A sales presentation might be analogous to the elementary school event referred to as “show and tell.”  

Salespeople have the opportunity to show their products or services and tell the prospect about them. The average salesperson can hardly wait to tell a new prospect all they know about their products and services.  From the moment they first meet the prospect, their minds are racing to tell their story. After receiving all of the negative responses associated with prospecting, the salesperson is naturally excited to finally find a willing, listening soul.  The salesperson is secretly hoping that just one small part of their presentation will catch a needful desire and evolve into even the slightest bit of interest. For most salespeople, the presentation is all about throwing enough information at the prospect in hopes something will stick.  There is a far more successful way.

The success of the salesperson begins with the sound of their voice and their appearance.  If you do not sound and look the part, nothing else really matters. Once you get past the initial judgments of the prospect, you need to focus on building rapport.  Some things never change, and people still buy from people they believe, like and trust. Spend a few minutes and get to know them. I am not talking about them getting to know you, that will happen as a matter of course.  Focus on what is most important to them. Build rapport through allowing them to talk about their jobs, interests, successes, hobbies, etc. The more they talk about themselves, the more they will bond with you. I’m not suggesting salespeople become best friends with their prospects.  I’m suggesting you provide the opportunity for them to talk about themselves. After all, they are the most important person in the world.

Once you have spent a few moments building rapport, it is time to discover their needs, wants and desires.  Diagnose their pain and uncover their dissatisfaction with the status quo. People typically make a purchasing decision to fulfill needs.  Once you understand their needs, present your product or service as a specific solution to their need. As you talk about the features, benefits and overall value of your product or service, be specific about the ways it will solve their problem or meet the need of the prospect.  Draw the correlation between your product (the solution) and their situation (the need). Once you have established that relationship, the prospect will be on the edge of their seat listening to your presentation. What a refreshing situation, the prospect anxiously listening to your every word.

Telling isn’t selling, even when you have discovered the prospect’s pain and they are eagerly listening to every word you say.  Selling takes place as the result of a dialogue, where two people openly discuss the merits of the various aspects of the problem and the solution.  A sales presentation can easily become a dialogue, and in most cases that is what happens. With each point of presentation, refer to the prospect and ask for their perspective.  As they share their views, you discover their acceptance, or rejection of your points of discussion while promoting a healthy dialogue. Disagreements can be resolved as a matter of course while you continue to discuss the value of your product in resolving their needs.  When you create a dialogue, instead of a monologue, your prospect will feel as though they are part of a meaningful discussion instead of feeling like they are being sold. This kind of atmosphere encourages the prospect to share more meaningful information with you. You will be invited into their circle of trust.  Remember, people buy from people they believe, like and trust.

Make your presentation memorable.  Be prepared with pictures, samples, examples and endorsements from happy satisfied customers.  Capture their attention often by using analogies relating to your product or service. Find ways to get them involved mentally as well as physically.  Make the presentation informative, memorable, and fun. Your prospect will see many salespeople during a week and you want to be the one who is remembered.  As salespeople, we work hard to create opportunities to sell our products. Don’t waste your efforts by making an average presentation. Follow the points we have discussed:  

1) Build rapport

2) Discover their pain

3) Present your product as a specific solution

4) Create a dialogue

5) Resolve their concerns as part of the presentation dialogue

6) Make your presentation memorable