What great sales pitches can teach you about packaging design

by | Jul 9, 2019 | Packaging Design


Lets face it your pack on shelf is your “silent salesperson”. Therefore doesn’t it make sense to garner knowledge of what great sales pitches can teach us about packaging design.

Designing a pack that sells in an over crowded shelf

This is especially true when it comes to designing a pack that sells in an over crowded shelf category (Which ones aren’t:)).

Therefore one of the best things you can do as a Brand Marketer is to watch great sales pitch examples and unpack their methods and apply them to your packaging design. 

I recently read a great email from one of the top direct sales marketers in the world today, Andy Jenkins. In his email he unpacks an example of both a poor and a great retail sales pitch.

Andy Jenkins - Co Founder of Karta

Andy Jenkins – Co Founder of Karta

5 key elements of a great sales pitch

It seems Andy’s computer mouse was acting kinda weird, so he went to the store to get himself a new one.

So there I was, looking over what they had in stock, and I kind of had my eye on one possible replacement. 

I asked one seemingly knowledgeable sales rep about the specs of this particular mouse, hoping he’d say something I’d like to hear and finally, successfully, convince me to purchase it.

He really sucked at it, big time. 

He had the personality of a stump and did nothing in terms of actually promoting the product in any appreciable way. Listening to the sales rep ramble on about the specifications wasn’t even pleasant, let alone convincing enough to make me buy anything. 

I ended up not buying anything from that store.” 

sales pitch elements

Packaging design lesson 1

  • Does your pack ramble on about all of it’s wonderous benefits and features?
  • When looking at the packs on the shelf surrounding your own product, does your pack blend or does it stand out?
  • Does the pack “compellingly convince” the targeted consumer to take it home and give it a try?

1. Get their Attention

So Andy went to another store to buy his mouse and was met by a completely different experience. The first step of any sales pitch is to GARNER ATTENTION. The fact is how else would anyone buy anything if their attention hasn’t been caught? 

As  Andy goes on to say: “When it comes to getting attention, I’m not just talking about the usual “Hey, how are you? Would you like to buy something?” introduction. No. By this, I mean drawing a person’s attention to what you’re marketing or selling. 

This is done with a good opening line, a catchy statement, or a very provocative headline.

Remember: you’re marketing, they’re buying. They don’t owe it to you to give you their attention.” 


Packaging design lesson 2

  • Reset your mindset. Lets be honest….as a Brand marketer we need the consumer more than they need you! This means that when you consider your on shelf silent salesperson, you must start thinking this way. 
  • First impression counts. In sales ones opening line is the the very first thing the customer gets to see. First impressions count!  Sometimes these frst impressions can end up being the sum total of what the customer thinks, therefore it has to be OUTSTANDING! 
  • Persuasive. Don’t go for half-baked. Make sure your silent sales pack is at it’s absolute best to make a very good impression and thereby create the opening it needs for delivering it’s persuasive sales message.

2. Identify the need

Here’s Andy again as he unpacks his second sales experience. I’m sure you’ll be able to relate.

identifying the need

I was so glad when the sales person from the second store didn’t come up to me while I was browsing their display for a replacement mouse and ask me, “So, you’re looking to buy a mouse?” 

If they had, I would have probably retorted with, “Oh, no, I want to adopt a puppy. Of course, I’m looking to buy a mouse! That’s why I’m in this section!” 

The guy opened with, “So, are you looking for a pointing device for designing purposes or just one for general use? I ask because I noticed you seemed to be looking for something in particular…

Packaging design lesson 3

Notice what the retail salesperson did in this example.

  • He saw Andy browsing through all the displays, and this told the salesperson that he was looking for something specific. He saw I had a need and tried to identify it.  
  • Does your pack design clearly spell out the specific need your product solves?
  • Consumers enjoy being seen as individuals with individual problems and that you have created a product just for them.
  • The pack needs to position itself in such a way that your target audience sees that you know their needs and this product is the solution to it.

3. Create interest

Andy:” What the sales person did next was really quite good. 

He addressed my need and directed my attention to some possible solutions they had in stock. He showed me a mouse designed for rapid and heavy clicking, the type one needs when playing games a lot. 

Then, he showed me a pointing device, built for designers, with a very accurate pointing capability that’s good for tracing outlines and stuff like that. 

After that, he showed me another mouse crafted with a unique contour to it, supposedly designed to allow a comfortable, ergonomic, resting surface for your hand as you click away for long periods of time.

The last model he offered is a model best suited to people with joint problems, or even those of advanced age, but are still cool enough to spend lots of time in front of the computer.” 

Packaging design lesson 4

  • The seller presented the solution in a very polite and creative way, implying a possible infirmity, without making the customer feel uncomfortable.
  • The product packs messaging must speak to your target customers, meeting them where they are at in the Nescience Loop©”.

    Knowing what your audience knowsThe Nescience Loop© is the unconscious buying framework that consumers go through when they are shopping. This framework allows brand managers to identify what level of sophistication their target consumers are in, so they can ensure the product pack (on the shelf) is aligned with the consumer’s needs.

  • Specific needs related messaging is essential in great sales pitches and can teach us a lot about effective packaging design.


4. Testimony

Andy really appreciated the fact that he was shown evidence that other people like the products. Testimony is a great underutilised selling technique which are included in great sales pitches. 

The mouse designed specifically for gaming had a written testimony from someone who appeared to be a particularly adept gamer. 

I’m sure the young bucks, closer in age to the guy who did the testimony, could relate strongly to what he wrote. Popularity and testimonies are a powerful combination and are a favorite tool in marketing strategies of all sorts.” 


Packaging design lesson 5

  • Consumers tend to believe what others say about the product. Which is no secret to marketers and why they look to get “influencer or celebrity endorsements. 
  • Testimonies are extemely effective and yet not often used as a packaging design sales tool. Testimonies build trust and help you grease the sales wheels much more than without having them.

5. Engaging

A great buying experience ideally should include engagement: “the ownership experience“.

buying experience

Andy relates the final part of his purchasing experience again demonstrating how great sales pitches can teach us about packaging design.

So, the salesperson allowed me to try a few of the pointing devices, some on the application or purpose that they were specifically designed for (I actually enjoyed the one for games, but I did my best to hide it). 

This experiential stage allowed me to get more engaged so that I could come to a more educated decision as to what type of mouse I wanted to purchase.”

Packaging design lesson 6

  • Does the product pack call the consumer to engage with it on the shelf?
  • Does the pack in some way encourage engagement: “the pick me up and try me experience“.
  • Does your packaging design covertly “work in” simple sales techniques into the design?

In Conclusion

No doubt as an experience Brand marketer you can easily see how the ideas above point to marketing psychology.

Theat said, in addition to being simple theories about how the mind responds to a particular stimulus, the above points, whilst “simple” and supposedly common sense,  they are practical and proven sales strategies that work. Somehow though we get caught up in the “design” and forget that the pack has to stand on its own and sell its little heart out.