New York Yankee Mariano Rivera “The Closer”
This may sound funny coming from a presentation trainer, but the most effective way to improve your presentation close rate doesn’t happen during your presentation. It takes place before your preparation. No deck, prop or story can replace the need for a thorough understanding of your customer. That’s why discovery is so important. Without vital insights into your prospect’s business, interests and challenges, your presentation is at risk for slowing down the sales cycle, or grinding it to a halt.
How does your close rate compare to others in your industry? What are the easiest / most difficult industries for sales people? HubSpot just released a new study that shows the average sales close rates for 28 industry and it’s all based on proprietary data. Check it out!
You can dramatically improve your presentation close rate by arming yourself with the following insights well before you deliver your presentation or demo.
7 Insights that will Improve Your Presentation Close Rate
- Specific challenge or opportunity.
You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know what it is. It’s important to have a clear understanding of what your customer thinks their specific challenge or opportunity is. Being specific will allow you to tailor your presentation to their unique needs. For example, “You shared that your current system is unable to handle the volume of calls you’re receiving.” This is a clearly defined challenge that will guide you to highlight only relevant features and benefits in your presentation. On the other hand, “You mentioned you are looking to update your system,” is a vague challenge that leads to a firehose of features that overwhelms prospects and causes tune out.
- Current state.
How is your prospect currently dealing with their problem? Is he whistling in the dark hoping the problem will go away? Or has he designed some complicated work around requiring an ever-increasing amount of effort and resources? Discover how your prospect is coping with the problem. This will tell you what the status quo is, which can often be your biggest competitor.
How does the problem affect your prospect in terms of time, money and/or resources? This insight will help you understand what impact a solution to that problem provides – which is vital for making a case for change. How much does it hurt and can your prospect quantify the pain? In other words, is your prospect just a little bruised or is she spending a thousand dollars a week on physical therapy?
How does your prospect spell success? Knowing what specific results the prospect is looking for will help you develop a sound value proposition for your presentation. Many companies use some type of key performance indicator (KPI) to track and assess their business processes. It may be year-over-year growth in sales, ROI, or retention rates. Whatever it is, address performance in terms that your prospect uses, and if possible, in a way that can be quantified. For example, “Based on the numbers you provided us, solving this problem would eliminate two redundant jobs and reduce your costs by $300,000.” Can’t get the information from your prospect? Look for similar clients, case studies, or industry statistics to provide comparative results.
- Key players.
Many sales today involve multiple decision-makers as well as key influencers and stakeholders who can influence the buying process. It’s important to know who these players are and who will be in the room. End-users, managers and C-level executives all have different interests and perceptions of value. Know the titles of who you are presenting to so you can speak directly to their needs.
Clarifying your prospect’s timelines up-front can save you a lot of frustration later. Whether or not your customer has a date by which they need to have a solution in place gives you a good read on your prospect’s sense of urgency. No real time line? You may want to re-evaluate the opportunity, dig deeper into the impact, or find out what would have to happen to make it a greater priority.
Knowing who your competition is ahead of time allows you to improve your presentation close rate by being prepared to address key differentiators and competitive advantages. Find out what order you’ll be presenting in as well so you can either proactively address or respond to potential traps and objections.
Don’t let a lack of information keep your presentation from being a resounding success with these seven insights. Find out more about how to do a great discovery session here.