Writing The Perfect LinkedIn Sales Pitch
I was asking my coach for advice on how to write the perfect sales pitch for my businesses, and he recommended this book, Great Leads: The Six Easiest Ways to Start Any Sales Message by Michael Masterson. I finished it in 2 days. Here is my summary of the key points. This approach is invaluable if you want to persuade prospects of the value of your offer. To do that, you have to begin by understanding what they know already. Read on to see what I mean.
- You must first move the prospect emotionally.
- You must then persuade them intellectually.
The Perfect Sales Pitch Contains Only One Big Idea
Make sure that the idea creates an emotion, a single emotion, which will compel the reader to respond
Support that idea with one engaging story or compelling fact
Direct the reader to one, and only one, action
A Great Idea Is…
Big (enough to stir interest)
Easy to understand
Clearly useful (to the reader).
What Does You Customer Already Know?
The starting point for how to write a perfect sales pitch is to answer this question about your prospect. Ask yourself what they know about:
Who you are?
Your product and the research behind it?
Themselves, their own problems, and the other possible solutions available?
With this information, you can decide on the best way to approach them in your message. For example, if your prospect is:
- Aware of your product and realizes it can satisfy his desire —> start with your product.
- Not aware of your product, but only of the desire itself —> start with the desire.
- Not yet aware of what she really seeks, but is concerned only with the general problem —> start with that problem and crystallizes it into a specific need.
Write Your Perfect Sales Pitch Using The Awareness Spectrum
There are six points on the awareness spectrum that your prospect could fall into.
Your prospect knows your product, and only needs to know “the deal.”
The most aware customer can be a very active, even assertive kind of customer. This is where you’ll find your repeat buyers. These are the people who feel loyal to your brand, who shake your hand, and who send you “fan” emails. In the best case, these are the customers who even recommend your product to friends. More often than not, to this crowd, all you’ll need to do is offer them something new and they’ll buy.
Your prospect knows what you sell, but isn’t sure it’s right for him.
These are the prospects that just aren’t sure what you’re selling is right for them. First, you’ll need to win their trust. And, because they’re not completely decided, they’re skittish. So, you’ll have to make sure you don’t scare them away. Even though they’re close to a purchase, they crave reassurance. They want and need to know you sell not only what they need, but that they can trust your claims about what your product or service can do.
Your prospect knows the result he wants, but not that your product provides it.
This prospect knows that somewhere out there, somebody has a solution to her problem. She might even know vaguely where to look. Beyond that, she’s not so sure where to look next. To make the sale, you show her you’re able to help her reach that outcome. But, before you can do that, you’ll first need to convince her you understand what she wants and needs.
Your prospect senses he has a problem but doesn’t know there’s a solution.
A “solution-aware” customer has hope. But, a “problem-aware” customer has only worry. They know something’s not working, but they don’t know yet there’s a way to fix it. The key with this customer is to show you “feel their pain.” Not just that you know they have a problem, but that you know the frustration, desperation, or even fear and anger it causes. We call this the “point of maximum anxiety.” Once you identify it, you’ll find an open avenue for making an emotional connection.
No knowledge of anything except, perhaps, his own identity or opinion.
Not only does this prospect not know who you are, but they also don’t know your product. They don’t even know products like yours exist. Nor do they know they have a specific problem worth solving.
Here, you’ll need a lead that grabs readers without letting on the least detail of what it is you’re trying to do. Winning the attention of your most unaware customers can be especially difficult, as they have no reason to trust or even listen to your message. Come on too strong with a pitch or product mention, and you could chase them away. On the other hand, once you’ve won their attention and moved past that initial resistance, their lack of awareness can make them more receptive to an offer which is, to them, unique in a very real way.
A Perfect Sales Pitch – Direct or Indirect?
By far the easiest way to figure out if you should write a sales pitch head-on or sidle up to it indirectly is to figure out where your prospect falls on this scale of awareness. The more aware they are, usually, the more direct sales lead works best. The less aware, the more indirect you’re going to want to go.
For instance, you’ll hear that directly stating the benefit of getting right to your offer in the lead works best when:
- You’re selling a product that’s easy to understand.
- You can make a promise that’s very large and easily accepted.
- You’ve got an exceptionally good deal or guarantee to offer.
- Your customer knows and trusts you and deals with you often.
- You’ve made a product improvement your market was already waiting for.
