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Presentations That Sell

How to use the Steve Jobs approach to make sales and close deals.

Axel Rittershaus

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No matter if you are selling high end software solutions or products for your neighbours – you always have to present your product or service to close the deal. I trust you sometimes feel challenged by that task and ask yourself how your sales pitch can be compelling.

Why don’t you apply the lessons we can learn from one of the best presenters in the world, Steve Jobs? Yes, you can learn from his approach no matter what business you are in. You know why? Because his presentation technique is not only applicable for technical stuff – it works for almost anything because it is based on the fundamentals of persuasion, excitement and oratory. If you follow the guidelines he is using for all of his keynote speeches and presentations, you will improve your sales success and outperform your competition.

1. No technical language

Do not use any kind of technical language, abbreviations or foreign words. It might sound fancy or well educated, but it will not help your sales if your customer feels uneducated because he doesn’t get what you are talking about. Use a language which is easy to understand. If you want to test it, there is a simple way for doing that. Ask yourself: Would a 7 year old child understand what you are talking about? If not, redo your sales pitch.

Steve never uses complicated language. His taglines are “twitter-ready” with less than 140 characters, so they can be published 1:1 and the audience will remember his message.

2. Demonstrate and visualise the benefits (for your customer)

Make “Bait the hook to suit the fish, not the fisherman” your guideline for your content. You might think your product or service is the best in the world. You might be addicted to all the features and gadgets you are offering. But this is not even worth a dime, if the customer doesn’t see the value he is getting. Figure out what her key drivers, her pain and buying criteria are and focus on demonstrating and visualising them. Don’t just talk about the stuff you like. What you like is most likely not what the customer is looking for!

If you have a tangible product: Perfect! Show it. Give it to them. People love to touch things and you have to guide them to get the desired sensation. If you have a service or product like software: Visualise the outcome. Talk about the advantages and the ease of mind that comes from working with you. Do you know how Steve introduced the very first iPod? He spoke about “1,000 songs in your pocket”. What else do you need to know?

If you need some ideas regarding taglines, you can find some here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Apple_Inc._slogans

3. One last thing

This is one of my favourites and in the meantime everybody is starving for this moment in Steve’s presentations. He never starts with the biggest news like the invention of the iPhone or the iPad. He always starts with impressive news, updates and reports. Only when he is about to finish, he is presenting the next revolutionary product. When you talk to your clients, go through all of your important messages. Make them funny, surprising, interesting, tangible, but keep the very best one for the last part of your sales story.

“Save the best for last” and impress your client with an unexpected and impressive reason to buy from you. People always keep the last thing you told them in their mind. Make their memory a very remarkable one.

And don’t forget: It has to be impressive from the customer’s point of view.

4. Dress for Success

If you want to make your customers feel that you are one of their kinds, get dressed the way they feel comfortable. If you are selling top of the range cars to millionaires, you shouldn’t look like a hobo. And if your client is the average man from the street, don’t wear a R25,000 suit and a tie. He won’t like you and if he doesn’t like you, he won’t trust you.

Of course it’s better to be overdressed than the opposite, but if overdressed, it should be just a little bit better than your counterpart. Otherwise she might feel uncomfortable in her T’s and jeans – and if a client feels uncomfortable, she won’t buy.

5. Exercise, exercise, exercise

Steve invests hundreds of hours into practicing for his key notes. Every word, product, speaker got prepared, as if they would be recording a video for the MTV video awards. It only looks that effortless because the effort was invested upfront. Please do never approach a client without making your homework, which includes preparing the right messages and testing them out. Exercise your presentation, your sales pitch, your product demonstration 5, 10, 15 times and make it perfect. Exercising gives you the edge for at least 3 reasons:

  1. You know what you are about to say and don’t need to think all the time “what can I say next”.
  2. You’re less nervous because you don’t have to look for the right words.
  3. You can concentrate on your clients’ reactions and read her body language, because you have enough mental capacity to see her.

6. KISSes for your product

Keep It Short and Simple – if you focus on simple messages which resonate with your client, you will be the winner. And they will KISS you, because you made them get the product or service they were just waiting for – even if they might not have known that before they met you.

Axel Rittershaus is an internationally renowned C-Level / Executive Coach & Author who started as an entrepreneur in the IT industry in 1993. He knows that success is the result of hard work and determination even more than innate talent. A master of maintaining focus and follow-through, Axel supports C-Level leaders globally in achieving goals. Axel is dedicated and passionate to see clients succeed beyond their expectations. Axel is also the president of the International Coach Federation South Africa and a multiple Two Oceans and Comrades finisher. You can follow him on twitter.

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