How to Write a Sales Speech
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The purpose of a sales speech, often called a sales pitch, is to convince the audience to buy what you are selling. Sales speeches are given in one-on-one and group settings. A sales speech may be a 30-seconds "elevator speech" or a longer presentation that involves slides, samples or other presentation materials to emphasize the main points.
Consider your audience. Analyze the size of the group, whether they are individual consumers or corporate representative. Ask yourself what motivation they might have for buying your product or service?
Consider your product or service. Look at exactly what you are selling, and who would use it. List the benefits it provides to buyers and the characteristics that makes it different from similar products on the market.
Determine how much time you have to talk. If appropriate, be sure to allow time for questions at the end of the speech.
Write your introduction. State your name and company. State your mission instead of your product. “I help people plan so their loved ones have less to do in times of grief” is preferable to “I sell prepaid funeral services.”
Create a hook. A hook is an attention-grabbing statement, story or question that makes your audience want to hear more. An example: “What would you do with an extra $100 in your monthly food budget?”
Explain your product. Tell your audience what it does and how it works. Explain who needs it and how buyers will benefit. Consider your audience’s motivations. Quantify benefits when possible. If your product reduces the labor needed to accomplish a project, state exactly how many labor hours the company will save. Estimate the dollars saved.
Anticipate objections. If buyers are likely to think your product is too good to be true, is too expensive or doesn’t fit their needs, make positive statements that counteract those opinions. If your product is 50 percent more expensive than a similar product but will last three times as long, say so.
Offer proof. If an independent research group gave your service a positive review or your product received an honor or award, say so. Be sure to use the full, correct name of the reviewing or awarding entity and state when the award or review was given.
Close your speech. Summarize the main points. Include the top benefit of your product. Thank the audience for the opportunity to speak to them. If you plan to hold a question-and-answer period, do so now.
Ask for the business. If you are speaking to a group of final decision makers, ask what you can do to earn their business. If you are speaking to a large group, issue a “call to action," a statement that encourages buyers to purchase. Calls to action often offer an incentive for buying immediately, such as “buy your super-duper mega broom today and receive 20 percent off the purchase price.”
Speak at your audience’s level. Technical jargon is OK when speaking to an IT department, but a group of end-users may not understand a word you say.
Respect the audience’s time. If you’ve been given 30 minutes, take 30 minutes--no more!
If you are speaking to a small group, ask questions throughout your presentation so you can bring up products or services of special interest to the buyer.
Assemble any needed props, samples or other presentation aids you plan to use.
Avoid slang and curse words when giving a sales speech.
Do not overuse words like “best,” “greatest” and “amazing." After a while, the impact wears off.
Tell the truth. Exaggerations and untruths get you in legal hot water.
Maggie Worth has more than 18 years of marketing and business management experience. She has conducted training classes in resume, fiction and web writing and has written textbooks, resumes, professional and technical documents, ad copy, video scripts and articles for lifestyle magazines. She is director of marketing communications strategy and special projects for a university.