Posts Tagged ‘Presentations’

Below are 7 mistakes that could be costing you more sales, along with tips on how to easily avoid making these mistakes.

  1. Arguing with your prospect and customer. Service and sales representatives often get stuck when faced with an objection, complaint or concern. The well-meaning rep may even show empathy and then continue using transitional words that lead into a controversy versus a conversation.   When faced with objections, complaints and concerns – remove words like but and however. Replace them with the word “and.” Sadly, even the most experienced reps don’t hear themselves using these simple words as we use them throughout the day.
  2. Giving up (versus creating value). How discouraging is it to hear common objections such as “I want to think about it,” “I want to wait,” “I want to talk to… “, “I cannot afford it right now”, and other statements that diffuse you. Do not let these simple objections bury your hard efforts in the graveyard of dead sales. Utilize time tested transitional phrases designed to encourage two-way dialogue and smoke out the prospects blocking concern. For tips, see post on Managing Objections)
  3. Not identifying clear next steps. Many sales situations are a process, some services and products are a long cycle.   Always end a meeting with a commitment and agreement to a next step. Even if it is the time and date for your next follow up meeting.
  4. Not asking for a commitment. This goes back to Sales101! Many sales are lost because a sales rep did not ask for an order. Learn the various ways to ask for a decision, which statement that might work best for your situation, and your customers buying style. When all else fails, simply ask.
  5. Boring your customer. In recent posts, speaking engagements and my book The Sales Messenger, I refer to the spoken word and one’s ability to convey a message in the buyer’s terms and communicate the value it brings to them. I am amazed how many PowerPoint presentations are guaranteed ways to tune out a prospect. Study how people learn and how to best communicate for understanding. You will find putting pictures into you PowerPoint are truly worth a thousand words.
  6. Delaying the delivery of bad news. Simply said, you may not want to convey price increases, delay in delivery, and other things that may cause a customer to be upset.   Ignoring any problem always makes it worse. So breathe deep, practice out loud what you will say, and as Nike said “just do it.”
  7. Not mastering your trade. Finally, Dan Pink backs the concept I teach and preach, which is, “Everyone Sells!” In his recent book To Sell Is Human, Pink funded a relevant study for those in the workplace that prove the point that most people have to sell people on something or as he says, “move them”.   Become a master of communication and you will find selling is not telling!  Study non-verbal communication so you can manage your body language and read your customers.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

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Mary Anne Wihbey Davis talks about Sales

Although best known at Performance Solutions for our sales and leadership training programs and DiSC products, we offer professional skills training that will helps employees at all levels. One skill fundamental to success in life, is how to give better presentations and to communicate effectively. If you are looking to improve your speaking skills, involve your audience, get feedback, sell your ideas, or just make sure you are not boring – consider one of our training courses.

If you or your employees do not have time for a training class right now, maybe you can take a few minutes each day to read a book or spend some time right now reading an article. Here is a book suggestion: Life Is a Series of Presentations: Eight Ways to Inspire, Inform, and Influence Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime by Tony Jeary. And here are two article suggestions: Creating Presentations and Delivering Presentations.

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Biggest tip for talking on the phone that UK trainer Ronald Hughes offers in 6-minute video below is to slow down when speaking .  Here is a summary of the 6 P’s for phone presentations:  pace, pitch, punch, pause, power, and pronunciation.

If you are giving a face-to-face meeting presentation or a keynote speech, you may also want to check out the links for articles on post Presentation mishaps and improvement methods.


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Ah, the sale, when done right, it is music to the ears. It is a symphony. It is a blend of language, verbal focus and visual and it happens simultaneously in a two way meaningful dialogue between the buyer and the seller.

Selling defined:  persuading or convincing people to your way of thinking as it relates to your ideas, products or services.

Remember, “Selling is Not Telling” and people do not buy features and they do not care about your benefits.  They do care about how your idea, product or service will be of value or benefit to them, their community or their organization.  If you did a good job of uncovering needs, wants and buying motives, the presentation step is where you pull all the information together and wrap it in a package with a nice shiny bow.    To convey value and benefits, use transition statements, such as what this means to you, or give concrete examples.

Below is an example from The Sales Messenger book.

Julie is seeking donations to Community Treasure, a non-profit entity that supports many community organizations that provide services to in the region.  She meets with the human resources department, with the intention of explaining the benefits of running a campaign.  “One of the programs we sponsor ensures that our senior citizens who are in need of help get help.  What this means is that those seniors in the community who may be in need of care, transportation, and even housecleaning can have access to it.  And the real benefit to your workforce is that as many of your own employees are facing the issues of caring for a parent and they too will have outlets.  The real benefit to your organization is that by participating, supporting, and making your employees aware of the Greater Senior Citizen Program, you will people connected to our community, an employee resource that can reduce their stress and absenteeism.