The less your customer knows about you, what you’re selling, or his own needs, the less effective a direct lead is likely to be. You might want to try one of the more indirect kinds of leads when:
- You’re writing to a customer who knows little or nothing about you.
- You’re selling something that needs explanation.
- You’ve got a jaded customer with a lot of skepticism to overcome.
- Your product has a timely news connection too big to ignore.
- You’re ready to reinvent or elevate your product or the idea behind
Six Ways To Write A Perfect Sales Pitch
Based on the level of awareness of your prospect, choose one of the following six approaches to write your perfect sales pitch.
A Perfect Sales Pitch Using Offer Leads
Offer Leads share a similar formula:
- Immediately focus on the most emotionally-compelling detail of your offer
- Underscore the most valuable benefit of that deal
- Elaborate on that same deal-benefit in the lead that follows
- At some point, include a compelling “reason why” you’re offering that deal
In each case, you must offer your prospect something to answer the question that’s inevitable, in response to an offer that sounds too good to be true: “Okay, that sounds great … but what’s the catch?”
What’s most important in an effective Offer Lead is that the prospect feels immediately that the benefit he’s about to get is both valuable and a “steal” by comparison to what he would normally be willing to pay. Again, that value could be connected to the quality of what you’re offering, the promise of what it will do for the reader, or even the availability of what’s on offer. And, what makes it a “steal” might be a low price or a discount — often that’s the case — but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes emphasizing a higher or more elite price is what will get you the sale. Many luxury brands charge more simply because some prospects being able to afford the higher price is part of the appeal.
A Perfect Sales Pitch Using Promise Leads
Emotions To Target With Promise Leads
Friendship and status among your peers.
Confidence and freedom from worry.
Safety and security.
The feeling of association with people you admire and respect.
When Writing a Perfect Sales Pitch Using Promise Leads
- Start with the product’s biggest benefit.
- Hit the targeted promise right away.
- Connect the core benefit to the prospect’s core desire.
- Sound as new and original as possible.
- Be bold but still believable.
- Follow with even bigger proof.
- Focus on speed, size, or quality of results.
- Usually won’t work to skeptics or highly “unaware” prospects
- Can work very well with “on the fence” prospects.
A Perfect Sales Pitch Using Problem-Solution Leads
Deciding whether to use the Problem-Solution formula hinges on the idea that you’re writing to prospects who know what they’d like to change. The pulling power isn’t in educating the reader about a problem. It’s more in the idea that his or her troubles are heard and understood. Once the reader feels that you’ve heard him, that you understand his problems, and his need for a solution, then he’ll be ready to listen to your solutions to those problems — solutions that come through your product.
Problem-Solution pitches that target both big and small, get the biggest impact when you can first sum up the core worry in as instant a phrase as possible.
First Identify the Problem
- Target those worries that keep customers up at night.
- Make sure they’re worries that carry deep emotional weight.
- Prove you feel your prospect’s pain.
- Don’t linger on the problem too long.
- You must offer hope of a relevant solution at some point in the pitch.
Your Solution Must Then Promise the Following
- erase your prospect’s fears and frustrations,
- ease his feelings of guilt, shame, self-doubt, and inadequacy,
- soothe nerves and ends shyness and embarrassment.
- prevent future humiliation,
- deliver blessed relief from loneliness, sadness, or depression, or
- protect them from future feelings of regret.
A Perfect Sales Pitch Using The Secret Leads
The Secret Lead really connects to a deep instinct in people to feel that there are secrets to things; that the things that you know and are obvious to everybody don’t give you any edge. What everybody knows is what everybody knows and once you know what everybody knows, you’re just like everybody else.
To write the perfect sales pitch using The Secret Lead, create emotional tension by talking about the benefits of the product without showing it. Keep your product hidden. Your prospect’s instinctive desire to discover what is hidden plays in your favor. The longer you can get the prospect mesmerized by the hidden product, the greater the chance they will close. By telling the prospect what the secret is not, you have the feeling they are closer to finding out what it is.
The big secret with The Secret Leads: Specificity is absolutely key to overcome the skepticism that secrets automatically evoke.
Key features of The Secrets Leads:
- The secret is intriguing and beneficial
- It is introduced in the headline
- It is not disclosed during the lead
- As the message progresses, more clues are given. These sorts of clues give the prospect the feeling that he is getting closer to discovering the secret.
