Call Us Today 0800 849 6732

MTD Sales Training Blog Header

MTD Latest Sales Blogs & News

Dealing With Nerves During Formal Sales Presentations

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Fear of the bossWe’ve all been there.

You’ve been asked to make a formal sales presentation in front of a panel as part of a beauty parade and you’ve not had a lot of experience or training in doing it.

Or maybe you’ve done it before and are naturally a bit nervous, especially when you have to present to work colleagues who know you, or to large groups of people.

When surveyed about what frightened them most, people interviewed by the Times newspaper gave these answers ranked in this order:

1. Public speaking/making presentations

2. Heights

3. Insects and bugs

4. Financial problems

5. Deep water

6. Sickness

7. Death

8. Flying

9. Loneliness

10. Dogs

Making presentations topped the list!

What I find strange is that death only came 7th!

What this means is that if you were at a funeral you’d rather be in the coffin than reading the eulogy!

So we are naturally nervous when put into stressful situations like this.

What can we do to improve the situation?

Before you are about to stand up your stomach is queasy, your palms are sweaty, you are shaking, your body is pumped up with adrenalin and your mind has gone blank about what you are going to say. What can you do to eliminate nerves completely? Well, nothing is going to eliminate nerves completely because it is our body’s way of dealing with stress.

However, you can make things a bit easier for yourself. If you are like most people, and public speaking or presenting is one of your major fears, help is at hand.

You owe it to yourself to develop some strategies and techniques to manage your nerves so you can concentrate on delivering an effective and engaging presentation.

When you are in a heightened state from the adrenaline that is being pumped into your body, you can use that energy to communicate enthusiastically, convincingly, and passionately.

The key is to decrease your level of nervousness so you can use your energy on these positive activities, not on trying to control your nerves.

Here are 10 ways to reduce nerves:

1. Get your preparation right.

Work out the objectives of your presentation and prepare content that you feel will be of interest to the audience.

Speak in your own words and use language that you use.

While we can’t all be great presenters, with a bit of effort and lots of practice we can become very competent

2. Think about the audience

Most people in the audience want you to do well and are on your side. What they want to know is “What’s in this for me?”

If you get this right you will get a better reaction from the audience and this will boost your confidence.

Think and focus on your audience at all times.

3. Get off to a good start

As well as thinking about what’s in it for them the audience wants to know some other things.

These include “What is the objective of the presentation?”

“How long will it last?”

“Am I allowed to ask questions?”

“What is the content going to be?”

These should all be included in your introduction and will set you up for success.

4. Learn your introduction off by heart

This way you can focus on the audience and make positive eye contact when you begin your presentation.

You never get a chance to make a first impression. By making a positive start you’ll condition your audience to think “Hey, this is good” right from the outset.

5. Prepare a good finish

This should be a brief summary of the key points and a positive thank you at the end.

Avoid saying “Any questions?” as this usually causes embarrassment and ensures the presentation fizzles out rather than ending on a high.

6. Think positive

Try to picture a successful outcome and avoid having negative conversations with yourself about how nervous you feel and what a poor presenter you are.

Negative thoughts can lead to negative outcomes.

7. Get the content right

Don’t overcomplicate the presentation with too much information and too many visuals.

Death by PowerPoint causes more than its fair share of trouble during presentations.

Get the audience to focus on you and don’t hide behind your visual aids.

8. Practice, practice and practice again

During practice you will produce a shorter presentation than on the day so be ready to leave out some of the content if you have to do.

Nobody will notice as long as you get your main points across and achieve your objectives.

9. Don’t draw attention to yourself and your lack of experience

If you make a mistake just move on. Also, have a plan B in case your visuals fail to work.

10. Take a few deep breaths before you start

Not too many or you will hyperventilate and pass out. Have some water handy to keep your throat from getting dry and finally, try to enjoy yourself!

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Presentations | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Here’s A Great Way To Get Your Clients To Open Your Emails…

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Your mailWhen we do buyers’ surveys, it is interesting to note how many people tell us that they are overwhelmed at work. The amount of work they have to do has increased exponentially and you’ve seen and read those articles saying how many people take work home with them and are basically unable to switch off, even when they are at home.

This means that the ability of the salesperson to gain the attention of these crazy-busy people is less and less each day. Just think how many emails they must be getting each day! They have to filter, sift, reorganise and delete so many, simply to keep their head above water. So when your well-crafted, long-developed, interesting-as-ever email hits their in-box, chances are it won’t be opened first, devoured and dealt-with.

In fact, it may well be one of the first to go to that great email dump in the sky.

