Every sales call or customer presentation needs preparation. Whether you are selling life insurance to a customer at their kitchen table or the board of directors, preparation incrementally increases your chances for success and achieving the desired outcome. Here are six steps you can use to help you prepare for a successful sales presentation.
1. Be Prepared
The quickest way to destroy your credibility and customer relationships is to conduct a poorly prepared presentation or meeting. Do your homework on the client. Understand the requirements and objectives for the meeting. Check your spelling in any documents or slides.
2. Align objectives and expectations with your customer/audience
Set specific objectives for the call. Make sure the presentation aligns to the objectives and expectations of your customer. Confirm the objectives and deliver the presentation.
3. Respect your customer’s permission and time
Your audience/customer/partner is honoring you with their permission to take their time. Show up EARLY to ensure all equipment is fired up and ready to start ON TIME. There is a common saying here in Redmond, WA that meetings start on “Microsoft Time.” MS Time always drives me nuts from the complete disrespect and arrogance it conveys. To them that means a meeting starts “on time” 10-15 minutes after scheduled. Don’t start your meeting on “Microsoft Time.” If you want a relaxed meeting schedule, I suggest moving to the Bahama’s and working on “Island Time.” On the flip side, don’t accept a meeting if there is no real purpose to listen to a presentation.
4. Start the call appropriately
Start the presentation with a recap and affirmation of the objectives.
5. Ask questions and shut up and listen
Engage the audience during the presentation. Ask for questions and confirmation the information is providing the answers needed.
6. Don’t sell cars with a hard close
I remember a CRM evaluation project I managed for a company where the account representative had to bring his VP to an important meeting. The account rep established rapport and a good relationship through our evaluation process. In the meeting the VP destroyed everything the account rep worked hard to establish. Sadly the VP went for the hard close in an old-school and somewhat arrogant manner. The impression he created was that of a company we would not want to work with. I felt badly for the account rep but from a business perspective we couldn’t risk investing in a company that didn’t respect us as a customer and our buying cycle.