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10 sales pitch examples that work (+ tips for writing your own)
Craft an engaging sales pitch to pack your pipeline with high-quality leads.
By Court Bishop, Contributing Writer
Last updated July 14, 2022
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 being sold to—our brains are wired to resist sales messages.
A sales pitch shouldn’t be about convincing a prospective customer to make a purchase. Instead, use a sales pitch to persuade the prospect to take the next step in the sales process.
Read on to explore:
- What is a sales pitch?
- The 5-step sales pitch structure
- How to write a sales pitch
- Sales pitch examples
- Sales pitch templates
What is a sales pitch?
A sales pitch is a message or script designed to lead your audience to a certain action, such as scheduling an appointment or demo. It can be formal or informal, verbal or written down. No matter the format, it’s important to get it right—the sales pitch sets the tone for the entire customer relationship.
A good sales pitch is concise and provides value to the prospect. Use it to begin a conversation, not to sell.
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
- Investor pitch
- Pain-point pitch
- One-minute sales pitch
You can use a combination of sales pitches for the same prospect. For example, you might give an elevator pitch at a conference and send an email pitch to a prospective buyer before finally delivering a comprehensive presentation pitch.
The 5-step sales pitch structure
Regardless of the situation, the following framework can work for any pitch:
Lead with the challenge that your audience is currently facing, and back up your claims with data. Say you work for an insurance platform. You might share a stat like, “Insurtech has risen 45 percent over the past five years, impacting how smaller insurance agencies do business.”
Detail what needs to happen for your buyer to overcome the challenge.
Explain how your product or service can help the prospect solve their problem and meet their goals. Share specific benefits, not just features.
Tap into social proof by providing testimonials, references, and customer stories that show how your product or service has helped similar businesses succeed.
Engaging question and CTA
Continue the conversation by asking an open-ended question. Then, move the prospect to the next step with a clear call to action (CTA), such as “Let me know if you’re interested, and we can talk on the phone later this week.”
Don’t view these steps as a checklist—consider them the outline for the story you’ll weave for your prospective customers. Use this framework to turn your pitch into a compelling, authentic narrative.
How do you write a sales pitch?
It’s been said that timing is everything. This is especially true when pitching your products or services to someone. Aside from choosing the right timing, you must also choose your target audience wisely. Your prospects will set the tone for your pitch, as you’ll need to personalise your message in order to establish rapport and form a connection with them. One effective way to grab their attention? Tell a story.
Though our brains resist selling, they’re receptive to stories. Whether you’re communicating with potential customers in person, by email, by phone, or over social media, ground the pitch in a compelling narrative to keep them interested.
1. Reach out at the right time, and connect with the right person
A successful sales pitch is all about timing, according to Courtney Gupta, a community engagement specialist and former SMB account executive at Zendesk.
“You can have this amazing sales pitch, but the success of it really depends on timing,” Gupta says. “Sometimes, prospects would love to talk but aren’t looking to change vendors or are in the middle of another deal. Make a note if they provide a better time to reach out.”
“You can have this amazing sales pitch, but the success of it really depends on timing.”Courtney Gupta, Zendesk community engagement specialist
Gupta also emphasises the importance of getting in touch with the right person.
“Some salespeople will start off speaking with lower-level management, for example, because that might seem like an easier in, but they don’t always have buying power,” she says. “Whoever is signing the deal (usually VP and above) should be your target.”
2. Make the prospect the hero of your story
The next step is framing your pitch with an engaging narrative. In this story, the prospect is the hero—they have a problem they need to overcome. Your product is the sidekick that will help them do it. Your job as a salesperson is to make the connection between your product and your prospect’s happy ending.
Use your value proposition, testimonials, and data to support the story. Get creative—Troops, a revenue communications platform, created physical cards to enable storytelling in sales and help sales reps quickly find the right narrative. Other companies write detailed briefs of various sales personas to familiarise reps with different stories.
Whatever information or format you use, make sure your pitch always focuses on an outcome.
