Join us here for our Monday call or meet up in a future Monday call — today we´re talking about presentations. (we encourage your participation, All Business readers… there is no charge and it is a short and actually fun conference call.)
A sales presentation can take place by phone one-on-one, or on a teleconference line, a video conference, or good old fashioned "face to face" (one of my old, old sales managers called that "belly-to-belly" selling. These meetings can feel like a "do or die" situation — most of the time you will walk away (or end the call) with a yes or a no. The tension and stress can be visible. If this is the case for you, I´d recommend you not think of things that way. A "no" can often mean "not now" or "I don´t have enough information" — first and foremost try to reduce the pressure you feel on your shoulders so that it doesn´t come through in your voice, mannerisms, or words.
Additionally, there are some things to remember about presenting your ideas about your prospective customers´ needs and making recommendations on how your products or services will be of value.
1. Use the old standard guideline of a) tell them what you are going to tell them, then b) tell them and then c) tell them what you told them (or if you can, have them tell you what they think you told them) which should open a discussion to further an opportunity to closure or not. Adults learn through repetition and reinforcement so by stating something more than once you are not being irritating (unless your voice or tone are poor). As a Franklin-Covey trained facilitator, I have talked with hundreds of class attendees about how people retain very little of what we say — so stress those main key points more than once.
2. Be excited and passionate about your proposed solutions — since you are offering hope for a situation they want to improve, hope can be contagious — so can enthusiasm and passion. Speak from the heart. If you truly believe you have ideas to help someone through using your products or services in exchange for something (typically dollars) — then it is your duty to let them know. You might want to try out your enthusiasm level on colleagues or trusted advisors — the idea is not to overwhelm or scare someone! I have been known to scare a few folks over the years with my enthusiasm myself, so take this from me.
3. Use stories, analogies or examples. I was working with a blind client once and was trying to convey how he could describe something to his prospective customers — I was struggling with my explanations and finally he said, "draw it on my hand or find some music to convey what you are trying to say" — which I promptly did — he then understood – and this story illustrates my point.
Unless you are a student of selling you will not learn and grow. Approach each day confidently but with open eyes — think of yourself as an art student and re-approach your "canvas" with a new set of eyes each time you paint. This is what Leonardo da Vinci taught his students. If they were working too long, he´d send them away and ask them to return with a new set of eyes. Don´t take my word for it — try it out yourself. Post a comment if you find it helpful, or if you have other ideas on making a point in a sales presentation.