Julie goes on to prove it and pulling out a brochure, Julie continues: “Let me show you what I mean. In the year 2010 alone, the service was able to provide X number of dollars in the form of services to those right here in our local community. Now the odds are, an employee, or a relative of an employee, was a recipient of some of these benefits.”

Julie is now ready to do a trial close:  “So, George, in your opinion, do you believe your employees would benefit from knowing their aging parents have alternate support?”

– – “Well, yes,” the HR manager replies.

Do you think it would even make them feel better when it’s time to use the service, knowing they contributed?”

– – “Yes,” George answered.

George, that is one of the many programs we support, and what I would like to ask is if we might get the campaign started here this February. May we?”

– – “Yes,” he said.

Remember, if you think about the problems or pain and go into “ask” mode before “tell” mode, you have a better chance of capturing the prospect’s attention.  Once you have their attention, they are more likely to really hear what you are saying.  Then, if you show them what it means to them and prove it, you have a better chance of closing them.  If they can’t see how it benefits them, you will get excuses, such as, “I am too busy,” “We already have something like this,” or “We don’t want to get involved now.”

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How many times do we have to say, “Selling is not telling”! Yet, so many still get caught up in the blah, blah, blah’s, and cannot properly manage objections and let willing buyers walk away without product or service in hand.  Below are 3 sales tips to remember.

1. Plan your call strategy especially when there is more than one sales rep present.

I went to a meeting yesterday and brought prospects to hear about a new idea in relationship marketing. In the meeting there were two sales people were making a joint call. Sales rep # 1, gathered those around the table, set the stage, gave a demonstration of the product and truly captured the attention of those around the meeting room. I watched the buyers’ body language say, “Tell me more!!! Yes, I really am interested”. At that point, the senior sales rep jumped in and went on for 20 minutes on what seemed to be about another feature of the product. You slowly watched people lose interest, fidget, and then as the room lost control, even have people get up from their seat. Your joint call or any sales presentation should be fine-tuned and play like music.

2. Watch your data dumping and too many claims.

Too much excitement, too much data, too much information can overload the prospect and this is truly what happened in the above situation. When still considering the first part of the presentation, an information dump with grand numbers was too much for the prospect. Know what you are selling, and close all the mini–sales within the sale.

3. Do not fight your prospects.

If a client has a question, learn to answer it to their satisfaction. Be careful not to insult your client. I heard one of the decision makers in the room ask, “What happens down the road?” Simply meaning, if we are not happy with your idea, product, or service: how hard is it to get out? The sales rep simply responded, “Once you try it, you will not want to get out! Others who have tried it say they would be crazy to stop using our service”. So in other words, this well-meaning sales rep just implied that the prospect may be crazy for thinking that way. Use your transition statements, “Obviously you have a reason for asking that, do you mind if I ask what it is?” and then proceed to answer their question in a way that does not seem argumentative or insulting.

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HELP! Stop the Blah, blah, blah!  Yes, that is what prospects say when you blah, them.    How often, I personally sit through these presentations and when I do, it is painful.  Next time you prepare to present to a prospect, be sure to use this 3-step process to prevent customer pain:  stop, look, then go.

STOsignalLightP:  Think about your prospects business and their concerns before you enter the meeting.  Ask a few thought provoking questions before you jump into the presentation.    Engage them; ask them about their business challenges instead of telling them their challenges.

LOOK:  Watch for buying signals – and know when they are not buying!   55% of communication is non-verbal;  yet, many sales people do not take the time to learn how to read body language and non-verbal.  The true sales professionals know where you are at throughout the meeting.

GO:  Learn to move forward seamlessly through each step of the sale process by asking questions.  Example, does what I have shown you meet your expectations?  Have you had any experience with this type of program before?  Do you have any questions before I go to the next step?

Remember:  Don’t tell them what they need, let them tell you.

Share with us the most boring sales presentation you have ever sat through and what made it so.

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I am always honored to be interviewed by other bloggers regarding my passion for sales in text, audio, or video formats.  I then like to share the links to their posts here on my blog.  The latest interview was with the Meeting Genius on improving presentations and staff meetings.  In his interviews, he asks questions about embarrassing moments and how to learn from them. Check it out at Interview with Mary Anne (Wihbey) Davis, Peak Performance Solutions.  Raul’s blog is filled with great tips on presentations, so while you are there check out some of his other posts.

