Learn how to write an engaging sales pitch in any format with these examples and templates from the experts.
Traditionally, a sales pitch is defined as “a talk or a way of talking that is intended to persuade you to buy something.” But here’s the thing: People don’t like to be sold to; our brains are wired to resist sales messages.
A sales pitch shouldn’t be about persuading a prospect to buy. Instead, use a sales pitch to persuade the prospect to take the next step in the sales process.
Sales pitch examples
- Adam Goldstein’s two-sentence pitch
- G2Crowd’s elevator pitch
- Mark Cuban’s phone pitch
- Ryan Robinson’s email pitch
- FollowUp’s social media pitch
- Scrub Daddy’s sales presentation
MailBox Validator’s follow-up sales pitch
What is a sales pitch?
A sales pitch is a message or script designed to lead your audience to a certain action, such as an appointment or demo. It can be formal or informal, verbal or written down. It sets the tone for the entire customer relationship.
A good sales pitch is concise and provides value to the recipient. Use it to begin a conversation, not to sell to the prospect.
The term encompasses many different types of pitches:
- One-line sales pitch
- Elevator pitch
- Phone sales pitch
- Email sales pitch
- Social media pitch
- Presentation sales pitch
- Follow-up sales pitch
You can use a combination of sales pitches for the same prospect. For example, you might give an elevator pitch at a conference and send an email pitch to a prospect before finally giving a comprehensive presentation pitch.
7 good sales pitch examples
We found seven notable examples to inspire you to craft a powerful sales pitch. These examples cover a wide variety of pitch types, but they offer lessons that you can apply to any prospect.
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 cofounder of travel-deal site Hipmunk Goldstein was struggling to get funding for his startup. He reached out to the CEO of United Airlines with the following two-sentence 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 cold email). Consider it your logline. In Hollywood, a logline is one or two sentences that explains what the movie is about. Your own logline should answer the following questions in one compelling sentence:
- What is your presentation about?
- What does your startup or product 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 clearly 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 determine 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 directly share their opinions on a product. Here's the company's elevator pitch:
“G2Crowd is the user voice platform for people to be able to say how they actually think about software and not be told by the analysts or people who don't use it, or the reference from your best customers,” the pitch begins. “You're actually hearing directly from the user and engage with people who actually use the product.”
Although less than 20 seconds long, the pitch hits the highlights of the G2 platform while explaining the problem that it solves for users.
Takeaways: Shorter is often better. It forces you to explain your product or service in layman’s terms. A short sales pitch that quickly generates interest will likely stick with a prospect longer than a rambling pitch that lists your product’s features. Notice how the pitch also hits on a significant problem for software users.
Create an elevator pitch that you can give in 20-30 seconds. Answer the following questions in your pitch: 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 product or service “eliminates insurance agents’ paper pain point,” you could instead say, “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 investor and businessman 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 up, Cuban led the charge with his sales team by getting on the phone with former season ticket holders.
“This is Mark Cuban, new owner of the Dallas Mavericks,” Cuban would say. “I know you’ve been to a game, and I just wanted to sit here and tell you we’d love to have you back.”
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 stadium. The popcorn and cheering and time with Mom or Dad, Uncle or Aunt, neighbor, etc. It was a unique experience that cost only $8 a ticket and had more valuable than going to the movies or McDonald's.
This approach worked and ticket sales began to climb. Cuban bought the Mavericks for $280 million. The team is now valued at $2.4 billion.
Takeaway: During your phone pitch, give prospects benefits, not features. Cuban didn’t promote good seats, talented team players, and tasty popcorn. Instead, he promoted a special family experience—something that he and his team knew that former ticket holders valued.
Create a phone sales-pitch script. Include the specific benefits that the person on the line will receive from your product or service. Maybe you’re a B2B company that sells sales training. Rather than listing all of the classes you offer, you could explain how your training helps reps become more confident with cold calls and emails.
Also, don’t list everything that is perfect about your product. Cuban admitted that he didn’t know if the team would play well or not. People are more apt to trust you if 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. Highlight what your product or service struggles with, but explain how you’re different from competitors.
Sales pitch example #4: Ryan Robinson’s email pitch
Content marketing consultant Ryan Robinson often contacts businesses to offers his services. However, before ever making his pitch, he finds something of value to give to the recipient, such as a share on Twitter. He then includes what he did for the recipient in his pitch.
The following email netted Robinson $10,000/m retainer in the end:
Takeaway: Your emails should provide real up-front value, Robinson says. Information about himself and his services doesn’t appear until the third paragraph. He then opens the door to chat and gives a more detailed pitch.
Oren Klaff, author of Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal, continues this idea: “What is vitally important is making sure your message fulfills two objectives: First, you don’t want your message to trigger fear alarms. And second, you want to make sure it gets recognized as something positive, unexpected, and out of the ordinary—a pleasant novelty.”
