Practice, practice, practice because practice makes perfect! While that age-old sentiment is nice, it is not true. Practice does not make perfect. Only Perfect practice makes perfect. I ask sales people if they routinely practice their presentation and often I get the response, “Oh, I have been doing this for years. I got it.” Or, “I’ve done this presentation so many times, I can do it in my sleep.”
Well, I have been “practicing” my golf swing for over 20 years, and it’s still not perfect. While you need to invest a significant amount of time in practicing your craft, you must make certain you are practicing the right stuff! Furthermore, you must routinely “check in” on yourself to ensure that you have not deviated in the wrong direction or got into bad habits.
Below are a few tips on practicing your sales presentation to get it perfect and to keep it that way! Depending on how long you have been selling some tips may not apply.
The Mirror One of the best places to practice your sales presentation is alone, in front of the mirror. It is imperative that you first become very comfortable and natural with your sales presentation. No matter what you say, if you are uncomfortable saying it, you will have problems in the field. Practice adapting the presentation to fit your personality and style. Of course, assume the prospect responds as your presentation predicts.
Better still would be to video your presentation and then play it back.
Friend, Loved One Now practice in front of a friendly, non-threatening, non-judgemental audience. Once again, this will help you to become comfortable in front of people.
Management or Trainer Now get in front of your sales management or someone in your firm who is a confirmed expert in delivering the same sales presentation. It is important that this person or group are “qualified” to offer criticism and to help you correct your mistakes. Understand that this may not include your fellow sales associates.
A major mistake is to practice in front of and look for advice from an associate. Unless this person is qualified as a sales trainer who is authorised by your company to teach the sales presentation, do not choose such an audience.
Because a sales person has a higher closing average than you have, or is even a top sales person, it does not make him an expert to teach the sales presentation. That sales rep may do or say things that are grossly incorrect, but due to his personality, experience or any of a dozen other reasons, he is able to close successfully. However, it is possible that those same mistakes that cause one sales person no harm, can destroy another.
Practice with a qualified trainer, making adjustments until you know that you are practicing perfectly and then record your perfect presentation. If possible make a full video recording of your presentation.
On-the-Job Now get out there and practice in front of people who can write a purchase order!
Review Periodically, record yourself again, and compare it to the last recording of your sales presentation. While there may be some deliberate changes and enhancements, you will see when you begin to deviate too much. Keep practicing with the perfect presentation as the guide.
Tip For Sales Managers Here is a way to help ensure that sales people practice perfectly and that the more experienced sales people do not get too far off track:
Have the more senior, experienced sales people perform the sales presentation in front of the sales team. You can do this as a sales training session or at a sales meeting. Give the sales person a few days advance notice that he or she is to perform the sales presentation for the team to help train the newer members. Inform him or her that your goal is for the new sales people to see the presentation done exactly the way it is supposed to be done, by a pro!