“Before you make your sales pitch, find what the person can gain from the deal going forward,” Gupta advises. “If they’re going to get a promotion at the end of this, learn how you can help them work toward that or how you can set them up for success when they talk to their CEO. Finding out what’s at stake and what’s going to be beneficial to the person you’re selling to is important in any sales pitch.”
“Before you make your sales pitch, find what the person can gain from the deal going forward.”Courtney Gupta
3. Understand the customer’s needs, and personalise the solution
You can’t tell the right story if you don’t know your audience. Buyers want sales reps to take the time to gain a firm understanding of their business and the challenges they’re facing—but the reality doesn’t always match the expectation. Many customers don’t believe that sales reps truly understand their problems (or have a way to solve them).
Your initial sales pitch should demonstrate your knowledge of the prospect’s business, industry, and unique challenges. Most types of sales pitches allow for some time to research the prospective buyer in advance, and it’s critical to do so. Even just 15 minutes of research on Google News and LinkedIn will go a long way toward inspiring confidence.
Elevator pitches are a little different because you won’t know who you’re pitching ahead of time. In this scenario, tell the story of your target customer. But instead of pitching your company as an HR software platform, for example, you might say: “We help companies of all sizes provide their employees with generous, corporate-quality benefits.” Then, use open-ended questions and active listening to turn the conversation toward the prospect’s specific needs.
“A good sales pitch relates the action you want the customer or prospect to take back to why it’s important to them and their company,” says Gupta. “You need something from them, but what can they gain from working with you and your business? There has to be some incentive on their end.”
“A good sales pitch relates the action you want the customer or prospect to take back to why it’s important to them and their company.”Courtney Gupta
4. Start your email pitches with a strong subject line
If you’re emailing your pitch, your subject line is the “once upon a time” that leads prospects into your sales story. In many ways, it’s a microcosm of your whole sales pitch.
An intriguing subject line speaks to prospects on a personal level and persuades them to take the time to read it. We analysed sales emails from 15 different SaaS companies to identify the most effective tactics for writing powerful sales subject lines. Here’s what we learned:
- Keep it personal by using the contact’s name and the word “you.” Generic subject lines are easy to ignore and will quickly end up in the trash folder.
- Hook the prospect into your story by writing something meaningful. Include an eye-catching statistic, offer an informational (or controversial) statement, or ask a question that demonstrates your knowledge of their industry. Do your research, and target a personal pain point.
Crafting subject lines that are relevant to your prospects comes with practice. Consistently A/B test your emails to learn what works and what doesn’t in your messages.
5. Get creative
Go beyond the standard sales pitch email or cold call—there are creative ways to take a pitch to the next level.
“If your emails didn’t work, gifts are another avenue,” says Gupta. “Gifts show your brand character. They often make prospects want to take a meeting because they remember you and relate that positive memory to your brand. Even if the timing wasn’t right the first time, they’ll keep those warm, fuzzy feelings in mind in the future.”
“If your emails didn’t work, gifts are another avenue. Gifts show your brand character.”Courtney Gupta
Some gift ideas include:
- Company swag
- Water bottles
- Trendy technology like speakers
- Boxes of goodies
6. Keep the pitch length in mind
Buyers don’t care about your product or service—they care about their problems. If you spend all your time with a buyer talking about yourself and your company, it’ll be hard to convince them that you actually want to help them solve their problems. Make your sales pitches concise in order to leave room for listening and engagement.
Keeping your pitch brief also forces you to refine it and concentrate on your value proposition. You’re less likely to talk about irrelevant features if you’re locked into a short length.
The ideal sales pitch length depends on the format, of course, but here are some guidelines to get you started:
- Aim for 300 words in your sales emails. A study of cold sales emails found that emails with 1,400 to 1,500 characters (approximately 300 words) showed a substantially higher response rate than emails of 100 words or fewer.
