To grow your business, you will want to make more presentations to make more sales.
You notice I didn’t say you have to “close” more business to make more money. Why?
When we focus on our closes, we are chasing the commission, not building our business. We are trying to close “I want to think about it,” “I don’t have the money right now,” “I need to talk to … .” We focus on the close because we are hungry for the commission, we have already spent our time with the prospect, we believe our solution is what’s right for them and, well — if they would only trust us, we would be able to help them!
So how will doing more presentations help us build our book of business?
To make a presentation, we need a prospect to present to.
To get that prospect, we need enough leads to get an appointment.
To get the appointment with the lead, we need a script that will get us the appointment.
1 It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
Many salespeople spend a lot of time and energy on what to say — the words, the script, the bullet points. But is how you say it more important?
Prospects who merely observed a sales presentation rated the salesperson no differently than did prospects who actually participated in the sales presentation. This means prospects rate someone’s charisma, credibility and intelligence based on nonverbal signals.
We want prospects to focus on our words. Studies have found that 60-93% of our communication is nonverbal. How we say something is more important than what we say.
2 Focus as much on your nonverbal communication as on your verbal communication.
Scripts can kill your charisma and credibility.
Nonverbal communication isn’t only about body language, it’s also about vocal cues. Prospects rate us on our vocal variety, or the amount of fluctuation in our voice tone, volume and pitch.
The more vocal variety a salesperson has, the more engagement they get from prospects.
Specifically, vocal variety increases our charisma and credibility. Salespeople who tell stories captivate the prospect’s imagination and attention.
When you practice your presentation, try saying your words at least five different ways. Practice putting emphasis on different words, slowing and speeding up your pace, and varying your volume on important points.
Memorized lines and scripts kill your influence.
3 Learn the patterns of effective sales presentations.
Some nonverbal gestures are more important than others.
Credibility: Salespeople who are perceived as having high credibility had higher vocal variety and smiled for longer periods of time.
Charisma: The most important characteristics of charisma are hand gestures and vocal variety.
Intelligence: Smiling is the most important factor for being viewed as intelligent.
4 Start your presentation off strong.
How you begin your presentation sets the stage for the way it ends. You can use things such as questions, surprising statistics and anecdotes to construct a dynamic beginning that draws in your prospect from the start.
5 Draw in your prospect in with an emotional connection.
Effective presentations take the prospect on a journey. As you share your transition from not knowing some important truth to eventually understanding it, the prospect follows along. Although many salespeople focus on a product or features, effective presentations are also about the process of getting there.
We must start by making our prospect care, using relatable examples, an intriguing idea or concept, or some lifestyle issue that matters to them. Pull
in your prospect with something they care about. If it’s a future issue they never thought about, start off by invoking something they do think about a lot and relate that concept to your idea.
Stories can help build a connection with the prospect and are a valuable component of effective presentations, but an effective presentation is more than just a personal story. An effective presentation is idea-centered, and the idea must tie the narrative together.
Ask yourself, “How do I want my audience to feel?” When you understand the answer to this question, your presentation takes on a different form. If you want your prospect to feel compassionate, then you will tell stories that evoke compassion. If you want your prospect to feel a sense of urgency, then you will deliver concepts and solutions that keep them on the edge of their seat.
6 Focus on one core idea and message.
To have a successful presentation, it is imperative that you have a core idea - the central message that you want the prospect to take away with them at the end of their meeting with you.
Another common challenge is that some salespeople deliver a rather fascinating fact-filled presentation, but the presentation lacks a central idea. It can be a bit confusing to define the difference between facts and feelings. Remember one of my first questions in this article: How do you want your prospect to feel? Fact-based presentations deliver facts, while stories offer an idea with supporting facts.
7 Issue or idea?
Many salespeople are oriented toward a product they believe prospects “should” buy. They’ve identified situations where they believe “their” product is the only solution, and they set out to convince their prospects they should buy it. However, the way they approach the topic, whether as an “issue” or an “idea,” determines how their presentation feels. Idea-based presentations are energizing and captivating. But product-based presentations can be exhausting and create compassion fatigue.
So how do you avoid this? Reframe the presentation.
Look at it this way:
An issue reveals a problem, while an idea offers a solution.
While an issue says, “Isn’t this horrible?” an idea says, “Isn’t this fascinating?”
Issue-based presentations lead with morality, whereas idea-based presentations lead with curiosity.
Everything I know has come from learning from the best of others. I try to replicate what others have shown to be successful. I remember one of my first sales managers said repeatedly “Perfect practice makes perfect presentations!”
I think that is still true today.