Salespeople usually try to pack lots of information into presentations to show their expertise and hit hot buttons. And sometimes they go overboard and confuse buyers.
Result: Only about 39% of customers remember a single feature or benefit the day after a sales presentation, according to one research study.
Almost half of the prospects “remember” something that wasn’t mentioned at all.
Get to the essence
Most customers buy for one or two key reasons, so a presentation is apt to be stronger if it’s centered on those reasons.
Salespeople know the key reasons why their customers buy their products or services. Using those customers as a guide, it’s a good idea to put new presentations under the microscope, asking:
- Does it cover the key reasons other customers buy?
- Does it get bogged down at times focusing on less important reasons?
- Are the reasons prioritized in a way customers can relate to easily?
Prepare for the right objections
Try to pinpoint the objections prospects raise most often during presentations. Are they typically related to the key reasons mentioned above? If not, it may be a sign that the presentation is trying to cover too much ground.
See which objections are most closely related to the key reasons customers buy. Then try to develop responses to overcome those objections. Also look for ways these responses can guide buyers back to the key points of the presentation.
Putting your proposal in writing
There are times when formal written sales proposals are required. Since they can make or break a deal, you should write them with care.
Here’s a suggested outline for a proposal:
- Page 1: Cover Letter. it should be short and simply tell the prospect what he or she is about to receive.
- Page 2: Summary. Try to lay out all the key points using bulleted sentences and phrases.
- Page 3: Benefits. Put in writing the benefits that you detailed in your presentation. It will give your customer the information he or she needs to deal with other people in their organizations.
- Page 4: Competition. If you’re replacing one of your own products or services, give the prospect a comparison between the old and the new. If you’re out to knock off a competitive offering, compare, compare, compare.
- Page 5: Service. Ask salespeople to define great service, and you’ll hear things like “timely follow-up visits” or “on-time delivery.” And while these are important, other facts such as how a salesperson would handle a late delivery can make a big difference. Customers want to hear solutions, not apologies or a dozen reasons why an order was delayed. Your proposal should explain that you’ll always be ready to fix problems.
- Page 6: Implementation. Tell them what happens next. The prospect should receive a chronological rundown of delivery, setup and training. This is an excellent closing tool.
Source: Bill Brooks, founder and CEO of The Brooks Group, an internationally known sales and business development research, training and consulting firm. He is the author of 14 books including “The New Science of Selling and Persuasion: How Smart Companies and Great Salespeople Sell,” a 2004 best-seller published by John Wiley & Sons.