- The secret is connected to a major benefit of the product right away, to make it easier to complete the sales message.
How To Find Your Secret
- Find a secret already in the product.
- Make a list of all the qualities, characteristics, and components of the product.
- Ask yourself which, if any of these, is not well-known.
- Decide if the benefit provided by unusual or unfamiliar quality, characteristic, or component is enough to drive the lead. If it is, you have a good secret to start your promotion with.
- Take one of its benefits and neologize or transubstantiate it into a secret — that is, to take something familiar and rename it and reposition it so it seems new and secret.
A Perfect Sales Pitch Using Proclamation Leads
A well-constructed Proclamation Lead begins with an emotionally-compelling statement, usually in the form of the headline. And then, in the copy that follows, the reader is given information that demonstrates the validity of the implicit promise made. The Proclamation Lead, though very simple, is primarily indirect. It is indirect because it distracts the reader from the sale by forcing him to pay attention to the point suggested by the proclamation, without revealing exactly how it will lead to the essential claims of the actual sale. Because it’s more indirect, the Proclamation Lead gets a lot of its strength from taking the reader by complete surprise.
To be effective, Proclamation Leads must:
- Be big and bold. They must not only grab attention but also stir up thoughts and excite emotions.
- Make or at least imply a promise.
- Underscore the main theme of the proclamation. You can even connect the guarantee to the proclamation: “If you’re not happy with the product or what I’m telling you simply doesn’t play out the way I’ve described, you can send in for a full refund … ”
Finally, great Proclamation Leads almost always come from research. Cite studies, facts, data, and statistics in your headlines and leads to reduce the skepticism naturally building up within your prospect.
A Perfect Sales Pitch Using Story Leads
“Those who tell the stories rule the world.” — Plato
In any good story, the reader wants to know what happens next. That is called the hook. For example, if a reader finds out how a young man becomes so successful in a story that starts out describing a classic rags-to-riches story, he can apply that strategy to his own life and enjoy success, too.
Grabbing the prospect’s attention with an entertaining story or idea or photo is essential but, you have to do more than that. You have to sell the product. And to do that, you must link the initial sentiment created in the headline with the final emotion needed to close the sale at the end. But, beware, this does not mean you should put the name of the product in your headline.
In Story Leads, there should be a golden thread. The product is at one end of the thread. The prospect’s heart is at the other end. Every element of the copy must be connected to the product as well as to the prospect. And, the connection must be taut. If the thread goes slack, even for a second, you lose the sale.
There is a fundamental ambivalence we all have: we want to buy, but we don’t want to be sold. Since we don’t want to be sold, we will emotionally resist the sale, even as we feel it tugging at our heartstrings.
Adhering to the “rules” of good storytelling will produce the greatest effect:
- Beginning in the middle with a conflict — expressed or implicit — that affects a protagonist the reader can identify with.
- Offering an emotionally-satisfying solution.
How Do You Apply This To LinkedIn?
In my online course, which helps business owners and sales professionals use their LinkedIn profile as a sales channel, we have a module dedicated to crafting a sequence of messages to send to relevant prospects. The goal of the messages is to check for interest and stimulate a conversation. Given that most of the people you’re reaching out to on LinkedIn are cold, it is very likely they are on the far right of the spectrum – unaware certainly of your solution, and possibly of the problem too.
As a result, story leads work best for these approaches. Zero in on the pain point or problem you help solve. Put this front and center to capture the attention of those that feel the same. This is probably your best chance of getting them to read the remainder of your opening messages, which should go on to briefly address the questions:
- Why are you reaching out to me?
- Why should I listen to you?
- What benefit will I receive from pursuing a professional relationship with you?
There is no silver bullet for what works on LinkedIn. Experiment with proclamation leads, secret leads and even problem-solution leads. You never know what will resonate with your target buyer. Once you find out though, LinkedIn can become a reliable sales channel for your business.
Next time you sit down to write the perfect sales pitch, I highly recommend buying this book as it’s packed with tons of examples of the six leads covered in this summary. For no other reason than the inspiration these give you, this book is worth the $10. I have used these ideas for writing the perfect sales pitch for both email outreach and on LinkedIn. In fact, these six leads should be part of your repertoire when creating your own Authentic Prospecting System. The advice in this book will help you optimize your LinkedIn profile (chapter 5 of the Playbook) and craft your approach for making your task at the right time (chapter 7 of the Playbook).