Mary Anne Wihbey Davis talks about Sales

Mary Anne Wihbey Davis speaks on Sales Management and Training

If you want more quick tips on presentations, check out the 2-part article series on Creating and Delivering presentations containing the 4 P’s:  Plan, Prepare, Practice, and Perform.  Shirley (the Meeting Wizard) also wrote articles on Podium Use by Presenters and Professional PowerPoint Presentations that you might find useful.

Also, lots of copies of  The Sales Messenger  book was given out at the Southwest Learning Summitt and Exposition at Plano, TX in August.  You can find an on-line report about the Sales Track presentations at that event by clicking the link.

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Have you ever sat through a sales presentation that sounded like “brochure talk”? (blah, blah, blah…)?  What is on your prospects mind when you are presenting? Could they be thinking “so what” as you rattle off your great features and benefits?

Mary Anne Wihbey Davis talks about Sales

Mary Anne Wihbey Davis speaks on Sales Management and Training

Set yourself apart from the competition by putting the “Wow” back in your presentation.  We find most sales representatives are great at capturing attention, making small talk and even comfortable in the presentation stage. The question becomes, are the general conversations and presentations compelling enough to make prospects say things like, “tell me more” or “how can I get involved”. Every good sales person is taught to sell fact or features and benefits.  Yet hands down, in our trainings, most sales people are backing up facts with facts. In other words, they spend little time finding out the clients hot buttons early on, and this causes them to spend more time in the close.  They are rattling off generic benefits, yet if the prospect does not see it as a benefit to them, that day, then it is just another feature, or possibly, more, blah, blah, blah.  The typical objections then become, “let me think about this”,I have to run it by_____” or “looks great, let me get back to you”.

Here are a few tips to ensure great conversation and an effective, compelling, compliant presentation:

1.  Find out your customers past experiences and/or opinions with your product or service, so you will know if they are hot or cold.  Be careful, not to challenge their ideas and opinions, by telling them how you are better, different, etc…  Example, I was looking at a time-share and the friend who was with me had a property.  When the rep found out he owned one, she knocked his property versus letting him help me buy!  He was a believer in time-sharing. Why not let him help sell me, instead of knocking his intelligence for buying from a competitive vendor?  In short, I did not buy.

2.  Ask questions based on problems and pain versus rattling off your solution
Many sales reps are taught to sell features and benefits.  However, how can you be sure it is a benefit in the prospect’s mind?  Here is another example.
It was the holiday season and I walked into a very exclusive department store.  A lady sitting with a small booth in the isle grabbed my hand.  The way she caught my attention I thought maybe I knew her from somewhere.  She went on to put crème on my hands and tell me how her product was so good.  She said things like,
“look at my hands,” “I was a hand model,” “see this book, these were my hands 20 years ago and look now, you can’t see any difference,”  “Oh, when I was in Beverly Hills last week…”   I thought “…your hands look older now”  “So what!” “Big Deal!” as she made these and many other claims.  She proceeded to tell me how it was waterproof and I would not have to put any on after I wash my hands.  Well, for the price of $45, I thought heck, I can buy my drugstore brand, put on ten layers per day and still come out cheaper. She kept saying how great it smelled.  I thought it smelled like flowers, and I do not like flowery hand crème.  She proceeded to close me with the “alternate choice” close. That is “would you like this combination pack or just the crème today?”  Then I cordially gave her the standard objections that she heard all day…. “Well, I am shopping for the holidays and I am not interested now,” I have plenty of crème now, but maybe later…” Then as any good sales woman would do…she started answering the objections, like what a great gift this would make… (When most of us in sales should know the first objection is rarely the real one).

The funny thing is …just recently I had to spend a lot on nail crèmes and hand oils.  Too bad she didn’t ask me any questions, like, “Do your nails and hands get dry in the winter?” “Do you have difficulty getting your nails to grow in the winter?”  “Do you ever get hangnails?”  She did nothing to create a compelling presentation, she sounded like a brochure…tell, tell, tell to sell, sell, sell.   I spent over $100 at a competitive department store just last week on nail and hand crème because the winter dryness and air travel has created the need.

3.  Insert bridges to be sure you are selling to client needs versus your product talk: Let your prospects talk, help them sell themselves.  When you go into tell mode (your presentation) be certain to tell them what the fact means to them or more so how it will benefit them. Use bridges like, “which means to you,” or “in other words” or, “the real benefit to you is…,” or “let me give you an example”.  This will keep you from accidentally relaying technical jargon and will put them in the picture.  They will buy when they mentally can see the pleasures derived from owning your product or feel the complications, implications and pain of not owning it.

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