With so many different sales techniques floating around, it can be difficult for salespeople to know what tips to follow. Here we outline Convinced techniques for conducting sales meetings, particularly when delivering a presentation. How should salespeople consciously incorporate sales techniques into presenting for maximum effect?
Don’t jump straight into the presentation at the start of a meeting. A classic mistake is to think: “The presentation’s got everything in it – I’ll just let it do the job for me.” It’s great to know that you have a presentation that really conveys your message, but don’t forget to sell yourself as the individual. Why are you there? Why are you giving the presentation? You’ve got to establish your own credibility, or the audience have no reason to think that you’re worth listening to.
Start by (briefly!) summarising your experience and explaining why it’s relevant to your audience. Then, subtly transition to the presentation by making it conversational. A great way to do this is by outlining the situation: “Let me just check that I fully understand your needs and requirements. What I’m going to do at this meeting is give you everything you need to know to make a qualified decision on how you would like us to help you become more successful.” Don’t be afraid to own up to the fact that you’re there to make a sale – the audience know that it’s the reason you’re there, so skirting around the fact will just prove irritating.
If you’ve done any work with Convinced before, you’ll know that your Value Proposition slide is the most important slide in your deck, normally positioned 3-5 minutes in. This is the slide at which you deliver your key messages to the audience, so it’s important to present this in the best way possible.
When you deliver this, presenters should revert back to solving the problem, and mention the issues you summarised before the presentation. For example: “You’ve told me that it’s really important for you to sell more effectively. For that, you need…” This enables you to deliver your Value Proposition (the key benefits you will deliver to your client) in a way that provides a solution for their current needs.
Case studies can be a valuable tool in the salesperson’s belt, but they will only have a limited impact unless you deliver them effectively. Simply explaining what you did and providing the audience with a testimonial can look self-important and boastful, and begs the question, “Well that’s all very well and good – but who says you can do the same for me?”
When you use a case study, you should position it carefully, and explain how this demonstrates your ability to deliver a solution to your prospect’s needs. Spell out how you helped the client solve the problems your prospect is suffering from at the moment, so that they can see the relevance to their organisation.
One of the biggest mistakes presenters make is getting to the end of the presentation and saying, “Thank you for your time. I hope you enjoyed the presentation. Any questions?”
Many presenters believe that this is the next step in the process, but framing the question in this way is a sure way to lose control. Losing control of the presentation and the conversation, particularly at such a vital junction, can be seriously detrimental to the sale. Make sure that you summarise each of the points of your Value Proposition before positively directing the Q&A. Finally, after the Q&A, make sure that you close again in a positive way that is guaranteed to leave them thinking of working with you.
After presentations, the next step in the process is the Q&A. The last slide of your deck should be the Value Proposition, again. It should remain showing on your screen during this meaningful dialogue. And when you have answered a question, and checked the client’s satisfaction with it, you should weave a link between your answer and one element of your value proposition. This will benefit you in two key areas; the repetition of your value proposition will make it more memorable for your client, and it will really help them to differentiate you from the competition. And that’s competitive edge.
So how should salespeople gain control of Q&A sessions? By asking a really good open-ended question. It’s really important that you don’t just ask a closed question that invites a yes or no, as this could cause the conversation to dry up quickly.
Instead, once you’ve finished summarising the benefits of your solution, you should ask an open-ended question such as: “So that’s how we’re going to help you. Which area do you want us to focus on and work on first for you, and why that one?”
Both of these questions are important, as they invite the audience to actually think about working with you, and the real benefits they would get. They have to pause and think before the answer. By asking the question, you’re actually controlling the dialogue and the debate, rather than handing control to the audience.
Finally, the most powerful thing a salesperson can do is to tie all of these elements together. Once you know what you’re going to say at the end of the presentation, it helps you condition what you’re going to do at the beginning – and then throughout the rest of the presentation. Presenters can even go so far as to use similar phrases throughout to reinforce this repetition.
So, in practical terms: Work out what you’re going to ask them to do at the end to generate dialogue, and then work out what you’ll say at the beginning to let them know what you’re going to be asking them. Then repeat, repeat, repeat.
You may find that you already follow these techniques outside of the presentation, when in a dialogue with prospects discussing needs. However, you’re really missing a trick if you’re not using these sales techniques in your presentation too. In a normal conversation, you don’t get the benefits of dual encoding, which is when information is received both visually and aurally, more than doubling recall rates.
So don’t stop exploring these issues in the questions you ask – but don’t miss the chance to do so in the sales presentation too. Make the most of your presentation to ensure far better recall – so that your prospects get your message, understand it, and remember it.