You’ve done the groundwork, researched your contact list, filtered it, actioned it, scripted and rehearsed your pitch and have a healthy list of meetings with exactly the right people you need to talk to. Now all you need to do is turn up and you’ll make the sale.
As you’ve probably guessed, nothing could be further from the truth. Obviously you’ve put in a hell of lot of hard work to get this far but in reality the real hard work is just about to start.
First, an important note about your presentation, before you present.
Keep it simple – command the stage
Your presentation is your story. And as a story it needs to be informative, interesting and attention grabbing. That’s a lot to achieve but you can do it by breaking down the story into the traditional beginning, middle and end. I’ve already mentioned rehearsing your story but it’s worth a second mention here. What you want to do is keep your story simple so record your basic presentation and play it back a few times over before seeing your prospect. Ask yourself, “How can I construct each sentence into a creatively powerful communication?”
Your objective, when you present, is to command the stage. You need to think of your presentation as the main event. You need to come alive, be as animated as possible (without speaking faster) and be as visual as you can by drawing or showing illustrations that underline the points you are making.
Proof by triangulation
On the subject of making points, proof by triangulation is a sure-fire winner that sounds complex but isn’t. What it is, is a way to add an irrefutable argument to a point or series of points that give authority to what you’re saying.
For example, take one key element of your presentation and endorse it by showing your prospect three separate sources of supporting evidence. These could consist of customer testimonials or the results of a survey or a case history.
Proving your point by triangulation is a powerful, compelling and effective way to a successful presentation.
Question your way to better sales
We’ve talked a lot about rehearsing, refining and honing your pitch but in a real-world situation you need more than a standard script. It’s a fact that the majority of sales pros spend too much time pitching and not enough time listening. And only by asking questions are you going to get anything of worth to listen to.
The first question you should ask your prospect is permission to ask questions. By asking and getting a positive result (as you will) then you’re clear to delve deeper into what makes your prospect tick, what they need and what you can do for them.
Keep your questions simple and don’t ask two questions at once. Make your questions as broad and open ended as possible so that you avoid yes and no answers. Ask about the bigger picture, the challenges your prospects face…what they’re trying to accomplish.
Bear in mind though, it’s important to keep the questions non-threatening. For example, don’t ask them about their financial status or credit rating. This way you can build not only valuable trust but credibility and respect which is gold dust in selling terms.
Always tell the truth
This, I know, is an inflammatory subhead. Of course, you always tell the truth and I’m not suggesting otherwise but that fact remains that around 22 per cent – nearly a quarter – of sales people openly confess to bending it during a sales presentation and so it is worthy of a mention.
Selling is all about trustworthiness. The majority of selling is all about the persuasive power of numbers. Every product and service has its competitors and under pressure to make that sale it is all too easy to inflate statistic X and over promise on statistic Y to beat them. Needless to say, this is an ultimately fatal path to take.
I have sympathy with sales folk. It’s a damned hard profession and requires strength of character under pressure to get right, and yet it is exactly this pressure that causes untruths to be told. In a nut shell, don’t do it. Sermon over.
Get your customer to love you
You’re in love with your prospects, but are they in love with you? An important question and one well worthy of answering.
Do you go that extra mile, give added value, make your prospects feel appreciated? Do you respect them? And when they talk do you listen? There’s no doubt you would love to get your prospect to sign but without them sharing your passion you’ve little hope or expectation of them actually doing that.
Rule one, don’t be re-active, be first. Rule two, sell ethically and with integrity and most significantly gain clarity and know the terrain you’re actually in. Often business owners are driven and don’t like people to get in the way. If you miss-manage sales at the beginning of your relationship everything else will turn sour soon after.
Your mission as a sales pro is to make your prospect love you. If you achieve this then you have a walking, living, breathing promoter of your business. You’ll be pitch perfect!!
To finish, I remember what I was told by an old sales pal some 20 years ago.
“Doug, no one talks well about someone they don’t think about or like. You have to love something about someone to go out of your way to promote them – and that’s what you’ve got to give your customers. Something to love.”
About the author: Doug Tucker is Founder and Managing Director of Sales Commando, an international sales training organisation. His motto is “Have fun. Make money.”
For further information please visit: sales-commando.com