So, how do you stand out from the crowd?

How do you make your message different and at least get the decision-maker’s attention?

Many decision-makers say they actually don’t mind opening their mail in the mornings. The main reasons are:

1) It breaks up the day

2) It’s something different

3) There’s always something slightly more exciting about cutting open an envelope than pressing a button to open an email. (Only ‘slightly’, that is! There’s no fun in opening 30 bills!)

This means that, if you had a compelling message to send to your chosen decision-makers, you may well get them to open a personalised envelope with your offer in more often than that personalised email.

Yes, it means it’s more expensive, but would you rather get 10 people opening and reading your email, or 90 people opening and reading your mailshot?

What can you send?

Don’t just send marketing and advertising stuff.  That will get on their nerves. Instead, cut out and photocopy an article in the trade press that interests your prospect. Handwrite the envelope, and put a message inside that reads ‘Hi, I saw this and thought you’d be interested’. Sign your name, and it will have a bigger effect on your client than just a quick email.

Other things you can do that stand out:

  • Send a hand-written thank-you note after a meeting. Wow, that will be different from all those competitors who simply churn out a 20-second email!
  • Send a note thanking them for their business
  • Send a note thanking them for their continued business. How many times have you done that?!
  • Send a short note following up an action plan
  • Cut out something you found about his competition, especially if it’s in the trade press.
  • Identify a seminar or webinar that might be of interest to him and forward it on in an envelope

The 50p/75cent letter is far more effective than a common email that is scrambling for their attention among hundreds of others. It builds goodwill, builds loyalty, makes you different from the competition, builds long-term relationships and creates talking points for you to follow-up on.

If it’s handwritten, all the better, because the customer will appreciate the time you spent formulating and sending it through. It also shows you value the personal relationship that you could have with them, and that’s far more valuable than the small amount of marketing budget spent on the posting.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Email Selling | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Has The Modern Buyer Changed Or Is It Just BS?

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Businessman holding paper with printed question markIn recent years the balance of power between buyer and seller has swung dramatically in favour of the buyer. Sellers are now faced with more professional, more knowledgeable and more powerful buyers – and the sales techniques used in previous years are no longer working.

The old sales techniques around how good the products and services were has given way to salespeople reinventing their approach. This has had to happen because, simply put, the way today’s buyer makes decisions has completely changed.

Peter Chaverton and Jan Paul van der Velde’s book ‘Understanding the Professional Buyer’ looks at how the modern buyer operates and discusses how the complex nature of the buyer-seller relationship has changed over the years.

They claim that the new buyers are no longer just ‘administrators’ in a long line of purchase-order-monkeys who perhaps do some price bargaining during the process and not much else. Instead:

  • The buyer has become a well-trained strong-willed person who knows your products and services as well as you do
  • They can communicate at all management levels and think cross-functionally
  • They understand the dynamics of the market they are in
  • They understand internal and external stakeholders, knowing how your products and services will affect these people
  • They can identify and control sourcing strategies for current and future opportunities
  • They report into higher management and are key to providing these levels with information and recommendations

Chaverton and van der Velt state that the very nature and essence of salesmanship has changed to reflect these needs of the buyer and today’s salesperson has had to develop many more entrepreneurial skills than before as they support and drive forward the customer’s business.

I believe this to back up much other research that has been carried out. It supports the idea that salespeople today have to:

  • Work as if they own their own businesses and have that entrepreneurial mindset themselves
  • Be able to communicate at all business levels, being just as comfortable in the boardroom as they are at user level
  • Have inside knowledge of the industries their customers are working in as well as their own
  • Be ‘future-focused’ so they can drive and influence changes happening in the customer’s business rather than just cope with what is happening now
  • Continuously develop their skills and talents to not only keep up with but also keep ahead of developments in the buyer-seller relationship

So, identify how you can understand the professional buyer better now and in the future. If you don’t, well, you run the risk of being one of the also-rans in the race to the finish.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The 10 Most Common Mistakes Sales People Make

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Falling on a banana skinWhen discussions move round to the subject of sales, conversations often get quite negative. The profession has, in many circles, a bad reputation and it’s obvious to many that the salespeople they have been dealing with have difficulties in emotional intelligence so they can’t see when they are being unprofessional and unlikely to get the sale.

A little like the stereotypical Brit on holiday…when they aren’t being understood by a foreign-speaking person, they tend to speak slower and speak louder! This is mirrored in selling by the salesperson repeating what they have already said and then blaming the prospect if they don’t actually get the sale!

