Article | 20 min read

10 effective sales pitch examples (+ tips for writing your own)

Craft an engaging sales pitch to pack your pipeline with high-quality leads.

By Donny Kelwig, Contributing Writer

Published November 5, 2019
Last updated September 13, 2022

For the masses, the term “sales pitch” often evokes associations with overly polished, boastful presentations meant to push skeptical decision-makers toward an unnecessary purchase. That negative affiliation is backed by research—only 18 percent of buyers trust the sales reps trying to sell to them.

That’s not a very promising start to a sales relationship. And what’s even more frustrating is that most experienced salespeople will tell you that a great sales pitch is your best friend.

So, what’s the truth?

You don’t need to abandon all sales pitches—you just need to adapt your pitches so buyers don’t put up their defenses as soon as you start talking.

In this article, we’re going to discuss:

What is a sales pitch?

What is a sales pitch?, writing script on notepad

A sales pitch is a message or sales script designed to lead your prospect to a certain action, such as scheduling an appointment or demo. Sales pitches set the tone for the entire customer relationship, so getting them right is essential to successful sales.

The first step in developing a great sales pitch is changing your mindset. A sales pitch should be used to begin a conversation—not to sell a product. Keep that in mind, and your quota will thank you.

Types of sales pitches

Sales pitches are not one-size-fits-all. There are many different sales pitches depending on your product, your company, and how far along you are in the sales pipeline.

Types of sales pitches include:

  • 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 always use a combination of pitches for the same prospect. For example, you might give an elevator pitch at a conference and then follow up with an email pitch before finally delivering a comprehensive presentation pitch.

How does a product pitch differ from a sales pitch?

Product and sales pitches overlap a great deal, but they’re not exactly the same thing. A product pitch highlights a specific product and how that product can benefit the prospect. A sales pitch focuses on the prospect and tries to persuade them to buy products based on solutions to pain points.

Product pitches are usually used further down the sales pipeline, once reps already have a prospect’s trust. With a relationship established, they can focus on the details and features they didn’t have time to mention earlier.

Why is it important to have a sales pitch?

Love them or hate them, sales pitches keep you from losing opportunities. When you’re face-to-face with a prospect, the last thing you want is to get tongue-tied. Sales pitches organize your thoughts so you have a launch point for any sales conversation. They also establish brand consistency, which builds trust and leads to stronger long-term relationships and customer loyalty.

Sales pitches can also save you time—and time is money. Every pre-made pitch you send is another 30 minutes of sales productivity saved. If your reps don’t have to craft individual pitches, they can move through their tasks with more efficiency.

The 5-step sales pitch structure

With so many pitch options, it can be hard to know where to start. We recommend the five-step sales pitch structure. No matter your situation, the following framework won’t lead you astray:

  1. Problem

    Lead with the challenge that your audience is currently facing, and back up your claims with data.

  2. Solution

    Describe what needs to happen for your buyer to overcome the obstacle.

  3. Value proposition

    Explain how your product or service can help the prospect solve their problem and meet their goals. Share specific benefits to the prospect, not just features of the product.

  4. Social proof

    Tap into social proof by providing testimonials, references, and customer stories that show how your product or service has helped similar businesses succeed.

  5. Engaging question and CTA

    Continue the conversation by asking open-ended questions. Then, move the prospect to the next step with a clear call to action (CTA), such as: “Sounds like we’re on the same page. Are you free for another follow-up call next Tuesday, after you’ve had time to look at the numbers?”

Improve your sales process

A good sales process is the foundation of any successful sales organization. Learn how to improve your sales process and close more deals with this free guide.

How to make a great sales pitch

The ingredients for a well-crafted sales pitch are the narrative, timing, empathy, and creative focus. No matter where you’re pitching or what media you’re using, every sales pitch needs to get the prospect interested and excited about the opportunity you’re offering. There are several ways to do that, but let’s look at six universal best practices to start you off.

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.”

Gupta also emphasizes 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 a compelling narrative. In this story, the prospect is the hero—they have a challenge 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 a sparkling sales personality and your sales experience to weave an engaging story that makes your prospect want to know what happens next.

3. Understand the customer’s needs

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 roadblocks 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 company, 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.

“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.”

4. Start your email pitches with a strong subject line

In an email pitch, the subject line is the “once upon a time” that leads prospects into your sales story. In many ways, it’s a microcosm of your entire pitch.

An intriguing subject line speaks to prospects on a personal level and persuades them to take the time to read the message. We analyzed sales email subject lines from 15 different SaaS companies to identify the most effective tactics for writing powerful 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.

How to write a sales email: 6 sales email examples that work

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.”

Remember, there isn’t only one way to increase sales. Try different tactics until you find what works.

6. Keep 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 prospect talking about yourself and your company, it’ll be hard to convince them that you actually want to help them resolve their issues. Keep your sales pitches concise, and leave room for listening and engagement.

The ideal sales pitch length depends on the format, but here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • 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.

Sales pitch examples

Now that we’ve reviewed sales pitch best practices, let’s look at them in action. Below are 10 notable sales pitch examples to inspire you to craft a winner. These examples cover various types of sales pitches, but they offer lessons that you can apply to any prospect.

1. Two-sentence pitch
2. Elevator pitch
3. Phone pitch
4. Email pitch
5. Personalized social media pitch
6. Sales presentation
7. Follow-up sales pitch
8. Unconventional investor pitch
9. Personal pain-point pitch
10. Speedy sales pitch

Sales pitch example #1: Adam Goldstein’s two-sentence pitch

Can you summarize 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:

How to start a sales 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 organizes 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 decide if they want to hear more.

Sales pitch example #2: G2Crowd’s 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:

Although it’s less than 20 seconds long, the pitch clearly conveys the purpose of the platform while explaining the problem 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.

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, neighbors, 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 $2.7 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, highlight how your product or service will benefit the buyer. Additionally, 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. Prospects are more likely to trust you when 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 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 per month 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.

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. Try sending the prospect an ebook about onboarding virtual employees before making your pitch.

Sales pitch example #5: Personalized social media pitch on Twitter or LinkedIn

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 readily available from a quick skim or an interesting piece of content they produced.

Image source: Highspot

Takeaway: Personalize your pitch by looking at the prospect’s LinkedIn or Twitter accounts. Take 10 to 20 minutes to find valuable insights about the potential customer and their buyer persona 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 four of Shark Tank is worth revisiting:

The smiling sponge product received $200,000 from Shark investor Lori Greiner and has made more than $50 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 shows the Sharks 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.

Check out our 13 tips for a perfect, Shark Tank-worthy sales presentation.

Sales pitch examples #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 a 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 sales phone call. She suggests a time for them to talk and puts the ball in Jim’s court.

In your sales follow-up emails, always 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 well 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 voice. You must 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.

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 $600 million.

Takeaway: A great way to find success in sales is to recognize 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 visualize 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.

Use these sales pitches to craft your own

Now that you have the knowledge and insights, begin creating your own pitches. You can start from scratch or use sales enablement tools and templates to get a head start.

If you find yourself wishing you had more time to research your leads and write the perfect pitch, invest in a solution like Zendesk Sell. Our sales engagement platform helps you cut down on busywork so you can get back to building relationships. It also allows you to track sales pitch success metrics so you can keep refining your communication methods.

Request a demo of Zendesk’s industry-leading software and start perfecting your sales pitches today.

Improve your sales process

A good sales process is the foundation of any successful sales organization. Learn how to improve your sales process and close more deals with this free guide.

Improve your sales process

A good sales process is the foundation of any successful sales organization. Learn how to improve your sales process and close more deals with this free guide.

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