- Keep your cold calls under eight minutes. Chorus, a conversation intelligence platform, discovered that 7.5 minutes is the average length of a cold call that converts into a next step.
- Limit your sales presentation to 18 minutes. Apply the TED Talk principle to your sales presentations. TED Talk speakers are limited to 18-minute presentations for a simple, data-backed reason: After the 18-minute mark, you lose your audience to information overload. Attention wanes, engagement is lost, and it’s that much harder to get a “yes.”
If these limitations sound too difficult for you, the problem could be your understanding of your product’s value. Once you’re confident in the benefits your offering brings to the table, you’ll find it much easier to keep your pitch short and engaging. Start by refining your positioning statement.
Great sales pitch examples (and why they work)
We found 10 notable examples to inspire you to craft a winning pitch. These examples cover various types of sales pitches, but they offer lessons that you can apply to any prospect.
- 1. Adam Goldstein two-sentence pitch
- 2. G2Crowd elevator pitch
- 3. Mark Cuban phone pitch
- 4. Ryan Robinson email pitch
- 5. LinkedIn or Twitter personalised social media pitch
- 6. Scrub Daddy sales presentation
- 7. MailboxValidator follow-up sales pitch
- 8. Party on Demand unconventional investor pitch
- 9. Brightwheel personal pain-point pitch
- 10. Formcraft speedy sales pitch
Sales pitch example #1: Adam Goldstein’s two-sentence pitch
Can you summarise your offering in one to two sentences? Adam Goldstein can. The CEO and co-founder of travel-deal site Hipmunk 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: You need a one-liner ready to go for those brief moments of opportunity (like a chance meeting in an airport queue or a long-shot tweet). Consider it your logline—in Hollywood, a logline is a one- to two-sentence summary of a movie. Your own logline should answer the following questions:
- What is your presentation about?
- What does your startup or product/service do?
- What’s your idea?
For example, Google’s logline was simply, “Google organises the world’s information and makes it universally accessible.” It’s short and memorable, and it explains what Google does and what benefits it offers.
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.
Sales pitch example #2: G2Crowd elevator pitch
G2Crowd is a platform that gives software users the opportunity to share their opinions on a product. Here’s the company’s elevator pitch:
“G2Crowd is the user voice platform for people to be able to say how they actually think about software and not be told by the analysts or people who don’t use it, or the reference from your best customers,” the pitch begins. “You’re actually hearing directly from the user and engaging with people who actually use the product.”
Although less than 20 seconds long, the pitch clearly conveys the purpose of the G2 platform while explaining the problem that it solves for software users.
Takeaway: Shorter is often better. A concise sales pitch forces you to explain your product or service in layperson’s terms—and in a way that quickly generates interest. A short and snappy pitch will likely stick with a prospect longer than a rambling pitch that lists all your product’s features.
Aim to create a 20- to 30-second elevator pitch that answers the following questions:
- 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 company “eliminates the need for insurance agents to use a lot of paper,” you could instead say, “Our e-signature platform cuts down on the overwhelming amount of paper that insurance agents have to use.”
Sales pitch example #3: Mark Cuban’s phone pitch
Back in the early 2000s, billionaire entrepreneur and investor 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 back up, Cuban led the charge with his sales team by getting on the phone with former season ticket holders.
“This is Mark Cuban, the 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 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 would remind former 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 arena. The popcorn and cheering and time with parents, friends, neighbours, etc. It was a unique experience that cost only $8 a ticket and provided more value than going to the movies or McDonald’s.
His approach worked, and ticket sales began to climb. Cuban bought the Mavericks for $280 million. The team is now valued at .7 billion.
Takeaway: During a phone pitch, sell prospects on the benefits, not the features. Cuban didn’t promote good seats, talented team players, and tasty popcorn. Instead, he promoted a special family experience—something he and his team knew that former season ticket holders valued.
When crafting a phone sales pitch script, include the specific benefits that the buyer will experience thanks to your product or service. Maybe you’re a B2B company that offers sales training courses. Rather than listing all the classes you offer, you could explain how your training helps reps become more confident with cold calls and emails, increasing their win rate.
