The Personal Touch: How to Enhance Your Relatability in Sales Pitches
Author: Eleni Hagen
Anyone will tell you that grabbing buyer attention is key. But successful sales reps will likely tell you that keeping buyer attention is even more essential.
With this in mind, it’s crucial to remember one of the most immediate ways to capture and sustain buyer interest is to relate to your audience directly –– without any added pretense or showmanship. In fact, a natural tone and accessible approach can amount to a kind of superpower when harnessed appropriately.
But how do you maintain relatability in a high-tech world that feels increasingly impersonal?
The simple answer is to leverage the art of storytelling. Though studies have shown that we may be inclined to resist sales pitches or obvious “selling” techniques, we’re actually highly receptive to stories that follow an interesting narrative arc. Similarly, sellers have also observed that, when a story is engaging enough, it can humanize a brand and make it accessible to audiences on a personal level. And it turns out that B2B buyers are 50% more likely to make a purchase when they believe a product has inherent personal value rather than corporate value. One of your primary tasks in sales, then, should be to spend time carefully crafting narratives that incorporate an immediate, humanizing personal touch.
The following tips provide ways to build and enhance your narratives, as well as a few thoughts on how to boost your sales pitch relatability factor and make your outreach efforts as compelling and relevant as possible.
Get to know your buyers using tech solutions
Before you begin constructing a relatable sales narrative, you need to know exactly who your buyer actually is. Only when you have a sense of your ideal buyer’s personality, history, pain points, interests, and desires will you be able to develop a narrative that speaks to them clearly and effectively. Some modern-day methods for getting to know your buyers involve:
- Employing analytics via a sales enablement platform to gain visibility into your previous buyers’ engagement with sales materials. This will give you a sense of the kinds of stories and messaging that have worked well and achieved actionable results in the past –– a helpful barometer for gauging buyer emotions in the future.
- Working with your marketing team to conduct one-on-one interviews or surveys –– depending on the size of your operation and your prospect pool –– and making an effort to understand your buyers’ personal needs and concerns.
- Leveraging buyer profiles based on data your marketing team has collected from interviews and analysis. These buyer “templates” can serve as your imaginary audience when customizing pitches as they can provide you with evidence-based guidance on what will land and what won’t.
Remind buyers that you’re a human, too
Once you’re ready to create a narrative-based pitch, it’s essential to start from a place of humanity. Remember that, when broken down into its essentials, B2B sales really amounts to humans communicating with other humans. Being a human is your greatest asset. Don’t be afraid to use it. Tips for infusing your pitch with a human touch include:
- Adding personality to your materials. Wherever appropriate, inject a bit of humor, sympathy, or joy into your narratives. You can even include a few tasteful emojis to get your point across if they fit your brand’s voice.
- Personalizing emails and outreach using specialized tech. This may sound like the very opposite of the “human touch,” but we promise it isn’t. A variety of tech tools can be leveraged to help speak to your buyers in a more direct way, allowing you to refer to them by name or dynamically adjust to their engagement history (so they’ll be less likely to receive the wrong email or be bothered with ineffectual repeat information).
- Humanizing your company narrative by focusing on more intimate stories involving an employee or a satisfied buyer. Gather materials that feature narratives from people who know your product well and have provided their own personal spin on what you have to offer. Share them with your buyers (and if you have a story of your own, use it!). Prospects will most likely appreciate the authenticity and be more inclined to listen.
When in doubt, meet your buyers on common ground
One of the quickest routes to building a human connection through narrative is to include events, observations, and emotions that are easily recognizable. We recommend using your powers of empathy to help personalize your pitches even further. Try:
- Thinking about your buyers’ unique challenges. Once you’ve gotten to know your prospects via buyer engagement analytics, consider the types of roadblocks they face. Try and leverage sales materials that emphasize similar frustrations and position your product as a unique solution.
- Modifying the above process for other easily translatable emotions such as excitement or annoyance, and finding ways in which your company can celebrate or commiserate with your buyer.
- Keeping things as real as possible. If your story calls for emotion, allow your emotions to shine through. If your story exposes flaws, don’t gloss over them — own them. Genuine is always better than flashy.
Use different tones for different people
Every story is unique, and no two buyers are the same. With each new pitch/story, you should ask yourself, “Who makes up my exact audience?” and then adjust your messaging accordingly. A few tips for remaining flexible when it comes to tone include:
- Letting your buyer profiles determine the language you use. If your ideal buyers are unfamiliar with the nuances of software, be sure to cut back on the technobabble. Similarly, if your buyers crave educational content, make sure your stories include impactful metrics as well as an informative tone.
- Adapting your medium, not just your words. For example: You can add videos, infographics, and other visual media to pitches to accommodate buyers who are more inclined to skim, or who are looking to grasp information quickly (rather than digest info on an in-depth level).
- Taking advantage of AI. With AI on your side, your messaging is less likely to miss its mark because it will be uniquely catered to your buyers’ tastes. A comprehensive sales enablement platform will come outfitted with features for AI-powered content recommendations to help you find the right content at the right time.
- Striving for a human voice that places easy communication over pretense or condescension –– no matter the specific tone or format.
Remember: Brevity is the soul of wit
As you go about weaving your narratives, it’s always useful to take a cue from Shakespeare and keep things simple. You may think your story is the most interesting in the world, but your buyers might see things differently. Stay on-message and avoid misguided ramblings by:
- Cutting out unnecessary embellishments or extraneous comments that delay the point. Talking about the many detailed benefits of your product is great. Talking about these details when your buyer just wants to hear about pricing is less great.
- Steering clear of anything that disrupts the flow of communication. An archaic word like “forthwith” or “heretofore” may sound impressive, but it may also sound jarring to your audience and can potentially take them out of your narrative.
- Leveraging tech tools such as Grammarly or the Hemingway Editor app that can help you keep things as succinct as possible and warn you if you’re getting too far off track. These can prevent quick interactions such as follow-up emails from becoming too long, too complicated, or too difficult to read.
Stories are a human constant. It makes sense that narratives are a crucial part of getting people to listen. And given our collective tendency to try and identify our own experiences in the stories
we encounter, it’s easy to see how relatable narratives stand a good chance of having a lasting effect. In sales, your goal should be to remain as relatable as possible, no matter the product or situation. And a thoughtful combination of technology, earnest communication, empathy, and flexibility –– plus a little bit of syntactical style –– can help you do just that.
Eleni Hagen is a content strategist for Highspot, the industry’s most advanced sales enablement platform that helps organizations close the loop across marketing, sales, and customers.