Your email pitch needs to stand out from the white noise in your prospect’s inbox. Send a guide or resource that solves a problem for your prospect. For example, maybe you see on your prospect’s website that they’re busy hiring a virtual sales team. Because you’re a human resources company, you send an ebook all about onboarding virtual employees before asking for a conversation.
Sales pitch example #5: FollowUp’s social media pitch
FollowUp shares how a colleague, Dipti Parmar, was pitching to experts and influencers for her ultimate guide on content marketing for SaaS.
Before pitching, she looked at bios on Twitter and LinkedIn to personalize her message. Take the following example of a bio of a content marketing strategist:
Karen Guglielmo clearly has to carefully manage her time and projects on a regular basis, as written in her LinkedIn bio: “Whether it’s chaos in the workplace or chaos on the home front, my passion is simplifying the complex.” Parmar took this information and wove it into her pitch to Guglielmo:
Parmar personalizes her email by offering a guide on Content Marketing for SaaS packed with actionable tips and ideas to help Guglielmo manage her content responsibilities.
Takeaway: Personalize your pitch by looking at the prospect’s LinkedIn or Twitter accounts—take 10-20 minutes to find valuable insights about the prospect. You can then reach out via social media messaging, such as InMail.
Lead with a social talking point like Parmar did, and connect your offering with the prospect’s needs. Send several of these 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 pitch presentation on season 4 of Shark Tank is worth revisiting.
The smiling sponge product received $200,000 from Shark investor Lori Greiner for a 20% stake in the company and has made more than $50 million in sales.
Takeaway: Include eye-catching visuals to accompany your sales presentation. In the example above, not only is the “Scrub Daddy” logo clearly visible, but Aaron Krause incorporates a demo with the Scrub Daddy tackling tough stains. Krause gives the Sharks a glimpse of how the product solves a common household problem.
This approach follows the tried-and-true adage, “Show, don’t tell.” For your own presentation, adding visual aids like these sales decks also makes it easier for you to tell your story about your product or service. Even adding charts, graphs, and statistic graphics can make your story more interesting for the prospect.
Sales pitch example #7: MailBox Validator’s follow-up sales pitch
A follow-up sales pitch can be a phone call, email, or even social media message. Mailbox Validator’s follow-up sales pitch was sent after meeting the 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 the sales pitch is to get the prospect to the next step (e.g., another conversation; an appointment). Janet includes a clear CTA at the end of her pitch—a phone call. She lays out a time that they can meet and puts the ball in Jim’s court.
In your follow-up pitch emails, if you’ve already established trust with the recipient, give some specific days and times for a conversation. Don’t simply say, “Would you like to meet?” Prompt the recipient to take action.
How do you write a sales pitch?
Whatever the prospect’s situation, the following framework can work for any pitch:
Lead with the problem that your audience is struggling with. Back up your claims with data and statistics, such as “Insurtech has risen 45% over the past five years, impacting how smaller insurance agencies do business.”
Detail what needs to happen to overcome the challenge.
What can your product or service offer the prospect? Share benefits, not just features.
Facts & Data
Include social proof, testimonials, and actual numbers of how your product or service has helped similar businesses.
Encourage a conversation by asking a question. Then, move the audience to the next step with a clear Call to Action, such as “Let me know if you're interested and we can get on the phone this week.”
Don’t view these bullet points as a checklist — look at them as the outline for the story you’ll weave for your prospect. Using this framework will help you turn your pitch into a compelling, organic narrative.
Steps for making a good sales pitch
Our brains resist selling, but they’re very receptive to stories. Whether you’re connecting with prospects in person, by email, by phone, ground the pitch in an interesting narrative to keep potential customers interested.
1. Reach out at the right time and get in touch with the right person
A successful sales pitch is all about timing, according to Courtney Gupta, Customer Experience Enthusiast and Former SMB Account Executive at Zendesk.
"You can have this amazing sales pitch, but the success of a sales pitch really depends on timing," she said. "Sometimes, a prospect 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."
"You can have this amazing sales pitch, but the success of a sales pitch really depends on timing."
Gupta also explained that it's critical to get 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. Whoever is signing the deal (usually VP and above) should be your target."
2. Make your prospect the hero of your sales story
The next step to delivering an effective sales pitch is crafting a story. The prospect is the hero—they have a problem 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 their happy ending.
Use your value proposition, testimonials, and data to support this story. Get creative—Troops, a revenue communications platform, created physical cards to enable storytelling in sales and help sales reps quickly find the right narrative. Other companies write detailed briefs of various sales personas to familiarize reps with different stories.
Whatever information or format you use, just make sure your sales pitch always focuses on an outcome.
