SIMAC method: Build your sales pitch

How to build a sales argument - The SIMAC method

Corentin Malissin
5 March 2022 - 5 min reading
Updated December 7, 2023

Building your sales pitch is essential to your success.

The SIMAC method is a presentation method that has proven highly effective in commercial and business contexts. The method is inspired by Procter & Gamble's persuasive sales format (Ariel, Swiffer, Gilette, etc.).

It also applies to the retail sector, and helps field sales staff in their sales negotiations.

The method helps you create a sales pitch in five successive steps, which we'll go through in turn.

What is the SIMAC method?

The SIMAC method, an acronym for Situation, Idea, Mechanism, Advantages, Conclusion, is a structured and proven sales technique. Initially designed to structure sales presentations, it has evolved to adapt to a variety of sales contexts.

  • The Situation involves establishing the customer's context. This helps personalize the approach.
  • TheIdea aims to engage the customer, by proposing an offer or idea that arouses their interest.
  • The Mechanism involves presenting a product tailored to the customer's needs.
  • The Advantages highlight how the product specifically meets the identified needs.
  • The Conclusion is the call to action, prompting the customer to make a decision.

In supermarkets, it can help area managers to structure their sales pitch to department heads or store managers. Each step helps you to communicate more effectively and to position yourself as an advisor, rather than just a salesperson.

We'll take a closer look at each step in the SIMAC method.

The 5 steps of the SIMAC method

The Situation

This is the part where you state the key elements of the context. You need to understand the specific context of the department or store.

To convince your customer, these elements must be indisputable facts or questions commonly raised.‍

To make your case, choose key elements that your customer can't disagree with or argue with. For example, assess sales trends, operational challenges, consumer preferences or business objectives, and base your pitch on reliable data, previous analysis in your brand, etc.

Explain your hypothesis clearly, so that your entire presentation is built on a solid foundation.

It's important to personalize your relationship with your customer. A Forrester study shows that 33% of sales are lost when salespeople don't personalize their approach to the customer's context.

To make your presentation even more powerful, select your facts so that the idea you present in the next step is a natural response to the situation. Your customer should naturally imagine the idea as you state your facts. The aim is to identify the environment in which the product will be sold, so as to adapt the offer to the store's specific needs.

Example situation: You're a sales representative looking to sell your new product range to a major customer.

The idea

This is where you provide the solution to the problem raised in the previous step. State your idea concisely. Concentrate on the essentials. Your idea must be quickly understandable. For example, propose a new product range, a marketing strategy or a specific innovation that can increase the attractiveness or performance of the department, store or even the brand!

You need to be able to state your strategy and summarize your idea in one or two sentences. The simpler the sentence, the better. Think of it as a sales pitch.

This stage involves actively interacting with the customer to understand their motivations. According to a HubSpot survey, 69% of buyers want salespeople to listen to their needs. So open your ears.

Here's a sample idea:
Customer reluctance: Although familiar with your products, the customer is not keen on listing a whole new range. They're afraid they won't meet their sales targets and won't have enough shelf space to implement the operation.
The reluctance phase often occurs between the situation and the idea.
Idea: Make an attractive proposal to the customer, suggesting the idea of organizing a special operation to maximize sales. You propose an optimized shelf layout and a special event to achieve the customer's objectives.

The Mechanism

Explain how you're going to implement your idea. Justify the feasibility and credibility of your product. The aim is to explain in concrete terms how your product can be put on the shelf. This may include details on logistics, shelf placement, merchandising requirements, or how the product fits in with existing items.

Explain how you intend to achieve your goals. If you already have an action plan, this is the place to state it. If not, you should explain in detail how and with what means you intend to achieve your idea.

Remember tobe realistic in terms of feasibility, otherwise your whole idea will lack credibility. It is suggested that you use quantitative data here, such as the timeframe and resources needed, costs, which will give weight to your action plan and make your work more credible. It will also make it easier to act on your plan.

Example of a Mechanism: Organize an event on a busy day, with product tasting and distribution of discount vouchers.

Advantages

This is where you highlight all the benefits to the client and the positive outcome of your idea. Detail the positive impact your idea will have on the issues and facts mentioned in the first SIMAC "situation" step.

Here you will detail the impact your idea will have on your customers or on your business, depending on the objective of your strategy. Some examples of benefits could be: higher turnover, better margin, gain in market share, better customer satisfaction, higher average basket, etc.

