most important sentence of your entire sales presentation is the first one. Believe it or not, but if you can't grab the audience's attention with your first line, then trying to grab it later on in the pitch is extremely challenging, if not impossible!
The entire point of the first line is simply to hook the audience. By hook, we mean saying something that immediately intrigues them, and makes them want to listen more.
Why is it so hard to get your potential customer's attention later on? When you consider the fact that the average human has the same attention span as that of a goldfish, then the answer is pretty straight forward.
It doesn’t matter that you have a perfect sales pitch if the first line is horrible!
When coming up with a hook for your sales pitch, think of it as if you were creating the subject line for a cold email pitch... What kind of subject would you put to make them want to open up and read your message? Or if you were making a cold call, what would you say to make the prospect stay on the line?
To grab people’s attention, some of the most common hook lines include:
- A shocking statistic
- A disturbing fact about the prospect’s company
To decide how you should hook your client’s attention, put yourself in their shoes... Think about their unique personalities and what might appeal to them the most.
If they express a lot of humor when speaking with you, then odds are that using humor to hook them is a good way to go.
Or, if you know that your prospect's have huge imaginations for their business, arouse their curiosity by posing an intriguing question about the future.
It doesn’t matter how you hook your audience. All that truly matters is that you hook them right off the bat! And if you don't hook them right away, odds are you will lose them shortly after and your effective sales pitch will be blown.
4. Set Up the Storyline
If you're a regular here on the Business Growth Insider, then you're probably already familiar with sales storytelling.
Sales storytelling is all about creating a storyline out of your prospect's emotional desires. It's about turning their problems into a plot line, them into characters, and your solution into the magic that helps save the day!
A good sales pitch sets the storyline up within the first minute. Just like the hook, prospective clients will quickly lose focus on the pitch if you don't dive right into telling the story.
While it might sound silly at first, creating stories out of the prospect’s problems keeps their focus on the pitch. Not only that, but it tugs at those deep emotional desires that drive their decision making.
Never forget that potential clients, no matter how logic-driven they might seem, are highly emotional.
While they might come across as stern and objective, their emotions most likely dominate their minds… That explains why stories sell so effectively! The goal is to start tugging on those emotions within the first minute of your sales pitch with the help of a story.
With that said, don’t even think about mentioning things like product features or other fact-based concepts right off the bat. If you do, you will certainly lose the attention of your prospects, and eventually the sale.
Facts tell. Stories sell!
Successful sales pitches are simply stories in pitch deck form. Does your sales team have what it takes to create an effective sales story?
5. Flip Expectations
Nothing solidifies in your mind quite like a good surprise does!
Whether it's walking into a surprise birthday party or receiving an unexpected gift, surprises have a way of etching themselves into your memory.
Take advantage of the memorability of surprises by throwing one into the first minute of your sales pitch.
Specifically, catch prospects off guard by doing or saying the opposite of what they expect you to do or say. A better term for this is to flip their expectations.
For example... When you are going along with your sales story, start off on a positive note and then suddenly flip to a negative one. More specifically, kick off your story by framing your prospective client's company in a positive way, but then suddenly shifting over to talking about the potential negative impact that their problem could create for them. That sudden shift in emotions will stick out in their mind and make you more memorable.
In sales, memorability is power. Because, when it comes time to make a purchasing decision, you will already have the advantage of being at the front of the decision maker's minds. While they will forget about other potential supplier companies, they certainly won’t forget about you!
Not only will the shock factor of flipping expectations make you more memorable, but it will also pull the prospective client deeper into the storytelling.
And, the deeper you can get them into the story, the more effectively you can tug at their emotions.
The bottom line: Somewhere within the first minute of your speech, you need to pull out something that will shock the B2B leads. More specifically, do the opposite of what they expect you to do. That way, you stand out in their minds AND keep them honed in on your story.
6. Mirror the Prospects
Great sales reps understand the power of building relationships with their potential clients.
They know that if they want to secure a deal with the B2B lead, they need to focus on building a relationship with them just as much as they need to focus on helping them solve their pain points.
With that said, what makes any relationship, whether it be business or personal, more likely to work out?
All great relationships start with likability.
If you meet someone and for whatever reason don't like them, then the odds of you ever forming a relationship with them are pretty slim. Because, after all, why would you form a relationship with someone you don't like?
Great sales reps understand the power of likability, and they use the effective mirroring tactic to help themselves appear more likable in the eyes of the prospects.
Mirroring is perhaps the most effective sales psychology tactic. It involves repeating back the same words that the prospect uses or imitating their mannerisms. In essence, it's like pretending to be a mirror that reflects the prospect.
Believe it or not, but when somebody mirrors us, we automatically like them more! Seeing them say or do the things that we say and do sets off an unconscious signal in our minds that tells us they are a good person.
Therefore, during the first minute of your sales pitch, keep a sharp eye on your prospect's language and mannerisms.
If they ask a question, repeat the question back to them to create a mirror. Or, if they make a particular movement with their hands or body, make the same movement!
Get the prospect to like you within the first minute of the conversation by mirroring them. While you are simply copying them, they will start to think that you are likable enough to form a business relationship with.
7. Keep Strong Eye Contact
Last but not least, your eyes should be locked on your prospects during your sales pitch.
From the moment you walk into the room, maintain solid eye contact with them.
Eye contact works in your favor for a few reasons, including:
- Helping establish more trust
- Engaging the prospects
- Projecting your authority over the situation
Perhaps the most important thing that strong eye contact does is establish your authority over the situation.
While it might at first seem overly-aggressive or intimidating, having authority is actually appreciated by prospects.
Put yourself in their shoes again: Prospects are already busy as it is, so the last thing they want to do is have to spend extra time working on solving their problem. But, if you project authority, they'll feel more comfortable leaving the problem in your hands to be solved.
Establish your authority from the get-go by locking eyes with the prospects! When they believe you have authority, they will see you as more capable of being able to solve their problems.
Final Thoughts on Securing Deals in B2B Sales Pitches
B2B sales pitches are not supposed to be complicated. If you feel like you’re going crazy trying to get them down, you’re not doing things right!
Instead of driving yourself crazy, focus on creating simple, high-quality pitches that give you the chance to make a killer first impression.
The first impression is everything to the pitch. Therefore, don’t waste your time trying to make everything perfect, when what you should really be focusing on is simply that first minute.
With that said, will you and your sales teams secure the deal within the first 60 seconds of the pitch?