Here’s a question for you:
Would you want to sit through your sales presentation more than once?
Working with sales professionals for the past ten years, the same challenges keep rising to the top. These challenges prevent clients from:
- Listening – your clients should not work to listen to you. You should do the work.
- Being influenced – your clients cannot take action if they don’t hear and understand your big idea.
- Buying your services and products – when your words do not resonate with your client, they do not see and understand the value for them.
- Building a relationship with you – every sales presentation needs to have momentum to move the relationship forward.
No matter what product or service you’re selling, what you say and do will determine the perception your client creates of you and the buying influence you have on them.
Stop the madness by applying the top six biggest sales presentation tips.
There is a Japanese idea called Hara Hachi Bu. It’s a traditional dietary principle that means “eat only until 80 percent full.” The idea is to not stuff yourself until you can’t eat another bite and is proven for a healthy and long life. The same idea applies to sales presentations; it’s better to finish early or on time, with your listener wanting more, than to stuff them until they can’t take anymore.
Most of us are guilty of saying too much and frustrating our listeners. As professionals, we need to be comfortable with silence and allowing our client to communicate what is important to them, not you.
I’ve observed many sales professionals during a sales presentation inviting their client to do all of the talking while they patiently listen and ask questions. Later when I’ve asked their client what they thought of the sales professional, they never interpret the silence as meaning they’re boring or lack knowledge. Instead they say, “What a great person. This is someone I can trust.”
When in doubt …
• Never use four words when you can use three.
• Avoid more than one “and,” “so,” “but” in a sentence.
• Never use a long sentence when bullet points will do.
• Never keep talking when a pause will be more powerful.
• Never get fancy with jargon and acronyms.
• Never tell a story or use an analogy you have practiced fewer than three times.
2. Say what you mean and do what you say.
Accountability is getting more difficult to find in others. Procrastination and excuses are easier to execute. Do you respond within 24 hours to your client’s expectations? Has the word “try” become more frequent in your vocabulary? Following through and holding yourself accountable so that it’s a no-brainer for your clients to work with you is common sense and unfortunately not common practice.
3. Who are you talking to?
Trust is a deciding factor if clients want to build a relationship with you. Eye connection is the only non-verbal behavior that communicates trust. When you disconnect from your listener with your eyes and instead talk to your sales aid, iPad or PowerPoint deck, you miss opportunities to read your client. You’re also inviting your client to stop listening.
Pause when you refer to these sales aids and only speak when you connect with your client’s eyes. Test this idea in all conversations today. Ask your listener to immediately give you feedback.
4. Ask questions that ignite.
When you can ask questions that identify your client’s known and unspoken needs, you communicate your sincerity and passion for building that relationship. Explain to your client how your product and service will resolve the problem that keeps them awake at night. (At Sales Engine, we think impact questions are the king of all questions.)
5. Using the wrong words.
Lincoln once said, “you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Dr. Frank Luntz in his book Words That Work stated, “The words you use become you – and you become the words you use.”
When, um, you’re, having, you know, a conversation with, uh, someone who is, actually, selling you their, um, ideas, doesn’t it, like, drive you crazy, um, when they take too long, basically, to get to the point?
What reputation have you created based on the words you use?
Your client relies on your knowledge to help them determine their need for your product and service. When you use non-words that cause you to ramble, your client will quickly build a perception of low credibility and knowledge. How can your clients build a relationship with you when they’re not confident in your abilities?
Give yourself time to think on your feet and your client an opportunity to hear and understand your message by replacing non-words with a pause.
6. Your message isn’t consistent with your delivery.
If you want to step miles ahead of your competition, begin TODAY enhancing your communication behavior. Your body language must be consistent with your message. If you express to your client the value of your product and service for them, communicate your passion through your facial expressions.
Emphasize the key take-aways you want your client to remember with an appropriate gesture that is consistent with your words. When you’ve made your point, relax your arms at your sides.
Walk into the client’s office as if you belong there. An open posture communicates confidence without you saying a word.
Avoid fidgeting with your pen, sales aids, etc. When you fidget your client begins to focus on what you’re doing rather than what you’re saying.
This week take five minutes every day to refocus on applying these six tips to give your clients more than they expect.