Sales Pitch: How To Create the Perfect Sales Pitch

An easel with a blank board against a blue background.

If a single factor distinguishes successful sales reps from mediocre ones, it’s an ability to turn interest into action. The secret sauce is the sales pitch: a conversation perfectly tailored to your audience that conjures a problem—and a convenient, compelling solution—all within a few minutes. 

Mastering the art of the winning sales pitch takes time and practice, and a willingness to switch up your approach for each new prospect. This article unpacks the hallmarks of a successful sales pitch and explains how to craft one yourself.

What is a sales pitch?

A sales pitch is a streamlined sales presentation that delivers key points quickly and clearly, in person, by email, or over the phone. A perfect sales pitch captures the audience's attention, piques their curiosity, and leaves a positive impression, in—on average—one to three minutes. It’s a tall order, which is why sales teams invest so much time in workshopping them. 


Types of sales pitches

Sales pitches are contextual—how a pitch sounds and what it contains depends on who’s hearing it, where they’re hearing it, and why. Shape your pitch accordingly.

For example, an inbound lead—say, someone who has read a white paper on your site or stopped by your booth at a trade show—has shown interest and is likely familiar with your offering. An outbound pitch, like a cold call, requires more of an introduction—and an awareness of how it may interrupt the recipient’s day. 

Here are a few sales pitch examples:

The elevator pitch

The initial sales pitch is often called the “elevator pitch.” Elevator pitches get their name from how long it should take you to make your case. Were you in an elevator with a potential customer, you’d need to fit an entire pitch into the amount of time it takes to reach the lobby. Any longer, and your framing is likely too complicated.

The cold call

Cold calling—contacting someone without a prior introduction or relationship—is an essential piece of the pitching puzzle and a cornerstone of sales training. You’ll hear a fair amount of “no” before you get a “yes,” so pitching to strangers over the phone is an excellent opportunity to hone your sales pitch. 

A direct, concise approach works best in situations like this, but try not to read directly from a script if you have one. Instead, think of it as an outline and infuse your pitch with a friendly, natural tone; invite conversation rather than put a prospect on the spot. You can personalize even the most generic pitch with a quick Google or LinkedIn search. 

The follow-up pitch

A follow-up pitch is essentially a follow-up email: a gentle reminder summarizing your initial outreach. Include the top-level details for easy at-a-glance reading, and reiterate your call to action, whether it’s a specific question or a meeting to learn more.

The product pitch

A product pitch differs from a generic sales pitch by focusing on a specific product or service and may include more details about features or applications.

How to create a good sales pitch

  1. Know your target audience
  2. Choose your opening line
  3. Start with the problem
  4. Speak about how you bring value
  5. Provide proof points
  6. End with a question
  7. Know the roadmap

There’s a popular saying in sales: People are more likely to solve for pain than prevention. Whether it helps to think in terms of the painkillers-versus-vitamins analogy attributed to venture capitalist Kevin Fong or the “what, how, why” of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle model, framing a pitch around solutions and values ultimately goes further than plain transactions or aspirations. 

Here’s how to build a well-structured sales pitch:

1. Know your target audience

Before you begin to build your pitch, devote some time to research. The better you understand your target market, the more accurate and interesting your pitch will be to potential customers. Effective sales pitches are about the potential buyer, not the seller. They’re more likely to consider what you’re selling if they feel understood.

Part of building your pitching skills involves an awareness of jargon—specifically, when it hurts or helps your bid. Using industry terminology correctly can signal you know what you’re talking about, but save the data and metrics for the sales decks.

2. Choose your opening line

An effective sales pitch begins like a great conversation: in an open-ended and curious fashion. How you position your reason for reaching out establishes the tenor of the interaction to follow. 

If you’re pitching over email, this is where your eye-catching subject line comes in; for broad pitches aimed at a group rather than an individual, try to distill the heart of your pitch into a single phrase to catch a prospect’s attention.

3. Start with the problem

Starting with a problem doesn’t have to mean a cheesy “Don’t you hate it when …” opener. It’s about providing context for your solution. Use it as an opportunity to insert your research: What challenge is your prospect’s industry facing? 

4. Speak about how you bring value

Now’s the moment to hint at your “what” and “why.” Speak to what you offer and how it solves the problem above.

Speaking of value, skip pricing details. Nothing gets a prospect’s hackles up like talk of pricing and budget. In general, leave financial information out of your introductory pitch. 

If they ask, navigate with honesty: If you’re selling a service or product that’s a more significant investment, providing a framework or range can be a helpful way to address barriers upfront. Not every lead is worthwhile, and sometimes a pitch uncovers this.

5. Provide proof points

Brief customer testimonials can be helpful here, especially if your testimonial comes from a mutual connection or shows your value against a competitor. Just remember to keep your sales pitch short. 

Depending on the setting or the complexity of your ask, it can be tough to keep things short, but a concise sales pitch respects your audience’s time and helps you surface the most pertinent parts of your message. If things go well, you’ll have plenty of time to get into the details later.

6. End with a question

After you’ve said your piece, it’s their turn. End with an open question that allows them to elaborate further on anything you’ve mentioned, schedule time to learn more, or ask their own questions. 

7. Know the roadmap

While it won’t appear in the initial pitch, be prepared to speak to what comes next in the buying process if they ask. What does it take to get started if they’re interested in the next steps?

Cold call template

A winning sales pitch can get a prospective customer in the door to kick-start the sales process. Customize this template for a one-minute pitch.

Hi [prospect’s name], this is [your name] calling from [company name]. 

[Ask for permission] Do you have a couple of minutes to talk?

[Reason for call] The reason I’m calling is [research/reason that informs why you’re calling, i.e., I saw {company} just closed a round/You’ve been promoted to VP/You’ve invested in XYZ/I noticed in the press release you’re focusing on XYZ, etc.].

[What you do] Our company specializes in ABC, and we’ve seen XYZ [findings/results].

[Question that reflects the reason for the call, what your product offers, or sparks further interest] Is that something your team is looking to solve for?

Sales pitch FAQ

How should a sales pitch be structured?

Most successful sales pitches start with an opening line crafted around a pain point. While this might not feel like the most upbeat of approaches, opening with a problem provides a neat segue to your unique value proposition. Show how you’ve helped others in the past with quick and relevant customer stories. Finally, wrap up with a question that invites their perspective.

How long should a sales pitch be?

The general consensus is that pitch length should fall between one and three minutes. The best way to gauge pace is to read your draft aloud and time yourself speaking at a normal (even slightly slowed down) rate. Note where your energy stalled or where you stumbled over the delivery. Make edits and time yourself again.

How do you tailor a sales pitch to different types of audiences?

A sales pitch works when you reach the right audience. Tailor your pitch to match the formality, subject matter, and timing of each interaction. Craft variations for different scenarios, providing advanced insights for a refined audience and a simplified summary for the general public.

Should you use visuals or slides in your sales pitch?

Reserve visuals and slides for more in-depth sales presentations. A sales pitch is your opening salvo—the hook and the summation, all in one. Introduce yourself and your product to potential customers; the details you include should be strong enough to stand independently.