Again, where possible, provide quantitative data. Your benefits will be much more convincing if they are quantified. And again, this will make the decision easier.

And finally, personalize your approach: according to a Salesforce study, 84% of customers say the most important aspect of a sale is to be treated like a person, not a number. So it's crucial to emphasize personalized benefits.

Example of Benefits: The new range generates shelf appeal. It is easy to sell and has a knock-on effect on other products in the aisle.

Conclusion

This is your call to action. This step is designed to encourage the floor manager to make a decision. It's important, especially as 92% of sales meetings end without a call to action, which significantly reduces the chances of closing a sale (according to Rain Group).

Define your next steps or clear, simple actions, so that your (now convinced) customer knows what he needs to do to continue.

This is the conclusion of your presentation. You've now shared your hypotheses, stated your idea, explained its mechanism and assessed its impact. Now it's time to ask your audience (customer, manager...) for their approval/decision.

Clearly indicate the type of response you expect from them: whether it's an acceptance or rejection decision, an allocation of resources, etc. It's also a good idea to explain your next steps and timetable, to give them a medium-term vision of how your strategy will be deployed.

Example of ‍Conclusion: You propose to the customer to place an order on the same day for an exclusive set-up of the operation. The customer will then have exclusive access to the new range.

How to use the SIMAC method in supermarkets?

In the context of mass retailing, the SIMAC method is particularly effective for area managers looking to sell a product or innovation to a floor manager.

Here's how this method can be applied in practice:

  1. Situation: The area manager begins by assessing the department manager's current situation. He or she learns about the department's sales trends, challenges and customer expectations. This step involves active listening to fully understand the store's business environment, and adapt the customer approach.For example, if the department manager expresses concern about declining sales in a specific category, the area manager can use this information to adapt his sales pitch.
  2. Idea: At this stage, the department manager presents his product or innovation as a solution to the problems he has identified. For example, if the department manager is faced with a lack of diversity in his offer, the new product can be presented as an opportunity to broaden the assortment and attract a different clientele. Your aim is to optimize sales, but so is the floor manager's. Advise him/her on the best way to achieve this. Advise him on the best way to achieve this.
  3. Mechanism: Here, the sector manager presents his product or innovation as a solution adapted to the problems identified. He highlights how the product can attract more customers, increase sales or improve the diversity of the offer in the department. This presentation must be concrete, with data or examples of similar success stories in other stores.
  4. Benefits: This phase is crucial. The area manager must clearly outline the benefits of the product, not only in terms of sales, but also in terms of added value for the store, such as improved brand image or customer loyalty. For example, if the product is an eco-friendly innovation, he might highlight how it could attract environmentally conscious customers.
  5. Conclusion: Finally, the area manager concludes by encouraging the department manager to make a decision. This could take the form of a proposal to test the product in certain departments, or a presentation of the marketing plan for the product launch. The aim is to give the floor manager every reason to say "yes".

By applying the SIMAC method in this way, the area manager can create a bespoke sales pitch that specifically addresses the needs and challenges of the department manager in supermarkets.‍


How to integrate it into your CRM?

Integrating the SIMAC method into your CRM enables you to refine each step based on concrete data. Because an example is worth a thousand words, let's take a concrete example.


You're a brand selling organic soft drinks. Your area manager visits your gold stores to sell your innovation, which you hope will meet the growing consumer demand for healthier, natural and environmentally friendly beverage options:

  • Situation: the area manager uses CRM to analyze historical sales data and consumption trends specific to the store. He identifies that the soft drinks department has seen a drop in sales;
  • Idea: Based on history, it proposes to introduce a new range of organic drinks (your innovation) to meet growing consumer demand for healthier, eco-responsible products;
  • Mechanism: The Area Manager explains the marketing plan for the product, including logistics, merchandising and promotions. His CRM helps plan and organize promotional activities, and coordinate marketing efforts with other departments;
  • Advantages: It presents data from other similar stores (same geographical area or stratum) in which the inno is already implemented, such as an increase in sell-out. It can, for example, present him with a report on the evolution of checkouts or ordering;
  • Conclusion: The Area Manager concludes by recommending a trial of the product in a few stores, with a performance evaluation after one month. He uses his CRM to place the order and notes a reminder to visit the store at the end of the trial.

Now you are ready to apply the SIMAC method!

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