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Sales Presentation Pro

These tips from our Sales Expert will help you adapt your presentation to your audience so you get a better response from prospects.

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SalesPresentationPro

In my twenty-eight years of selling, I noticed a direct correlation between the probability of getting a sale and the audience of my presentations. The higher the level of person attending my presentation, the higher the probability was of making the sale.

Your Audience

With that in mind, understand that your best audience will always be individuals who have the power and the authority to make decisions on the spot. That may not always be the top officer of the company – the owner, president or CEO – but it could be. And if it is, let me warn you now: These individuals are notorious for having other key individuals “drop in” during your presentation. The VP of marketing “just happens” to be walking by as you begin your presentation or the top officer “just happens” to be wrapping up a meeting with the COO as you arrive for your presentation.(“You don’t mind if Gail, my COO, sits in on your presentation, do you?”)

Here are two suggestions for dealing with this situation:

  1. Think ahead, take the proactive approach and, during your call to set up the meeting, suggest (by name and title) who should join in and when they should join in. The operative words here are “by name and title.”
  2. Think even further ahead, and take an even more proactive approach: Make sure you prepare handout material targeting,by name and title, everyone on this top officer’s staff who could conceivably have an interest in what you’ll be presenting. If someone “just happens” to drop in, that someone will feel welcomed and acknowledged. If the person doesn’t show, you can give the material to your contact at the conclusion of your presentation. (“Here, Ms Important a – your VP of sales, Tom Sawyer, and your COO, Gail Storm, may find this material of interest.”)

In either case, you’ll look like a pro. (In the latter situation, don’t be surprised if the top officer says: “Let me give them a call. Maybe you could spend a few minutes with them before you leave.”)This is a very good reason you may not want to schedule anything else on your calendar for one or two hours after your presentation.

Adapting  to Learning Modalities

Prior to your presentation, try to get a clue as to what the top officer’s learning modality is. This is extremely important because there are three primary learning styles: visual (“Seeing is believing”), auditory (“I hear what you’re saying”) and kinesthetic (“I’ve got a good feeling about this”). One of these modalities will tend to dominate your target audience, and delivering the “right” message in the wrong format is usually a fatal mistake.So, long before the meeting, hook up with the top officer’s assistant (that all-important team player you’ve included in all your discussions) and pose the question that may well determine the fate of your sale. Here it is: “Would you say Mr Big prefers information that he can see,information he can listen to, or information arising from give-and-take discussions on how other people feel?”

Take a moment to commit that sentence to memory. Write it down somewhere. Practice delivering it out loud. If the answer is “information he can see,” build your meeting around a sequence of visual displays. Back up your visual displays with detailed written documentation, but don’t attempt to recite these documents or “summarise” them with long speeches.Visual people are bored to tears by this. String together a bunch of cool images, and be ready to move from one to the next quickly. Use very few words on each of your “slides.”

Helpful hints for visual learners.

Visual learners have certain easy-to-identify habits. They frequently use words that key into their preference for visual information. While interviewing top officers for my new book Think and Sell like a CEO, I observed statements like:

  • “I don’t get the picture.”
  • “Get the picture?
  • “Can’t you just see it?”
  • “Here’s my point of view on this…” (Don’t be surprised if this CEO wants to sketch or doodle something for you; have a pad handy for such an opportunity.
  • “Why don’t you just show me?”
  • “Imagine this…”
  • “That’s brilliant!”
  • And the all time classic: “I had a vision.”

Communicating with a person who has a strong visual preference can be fun, because you can almost tell what’s going on in this person’s mind by watching his or her eyes.

Words like: “brilliant,” “flash,” “show,”and “see” are more likely to have a greater impact on a “visual” person than on people in the other two categories. Remember: If they can’t see it, they won’t believe it.

If the answer is “information he can hear,”build your meeting around verbal presentations, explanations and responses.Your role will be to offer information in such a way that the top officer can take it all in and then follow up with requests for more information on specific areas of interest. Don’ forget that you’re doing so at the top officer’s sufferance – encourage him or her to interrupt and redirect your presentation as often as seems appropriate.

Tony Parinello is an expert on executive-level selling as well as an author.

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