We’re often asked to help salespeople put slides together for their presentation to prospects. Some ideas salespeople have are brilliantly creative; some are as boring as the proverbial wet weekend.
Naturally, we help out whenever we can and everyone is grateful for our advice on how to improve their presentations. However…
The first question we always ask is ‘Why are you presenting?‘
This often creates a puzzling reaction from salespeople. Isn’t it obvious, they say? To show the client what they will get from our products and services!
Yea, but most slideshows through the projector or on the laptop or iPad are more about the seller rather than the buyer. To be honest, when you use slides, you lose connection with the client.
Because your attention when you use slides simply has to be on something other than what’s really important here. I’m not saying you can’t have anything visual that shows ideas or concepts. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t rely on the slides to sell what you’re selling.
The way I do it when I go to see prospects is quite simple. I leave the projector at home and simply talk about what the results will be if they used our services.
And if I need to share information in real time with them, I will stand up, walk around their side of the table with my chair and write it out using good old pen and paper.
Yes, I leave information with them to review afterwards. Yes, I send proposals that detail everything we have spoken about. And yes, I set the meeting up with specifics that we are going to be discussing in the meeting.
But actually during the meeting itself I want to concentrate on the prospect, and I find that I have closer contact with them and their needs that way.
And I want the prospect to know that this is the way our business relationship is going to be in the future as well. We’ll be talking the same language from, figuratively, on the same side of the table.
So, leave the projector and those PowerPoints behind. Concentrate on the only thing that really matters during your meeting...the client and the results you will achieve for them.
MTD Sales Training
(Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
When it comes to product demonstrations, many sales people fall into the trap of carrying out a a one size fits all presentation with a prepared monologue of what makes there product the best on the market.
What can you do to put a demonstration together to make a real difference? Watch this short video on making your sales presentation match your buyers needs.
MTD Sales Training
‘Let me tell you a story…”
I remember my mum using those words many times, and it used to grab my attention as I was whisked away into far-off lands, awed by mythical creatures and fairy-tale events. I was hooked on those stories, as they helped to generate ideas for play and increased my creative thinking skills.
Stories are the essence of many cultures, and most of us never grow out of the wonderment that stories provoke.
Why is this? Why do stories evoke such a feeling of creativity within us, even as adults?
I think it’s because they show a different side to life, expanding our experiences and enabling us to see things from different perspectives. They open up new opportunities and allow us to identify different directions, as we absorb new ideas and rationale into our expanded font of knowledge.
Expanding this into our role in sales, is it possible that stories, metaphors and analogies could have the same effect on prospects?
Well, just think about it. When someone you know expands on a point by detailing examples of what they mean, doesn’t it clarify ideas? Doesn’t it bring theory to life, taking them on a journey through possibilities that hadn’t manifested themselves before?
It can be the same when you’re with your prospect.
Of course, I’m not talking about fairy stories or silly stories that have no relevance. No, the stories I’m referring to are with reference to the prospect’s business, creating ideas on how your products and services can be utilised by their company.
You do this by finding what the connections are between your prospect’s situation and how you helped other similar companies in similar situations. Then you describe how that company changed their operations and their results by the use of your services.
You do this by describing how the changes took place and what they specifically did to gain the better results. This isn’t done in a matter-of-fact way, going through simple facts and figures; that would be sterile and boring.
You discuss how they faced similar problems, the problems escalating as time went by. The situation seemed difficult to get over, as they contemplated the end results if changes didn’t materialise. As they were wondering what to do, their research determined three or four choices. They needed help in decided which of these choices would be best for them.
Your presentation helped them to see how your products would not only help them now but also over the next few years. You described how their results would improve, slowly at first, then gather pace. Now, having used your products for some time, they have seen results turn round, meaning they can invest in future products and services that hadn’t been on their agenda before.
This opens your current prospect’s eyes to different possibilities, creating opportunities for them that hadn’t been seen before. Rather than the story being a simple testimonial to how you helped other companies, you add colour and vision to it, bringing a sense of extra value to your offerings that a basic statement of facts could never do.
Stories can bring alive results that would be staid and wooden on paper. They can add context and cultural awareness to ordinary references, and allow your prospects to use their imagination and see how their businesses could go on the same journeys that companies similar to their have enjoyed.
Think how you could turn your successful interventions into stories that would make new prospects’ mouths water, as you expand on the direction their businesses could take in the future. Not only does this make you a good salesperson to do business with; it also turns you into an interesting and informative person that your customers will turn to for guidance and advice.
Tell me your stories. Enthral me. I’m still a kid at heart, and would love to be whisked away again!
MTD Sales Training
(Image by D Dpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)