Often referred to as the pitch, the presentation part of the sales process is the piecing question; the part where we wrap up the decision that we’re looking for the other person to make in as neat a package as possible and then ask them to make that big decision.
Before I explain what should go into a presentation that gets you the results that you’re looking for, let’s just understand where we should be positioning this within our sales process.
A sales presentation should largely be one-way traffic. You should already know that your outcome is right for the customer; we would have prepared to understand the prospect, built rapport and trust, and asked some questions. This qualifies that what we’re about to present to them is going to fit their needs and be a fitting solution to their challenge, so they can end up saying the words ‘thank you’ to you at the end of your presentation.
Having got all of that work out the way, you should be pretty confident about the fact that your presentation is going to lead towards a ‘yes!’. It means you’re in complete control and can deliver a sales presentation purely as one-way traffic, with little to no interruptions, that allows you to get through all of the information you choose.
We’re looking for people to make a decision and say ‘yes’. Enthusiasm itself is a catalyst to a decision, so if you’re looking for people to say ‘yes’ and feel excited about it; you’ve got to be excited about it too. You got to be enthusiastic in your delivery of the solution, and if enthusiasm itself is a key catalyst to decision, we surely must get enthusiastic about the outcome that we’re looking for.
The presentation is largely you – not a PowerPoint or a beautiful brochure or a product sample. We are the presentation. Those things are just supporting our presentation. It’s how you convey, because there are people out there right now getting better results than you are. The only difference is what they say and how they say it. Your presentation is a key part of that. Every great sales presentation, whether it’s a 60-second elevator pitch or a two-day tendering process, should follow a structure that’s delivered on purpose.
We need to understand what the purpose is. Before leading into a presentation, decide what you want people to do as a result of listening to your presentation. Are you looking for them to say yes and sign a contract? Are you looking for them to hand over a check or hand you the money or give you their card details? Are you simply looking to get into the next stage in the process or are you looking for some information? Until you know the answer to that question, you cannot build a winning sales presentation.
There are three stages that need to go into making a showstopper presentation:
There are two components that need to go in to the beginning.
The middle is important because this is where we need to give people enough information to make a buying decision, and there are three key components that need to go in the middle of every presentation.
Consider how ‘from’ and ‘to’ could help you in that statement. See, in my business I work with everybody from a small independent plumbing business, turning over around £40,000 up to some large UK multinational businesses like DHL and that allows you to understand that if I can help businesses between those categories, if you’re somewhere between the two, I may well have a solution that can help. What’s your ‘from’ and ‘to’ that you can indicate to people, that you got an inclusive offering and that can still help build credibility in the proposition that you provide?
We can also build credibility with inclusive statements made in the third person. Sometimes we find it difficult to blow our own trumpet. If we make statements about what other people say about us, we can bring huge credibility towards us without sounding overbearing. For example “many of our customers describe us as…” “just last week one of my customers said…”. If you look at our recommendations on LinkedIn, you’ll see what a number of people have said about our work and by making third-party endorsements in your history and credibility statements, it adds value, it adds substance and it can be delivered effortlessly without sounding like you’re arrogant.
People can only make a decision one at a time. You have to sell the key item before you can sell any of the extras, so give them all the information they need to know about that one thing. This is the information they need both in terms of its features, but also what it means to them and how that can help them in their circumstances using words like “because of the fact that you said” and then insert their words back in and then what that means to them in terms of how your solution could help their circumstance.
There’ll be parts of the middle where they stop listening and you might be thinking “but why would somebody stop listening to me in the middle of the most important of my presentation?” You might even be thinking it’s because they’re not interested. The reality of it is it’s probably quite the opposite. They started to go off to a happy place and started to think about the implications or the implementation of the ideas that you’re looking for them to employ. Because of the fact that they’ve gone off to that happy place and they stopped listening, when you come back around to capture their attention, they’re wondering what have they missed. Because they’re wondering what they’ve missed, they don’t feel like they have all the information they need and therefore they can’t be asked for a decision, which is why we need a strong ending…
Give them a summary. All that the summary consists of is telling them what we’ve told them. As you recap the fact that you’ve shared your history and your credibility, you’ve shared the range of products and services that you offer and you’ve talked to them in detail about the one thing that’s right for them and why you think that’s the case. Mentally they start to tick that off, having received all the information they need; because they then believe that they got all the information they need to make a buying decision, you can therefore do what you said you’re going to do in the beginning and ask them for that decision. Then close by leading them towards the outcome that we’ve predetermined in the start, by asking them if that’s what they want to do.
Employ that structure to every sales presentation, be it a short 60-second elevator pitch or a two-day tendering process and you’ll watch your results go through the roof!