Expert Advice: How to be Credible During A Virtual Sales Pitch

BY Kathy Crosett
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Before you're allowed to present to a prospect, they have already studied and discussed about you and your organization. Based on what a potential buyer discovers about you online, you can either earn credibility or they'll move on. Here’s how to boost the chances of being asked to make a sales pitch to a buyer.

How to be Credible Before Your Sales Pitches

In a new report, the Neuroscience of Credibility, B2B Decision Labs analysts decipher how to excel when you get the opportunity to make your virtual sales pitch.

The first step to making it happen is understanding when the process for the sales begins. Back in the day, sales professionals believed it started when they first reached out to a prospect. In today’s digital age, we know better. If you want buyers to consider you a solutions provider, you must have credibility from the beginning of the prospect’s buying process. As C. Lee Smith, SalesFuel CEO, says, “Sellers no longer make the first impression on buyers. LinkedIn and Google do.”

Our proprietary research shows that 63% of decision-​makers research sales professionals on Google, LinkedIn, or social media before taking a meeting or call with them. So if you still need to update your profile, it's time to do so and start making posts regularly. With so many buyers checking you out online, “You should craft your LinkedIn profile to impress them instead of your next employer,” advises Smith.

In addition to maintaining an active professional social media presence, you must continue to build credibility after you and the prospect connect. A key way to provide value is to ask the right questions during the discovery process. The buyer has agreed to talk with you and gave you a chance for a sales pitch because they think you have a solution to their problem.

Don’t disappoint them by asking questions you should already know the answers to. A thorough review of their business and industry will give you enough information to understand major strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Part of the sales process is researching their industry and place in that industry in detail, which will give you enough information to put together a game-​changing presentation.

Who Should Present?

When measuring how buyers respond to presentations, B2B Decision Labs analysts placed an EEG (electroencephalogram) cap on B2B professionals. Researchers also recorded eye movement and heart rate during the presentation. By doing so, they monitored changes in the subjects as they watched an online presenter give the best sales pitch, complete with slides.

Specifically, the researchers were observing whether viewers felt excited, annoyed, sad, or relaxed, among other emotional states. An aspect of the purchase process the researchers wanted to understand was whether buyers responded better to one seller or a two-​seller team, such as a sales rep and an engineer, during a formal presentation. 

Many of today’s sales processes involve the use of technology, which means buyers want to understand the nuances of a solution and how it will interface with legacy systems. In addition, a credible sales engineer can help boost buyers’ confidence in the proposed solution.

Based on the buyers’ response in the B2B Decision Labs study, analysts concluded that the best outcomes resulted from watching one presenter with good speaking skills. Furthermore, they reported — “If you must include one speaker with subpar skills, assign that person to start the sales pitch presentation so that the audience is in a positive state of mind at the end.”

The Power of Introductions

How often have you introduced yourself to the other attendees in a virtual sales meeting? Possibly too many times to count. Do these introductions make a difference to buyers?

Researchers analyzed buyer responses to various styles of introductions in virtual sales pitch meetings. They found buyers were more engaged when each participant stated their name and job title. However, the engagement level dropped when participants went on to include other details “such as additional responsibilities and goals for the call.”

Virtual Sales Pitches and Sales Credibility

Our proprietary research reveals that sales professionals rank at the bottom of the credibility list compared to other professionals, such as physicians or teachers. The good news is you can do something about your credibility. It starts with maintaining your online reputation. And once you have a chance to make a virtual sales pitch, limit what you say when introducing yourself. Instead, put your energy into a polished presentation.

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