Also, don’t give the impression that your product or service is perfect—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, according to Northwestern University’s Medill Spiegel Research Center. Be upfront about what your product or service lacks, but explain how you’re different from competitors and how you can still help solve the prospect’s problems.
Sales pitch example #4: Ryan Robinson’s email pitch
Content marketing consultant Ryan Robinson often contacts businesses to offer his services. But before ever making his pitch, he finds something of value to give to the prospect, such as a share on Twitter. He then includes what he did for the recipient in his pitch.
The following email netted Robinson a $10,000/m retainer in the end:
Takeaway: “Your emails should provide value upfront,” Robinson says. Information about himself and his services doesn’t appear until the third paragraph. Only then does he open the door to give a more detailed pitch and ask for a conversation.
Oren Klaff, author of Flip the Script: Getting People to Think Your Idea Is Their Idea, adds to this line of thought: “Never tell the buyer what you want them to do—you never pressure them for a yes. You let them tell you they want to buy.”
Your email pitch needs to stand out from the white noise in your prospect’s inbox. Send a guide or resource that helps your potential customer overcome a challenge. For example, maybe you see on your prospect’s website that they’re busy hiring a virtual sales team. Because you work for a human resources company, you send the prospect an ebook about onboarding virtual employees before making your pitch.
Sales pitch example #5: LinkedIn or Twitter personalised social media pitch
When cold-pitching products or services to experts and influencers in your field, weave personal details from their social media bios and profiles into your outreach message. Take a few minutes to check out their LinkedIn or Twitter accounts, and use the information you find to your advantage.
Of course, you don’t want to come off as creepy, so if they have a public profile, avoid doing a “deep dive”—you definitely don’t want to reference something from 150 weeks ago that they may not even remember. Stick to mentioning information that is either readily available from a quick skim or an interesting piece of content they produced.
Let these decision-makers know you care enough to have taken the time to learn a little bit about them before reaching out. Show them that you value their time, too, by keeping your message brief.
Takeaway: Personalise your pitch by looking at the prospect’s LinkedIn or Twitter accounts—take 10 to 20 minutes to find valuable insights about the buyer before contacting them.
Lead with a social talking point—such as a mutual connection or experience you’ve shared—to establish rapport and show you’ve done your research. Then, connect your offering with the prospect’s needs. You should send several messages to build trust before asking for an appointment.
Sales pitch example #6: Scrub Daddy’s sales presentation
A sales presentation pitch is typically more in-depth than the other pitches we’ve mentioned. Aaron Krause’s sales presentation on season 4 of Shark Tank is worth revisiting:
The smiling sponge product received $200,000 from Shark investor Lori Greiner and has made more than million in sales.
Takeaway: Include eye-catching visuals and demonstrations in your sales presentation. In the example above, not only is the Scrub Daddy logo clearly visible, but Krause also incorporates a demo of 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, paint a picture of what your customer’s life will look like if they buy what you’re selling. Adding charts, graphs, and photos can make your pitch even more interesting for the prospect.
Sales pitch example #7: MailboxValidator’s follow-up sales pitch
A follow-up sales pitch can be a phone call, email, or social media message. A MailboxValidator team member sent this follow-up pitch after meeting a 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 or an appointment). Janet includes a clear CTA at the end of her pitch—a phone call. She suggests a time for them to talk and puts the ball in Jim’s court.
In your follow-up emails, propose specific days and times for a conversation, especially if you’ve already established trust with the recipient. Don’t simply say, “Would you like to meet?” Prompt the recipient to take action.
Sales pitch example #8: Party on Demand’s unconventional investor pitch
If you’re not excited about your product or service, how do you expect anyone else to be?
While delivering his Startupfest pitch, Willie G certainly didn’t lack excitement. In a room full of people pitching tech solutions, Willie pitched a unique party experience. He brought his larger-than-life personality to the stage and used it—and every moment—to his advantage.
