The first meeting with a prospect may be a do-or-die time for your salespeople. Phone conversations, emails and letters can all be effective tools of persuasion. But face-to-face presentations are the heavy artillery of selling.
Tailoring the presentation
Prospects are all different, and every presentation you make must be carefully crafted to win them over.
Five rules for persuasive presentations:
Rule No. 1: Most presentations are won in preparation, not in the interview
Winning salespeople spend enormous amounts of time and effort finding out what prospects want. They want to know their prospects’ needs better than the prospects themselves.
Try to uncover facts about what the prospect needs and not just about what your product or service can do for them. Facts about your prospect’s specific situation will always be more persuasive than facts about your product or service.
To identify customer expectations, ask yourself:
- How does the prospect perceives his or her needs, and why? You know what your perceptions are, but they might be different from the prospect’s expectations.
- What are the customer’s quality, service and delivery requirements? and
- Who are the buying influencers — and their titles and authority?
Rule No. 2: Emotion is a primary driver of the persuasion process
A persuasive presentation starts with the salesperson. Your own personal enthusiasm determines whether your presentation creates enthusiasm in the prospect.
Emotional points to consider:
- Every product or services has an emotional component. Whatever you’re presenting will have some kind of emotional content associated with it. Think about the emotions that different parts of your proposal may trigger in your prospect.
- When you plan a persuasive presentation, try to plan the emotional content along with the informative content. Your goal is for the prospect to feel something that advances your proposal.
- Spark enthusiasm by telling them why. You can have all the facts and details in the world, but if you can’t package and present them with passion and conviction, you’re probably not going to get the job done.
- Tap into what it is you deeply believe in about what you’re presenting. Ask yourself if there’s a part of what you’re presenting that you can be totally passionate about.
Rule No. 3: The most persuasive salespeople strengthen dialogue and don’t try to control it
The least persuasive presentation starts and ends with salespeople who take total control of the conversation.
- What can I do to get the prospect involved in a way that will win acceptance for my product or service? and
- How can I put my prospect’s first?
Rule No. 4: Don’t talk about solutions too soon
A common fault in presentations is to talk about solutions too early. Offering solutions before you know a prospect’s needs may cause objections and reduce your chances for a successful close.
Your goal is to tailor the presentation to create something unique for the prospect. To do this, you need to study your product from every conceivable angle and determine what you offer that is truly unique.
Try to find ways to get the prospect involved in the sale. Ask questions. Get feedback on major selling points. Prospects want to gain knowledge and helpful ideas. Do everything you can to share everything you know.
Rule No. 5: Ask for the order
A persuasive presentation has a goal. Before you end the presentation, you either want to achieve that goal or understand what the next step toward achieving it will be. In a sales presentation, if you don’t ask for the order, you won’t get it, no matter how persuasive your presentation has been.
Be relentless. Momentum comes from consistent effort. At the start of your presentation, your prospect may think a competitor has a better product or service. If your presentation is effective, your prospect will now see you on top.