Refine Your Sales Pitch and Land Your Dream Customers

Remove the fluff and get right to the point when presenting your wastewater services to a potential big customer.

Refine Your Sales Pitch and Land Your Dream Customers

Patricia Fripp is a speech coach and sales presentation skills trainer. Contact her at or 415-753-6556.

Some salespeople are silly enough to think that if they talk longer, they add more value or get their point across more effectively. Actually, any prospect or potential customer for your pumping services is eager for your pitch to be presented as efficiently and memorably as possible.

You are a wastewater professional and are probably more comfortable at the job site working a hose than you are pitching for new customers. Here are eight tips to make your face-to-face sales message stand out from all the other service providers in your territory:

1. Build rapport.

In order to build rapport with a prospect, you need to connect emotionally and intellectually. Think of it this way: Logic makes you think; emotion makes you act. You connect intellectually with your logical argument through specifics and statistics, perhaps by talking about optimal pumping frequency or showing diagrams of a grease trap or septic system. You connect emotionally through eye contact, stories, content that creates a visual in the buyer’s mind, and with “you-focused” rather than “I-focused” language. This is incredibly important if you want to sell your service.

2. Make your message sound valuable.

How valuable does your message sound? Here’s an exercise to test its effectiveness: If you cold-call restaurants for grease service or event planners for portable sanitation, rehearse your sales presentation and time it. Or, if it is very important, consider transcribing it.

3. Remove fluff and fillers.

Here is a real-life example: Barbara was a sales manager at a convention hotel. A professional association was debating whether to bring its convention to her city. Barbara was a great salesperson one-on-one, but she was facing a group sales presentation. “I’m very nervous,” she confesses to herself, “How do I sell to so many people?” Thinking through the these eight tips, her internal conversation went something like this:

4. “How much time do you have?”

“Eight minutes.”

 5. “Who is in your audience?”

“A convention committee from the association. About 10 people.”

 6. “What is your key idea?”

“What are you actually selling?” Barbara determines, “It isn’t my hotel, because if they come to this city, they’ll definitely use our hotel. I guess I’m selling the city because they are seriously considering a nearby town, too.”

Then she asked herself a question that rarely gets asked: “How much is it worth to my hotel if I get their business? Half a million dollars,” she knew. So, she grabbed her calculator. “Let’s see. Half a million dollars divided by eight minutes. That’s $1,041.66 a second, even when you pause.”

Thinking back on her old opening, Barbara took a deep breath and began: “Well, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you’re enjoying our hospitality. I know …” and she was off on a stream of platitudes.

7. Don’t be polite; get to the point.

“That’s polite,” she thinks when she finishes, “and that’s not a bad habit, but I don’t have much time. They know who I am because I’ve been entertaining them. They know where they are. Make it about them.”

So, Barbara revamped her opening to this: “Welcome, and thank you for the opportunity to host you. In the next eight minutes, you are going to discover why the best decision you can make for your members and your association is to bring your convention to this city and this hotel.”

Then she says, “The other city is a magnificent destination, and you should definitely go there in the future. However, this year you should come to this city because …” Then she listed the specific reasons.

This is an emotional opening because it’s “you-focused.” And since you never knock your competition, it’s smart to acknowledge that the other city is fabulous. She connected emotionally with her audience, and the logical specifics connected them intellectually.

8. Logic sells, but close on emotion.

Continue your presentation with logical incentives, but end with emotion. Remember that last words linger, and your goal is to be memorable. Barbara closed with this: “Imagine years from now when your attendees are sitting around a convention lobby reminiscing about the best conventions they’ve ever attended, and they talk about their experiences in this city at this hotel. And you’ll know you were part of that experience because you were on the planning committee.”


You now have eight tips that add value to your words and make your message memorable. Use Barbara’s model of how to connect emotionally in the beginning and end of a presentation and connect intellectually in between. Plus, you will be making your words sound more valuable.

Good luck! Persuasive presentations give you a competitive edge.


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