"Before you make your sales pitch, find what the person can gain from the deal going forward," said Gupta. "If they're going to get a promotion at the end of this, learn how you can help them work towards that or how to set their deck up for success when they talk to their CEO. Finding out what’s at stake and what’s going to be beneficial to the person you’re selling to is important in any sales pitch."
"Before you make your sales pitch, find what the person can gain from the deal going forward."
3. Understand the customer’s needs, and personalize the solution
You can’t tell the right story if you don’t know your audience. Business buyers want sales reps to take the time to gain a firm understanding of their business—but the reality doesn’t match the expectation. Most buyers don’t believe that sales reps understand their business issues (or have a way to solve them).
Your initial sales pitch should demonstrate your dedication to learning their business, industry, and unique problems. Most kinds of sales pitches allow for some time to research the prospect ahead of time. Even just 15 minutes of research on Google News and LinkedIn will go a long way toward inspiring confidence.
Elevator pitches are a little different because you won’t know ahead of time who you’re pitching. In this scenario, stick to the principle of making the customer the hero of your story. Don’t pitch your company as “ACME Inc.—the premier provider of roadrunner traps.” Take this approach instead: “ACME Inc. gives enterprising coyotes the tools they need to solve their roadrunner problem.”
Then, use questions and active listening to turn the conversation toward the prospect’s unique needs.
"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," said 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."
"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."
4. Start your email pitches with a strong subject line
If you’re emailing your pitch, your subject line is the “once upon a time” that leads prospects into your sales story. In many ways, it’s a microcosm of your whole sales pitch.
An engaging subject line speaks to prospects on a personal level and makes it clear why it’s worth the prospect’s time to read. We analyzed sales emails from 15 different SaaS companies to identify the most effective tactics for sales subject lines. Two principles were consistent across all of them:
- 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 offering something meaningful. Ask a question that demonstrates your knowledge of their industry. Include an eye-catching statistic. Do your research, and target a personal pain point. Offer an informational (or controversial) statement.
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.
5. Keep your sales pitch short and sweet
Buyers don’t care about your product—they care about their problems. If you spend all your time with a buyer talking, it’s hard to convince them you actually care about their problems. Make your sales pitches brief in order to leave room for listening and engagement.
Keeping your pitch short also forces you to refine and concentrate your value proposition. You’re less likely to talk about irrelevant features if you’re locked into a short length.
6. Get creative
Beyond the standard sales pitch email or cold call, there are creative ways to make a sales pitch or enhance it.
"If your emails didn’t work, gifts are another avenue, said Gupta. "Gifts show your brand character. It often makes 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."
Some gift ideas Gupta recommends are:
- Company swag
- Water bottles
- Trendy technology like speakers
- Boxes of goodies
"If your emails didn’t work, gifts are another avenue. Gifts show your brand character."
The ideal sales pitch length depends on the format, of course, but here are some guidelines to get you started:
- Limit your elevator pitches to 30 seconds. Practice, and time yourself until you can hit this time. Remember: Your goal is to get the prospect to ask for more, not to sell them your product in 30 seconds.
- Target around 300 words for your emails. A study of cold sales emails found that emails with 1,400–1,500 characters (roughly 300 words) showed a substantially higher response rate than emails of 100 words or less.
- Keep your cold calls under eight minutes. Chorus, a conversation intelligence platform, found that 7.5 minutes is the average length of a cold call that converts into a next step.
- Aim for an 18 minute sales presentation. 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.”
If these limitations sound too difficult for you, the problem isn’t your chops as a salesperson—it’s your understanding of your product’s value. Once you’re confident in the benefit you bring to the table, you’ll find it much easier to keep your pitch short and engaging. Start by refining your positioning statement.
Sales pitch templates
Feeling inspired now? Time to take that mojo and run with it. These email templates from Zendesk’s own sales experts will help you get started.
That first reply to your email is often the hardest to get, especially when you’re going in cold. These email templates will help you tailor your cold pitch to the situation.
It’s tempting to think the sales pitch is only the entry point to the deal cycle. But the truth is, you’re pitching your product until you close the deal. This collection of sales email templates helps you craft and refine your sales pitch for each stage of the deal—from first contact to closing.
You nailed the elevator pitch, the cold call, the sales presentation—but what happens after will determine your success. Don’t put all this effort into your sales pitch only to send a generic follow-up. Use tailored resources (such as sales videos) and personal connections to add value. These templates will help you craft follow-up emails that keep the conversation going.
Use these sales-pitch examples to make your own
The goal of a sales pitch is to present your product or service in a way that leaves the audience wanting to know more. Incorporate approaches from these sales pitch examples into your own sales pitches. Whatever the occasion, you’ll be prepared with a compelling message anytime you need to make a pitch.
Wish you had more time to spend researching your leads and crafting the perfect pitch? Learn how Zendesk’s Sales Suite can help you cut down on busy work and get back to the work that matters.