Have you ever gotten a call from a telemarketer who talks right over you when you say you’re busy? Then you know what being on the receiving end of a bad sales pitch feels like. It certainly doesn’t put you in a buying mood.

But it can be hard to strike the right note when you’re making a sales pitch. If you’re too timid, you might not close a sale, and sometimes customers need a gentle nudge.

So how do you strike the right note? Try these strategies.

Pay attention to cultural cues.

If you come from a part of the country where people tend to do everything quickly, you may come off as pushy if you speak at your usual cadence to someone who lives in an area where the pace is slower. To avoid making a bad impression on a prospect or client, make a conscious effort to slow down, breathe and match the client’s cadence.

Let the people you’re pitching set the tone for the conversation. If they want to spend some time on small talk, don’t rush them through it so you can get to your PowerPoint. Even the best presentation won’t sell them on anything if you come off as rude. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to deliver your pitch if you make the right impression up front.

Think of yourself as a resource.

It’s easier to sell a product or service your customers actually need than one that you are offering simply to drive revenue. The more you get to know your clients and understand what will make their lives easier, the easier it will be to approach them with products and services they would like to hear about.

Let’s say you’re an accountant. Rather than pushing your B2B clients to go on retainer, send them regular emails mentioning impending tax deadlines and offer your help in resolving any tax-related questions. If you provide good advice on a regular basis, it will probably occur to them to ask you about your retainer fees. Having them approach you takes any possibility of pushiness out of the equation and will make it a lot easier to close the deal.

Remind clients of your successful collaborations.

When you’ve really delivered for a client, simply mentioning the wins you’ve achieved together can help you set the right tone in a pitch. For instance, if you run a social media agency and you just helped a client get a lot of Twitter followers in a month, you might open a conversation by saying, “Wow—congrats on the 400 Twitter followers who signed up last month. Our team was really excited to help you build the account, and we’re thrilled people are responding so well to your message. If you’re ready to try other social media like Facebook, let us know.”

A pitch like that will seem a lot less desperate and pushy than one where you say, “We know we’re off to a slow start on Twitter—a couple of our team members have been on vacation—but we have a great program to get you started on Facebook that’s on sale this month that we know you’ll love.” If you don’t have any recent successes revisit with clients, don’t pitch them on anything else until you do—or you’re likely to come off as using the hard sell.

Really listen.

Paying attention to the reasons customers are not able to buy from you can help you find ways to make it possible. For instance, if you own a gym in a college town and keep approaching people who tell you they are going to school and can’t afford to join at the moment, why not offer a student membership at a 10% discount, with a valid university ID? It will help you keep your building full–and, if the gym offers a great experience—allow you to build relationships early with people who might become long-term customers once they start working.

Similarly, if you work in professional services and clients can’t afford your deluxe package, consider offering a la carte options. If you do a fantastic job, clients are likely to come back to you when they have more money to spend.

The more you deliver for your clients, the less likely it is that you will have to rely on aggressive sales pitches. You won’t have to sell your services at all because they’ll be flocking to you.