Though not everyone has the same type of charisma, Willie G’s pitch wasn’t necessarily about him. His pitch worked because he was energetic, fun, and joyful—everything a party should be. He did something different and made an impression.
Takeaway: A bold, unconventional approach may be appropriate if it fits your personality as well as your brand’s personality. But if you’re going to “break” the sales-pitching rules, you must first know them better than anyone else and know your product or service inside and out.
Keep in mind, too, that this tactic won’t work for every product or service. Make sure that you’ve developed at least a few general branding guidelines and that the “tone” of your pitch matches your brand’s voice. You have to do your research and be confident that a big swing is the best way to attract the right kind of attention to what you have to offer.
Sales pitch example #9: Brightwheel’s personal pain-point pitch
Here’s another Shark Tank success story. At the start of his pitch, Brightwheel founder and CEO Dave Vasen shows he did his research by stating that he knows all the Shark investors are parents. He then touches on a personal pain point for parents of toddlers and pre-K children.
Vasen’s pitch highlights a pain point that every parent or guardian experiences: not knowing what their kid is doing in daycare or preschool every day. And with 1.62 million preschoolers in the U.S. alone, that’s a lot of not knowing. He relates to his audience through a shared experience—one that is especially close to the heart.
He also uses himself and his daughter as a case study, providing solid proof that the solution works. This not only appeals to the investors’ emotions but also shows them that Vasen truly believes in his product—so much so that he was able to get Brightwheel into 2,500 schools across the country.
Brightwheel ended up raising $600,000 from Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca. Since then, the company has been through several rounds of funding and is now valued at 0 million.
Takeaway: A great way to find success is to recognise a pain point that many people face and develop a solution. And instead of going deep into the technical aspects of a product, focus on the emotional, real-life benefits that come with using it.
Sales pitch example #10: Formcraft’s speedy sales pitch
Matt Macnamara of architecture firm Formcraft demonstrates that sometimes it doesn’t take more than 60 seconds to catch a prospect’s attention. In his straightforward, one-minute pitch, he explains exactly what his company can do for Philadelphia business tenants and even allows time for the listener to daydream about their ideal office space.
Although this video is an explanation of how he goes about pitching to potential clients, it also serves as a pitch in itself. Macnamara doesn’t ever bring up material or labor costs, blueprints, or details about his business. What he does do is give the audience permission to visualise what a better workspace could look like. He focuses on the benefits that Formcraft can provide rather than on the company itself.
To add more intrigue, he puts a timer in the bottom right corner of the video to prove to the viewer that he can, in fact, make an engaging pitch in only one minute. He also includes a CTA, saying he can help others create a one-minute pitch, which broadens his audience even further.
Takeaway: Practice distilling your company’s product or service down to its essence, and time yourself to stay accountable. Remember to focus on your target audience’s end goals. Highlight the benefits they’ll experience, not the details of “how” they’ll get there. You don’t want to waste time explaining the processes behind what you offer.
Sales pitch templates
Feeling inspired now? Time to take that mojo and run with it. Get started with these email templates from Zendesk’s own sales experts.
That first reply to your email is often the hardest to get, especially when you’re going in cold. These email templates will help you tailor your cold pitch to the situation.
It’s tempting to think the sales pitch is only the entry point to the deal cycle. But the truth is, you’re pitching your product or service until you close the deal. This collection of sales email templates helps you create and refine your sales pitch for each stage of the cycle—from first contact to closing.
You nailed the elevator pitch, the cold call, and the sales presentation—but what happens after will determine your success. Don’t put all this effort into your sales pitch only to send a generic follow-up. Use tailored resources (such as sales videos) and personal connections to add value. These templates will empower you to craft follow-up emails that keep the conversation going.
Use these sales pitch examples to make your own
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 the examples above into your own sales pitches. Whatever the occasion, you’ll be prepared with a compelling message anytime you need to make a pitch.
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