There are, naturally, many mistakes salespeople make in trying to sell their products and services. Here are my top ten:

1. Thinking they need to sell! What? Yes, it’s true! If your products and services are good enough, you don’t need to sell it. You just have to make it easy for the customer to buy!

2. Bad prospecting techniques. Simply looking at the prospect’s website and finding out who the buyer is, is not prospecting. It’s shallow and is exactly what your competition does. Please dig deeper, come up with specific reasons why the prospect should meet you, talk to you, buy from you, use you and remain loyal to you. That’s the minimum amount of prospecting you should be doing

3. Prejudging what the prospect will do. This entails everything from thinking you know what the prospect will decide, to saying to your boss what a jerk they were for not signing the order

4. Poor listening. Probably the biggest learning point for all salespeople. Poor listening equates to not really caring about them or their business and certainly doesn’t earn any respect or give them reasons to build confidence in you

5. Too much pressure. Yes, you’ve got targets to meet, but reverting to the old-style ‘buy-today-or-the-price-will-be-adjusted-to-match-my-desperation-to-get-a-sale’ tactic will be often met with a snort of derision and a swift decision to buy elsewhere, thank you very much!

6. Talking too much. By this, I mean about your product and your services. If you do talk, it should be about their needs and wants, with little allusion to your products until they become the necessary talking points

7. Reverting to closing tactics. This is the one that most buyers tell me really turn them off. They’ve experienced all the closing techniques many times, so don’t use them. Instead, create reasons why they should buy and help them decide. You will be happier and so will the prospect

8. Lack of sincerity. This will shine through very brightly, especially if you resort to ‘tricks’ that are easily seen through. Being sincere, honest and truthful will pay off many more times than not

9. Poor attitude. This, like lack of sincerity, will shine through every pore. If you don’t like your job, people will sniff this out and be affected, even at the subconscious level. The attitude should be one of helpfulness, curiosity and vision. These three will help you get the right answer o your prospect’s situation and problems

10. Lack of personal development. By not taking your development seriously, you’re being left behind by those who do. This is the career you’ve chosen for yourself, so why not take time to learn new ideas, research good stuff from those who know and keep up-to-date on your customer’s industry. It’s the least you can do to earn respect from your customers and prospects

Do you have some more ideas of the big mistakes salespeople make? I’d love to hear some more.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Lessons For Sales People | Tagged , | Leave a comment

3 Key Components To Build Customer Loyalty Successfully

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

customer loyaltyThere is a saying that customer satisfaction is useless; customer loyalty is priceless.

This is well-explained when you consider a familiar scenario. Have you ever visited a restaurant and been ‘satisfied’ and yet never gone back there? I guess you have. If the restaurant measured their success by satisfied customers, they might end up being puzzled why they don’t get more repeat business.

Satisfaction just means the quality or service has lived up to your expectations. Nothing more, nothing less. Unless there has been a valid reason (excellent food, great service, etc), you may or may not return. Satisfaction doesn’t equal loyalty.

For your customer to maintain their loyalty to you over a period of time, there are three key components that will help you achieve that end goal. None of them are difficult to implement and maintain. It just takes consistency of approach and a dash of desire.

1. Provide exceptional customer service in a safe, timely and professional manner and at competitive rates. See? Not difficult. In fact, pretty obvious. The real acid test is in how consistent you are in delivering it. Anyone can offer this level once in a while. But when challenges are faced, when times are hard or when resources are low, that’s the time when we start making excuses to clients and to ourselves. Excuses don’t cut it when it comes to real loyalty from advocates and raving fans.

2. Provide personalised and customised service for each customer, based on your understanding of what he/she values in the customer-relationship, thereby converting repeat customers to loyal customers. By personalised and customised, we are referring to how we treat each customer who comes our way. Customising individuals is about identifying the true need at each step of the way in the customer journey. The more personalised the customer feel they are being treated, they more likely they are to have well-founded reasons why they should think about being loyal to you.

3. Deliver that value 100% of the time. This is where the consistency comes in. This is where we differentiate ourselves by being dependable when customers require it and approachable when things go wrong. Anyone can do this when it’s easy – the rational-thinking person will develop loyalty when they see that you carry out the first two components whenever they require it, which is every time they give you their business!

Loyalty is earned by diligence, experience and hard work. If you want success with loyal advocates extolling your company to everyone they meet, adopt the systems that will allow you to deliver the components above and see if profits and revenue don’t rise, as you encourage customers to show their loyalty.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image by Jeanne Claire Maarbes at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)

Posted in Customer/Client Retention | Tagged , | Leave a comment