“Your sales presentation is the single most important factor that contributes to your business success.” – Ray Stendall
In this special video series, I share with you my Five-Point Blueprint to delivering your sales presentation effectively.
The ASM Sales Blueprint: A 9 – Point Guide to More Persuasive Sales Presentations
I. Qualifying the prospect
- A prospect is someone who has expressed an interest in your product or service and seems like a good fit for your business.
- Whether you’ve had an initial conversation or meeting with your prospect or just been handed a lead, before you begin planning, make sure that you have thoroughly qualified your prospect.
- That means your prospect should meet the following criteria:
- The prospect has a need or desire for the solution that you provide.
- The prospect has the authority to influence or make the purchase.
- The prospect (or the prospect’s organization) is financially capable of making the purchase.
- The prospect is likely to take action within a definite time period to resolve their problem.
II. Qualifying the opportunity
- Even if your prospect is qualified, you want to determine if the opportunity is worth all the time and effort you’re going to put into creating the presentation and delivering it.
- It’s always better to find out before you’ve spent two weeks preparing that your product or service isn’t well aligned with your prospect’s needs.
III. Defining your actionable goal
- Every presentation needs a clearly defined outcome.
- When defining that goal, the outcome must be measurable and specific.
- Otherwise, how will you know if you’ve achieved it?
- Actionable and measurable goals give your presentation focus, direction, and a clear call to action.
- For example, a goal of letting a prospect know what we offer is neither measurable nor specific.
- In fact, it’s not so much a sales presentation as it is public service announcement because no selling is actually taking place.
- A clearly defined goal would be, to convince the prospect to recommend our solution to the financial decision makers within two weeks.
Determine what the next step is in the sales process after your presentation.
- For example, scheduling a product demonstration.
- For example, setting a date and inviting attendees to the demonstration.
IV. Research Before presentation
- Company goals and strategic initiatives: Most companies have a vision or a corporate objective that it has set for the coming year. For example, we want to increase market share by 10 percent this year.
- Community involvement: Look for pet projects or sponsorships. Perhaps the company sponsors a local sports team or runs an annual food drive for the homeless.
- White papers or case studies. Often organizations produce publications that address issues within their industry or show how they have helped solve problems for their customers. These can provide valuable insight into topical issues and industry trends.
- Industry analyst reports
- Social Mention.com
- Interview users, influencers and decision makers if possible before the presentation
V. Audience Analysis
A. Problem owners (Users):
- These are typically end users — the people within the prospect’s company who are living with the problem and likely will be using your product or service.
- Although they have some interest in larger organizational goals like increasing profit, expanding globally and so forth, they’re typically concerned about more direct and immediate goals that impact how they do their jobs.
- For example, problem owners are looking for your presentation to answer the following questions:
- How does your product or service solve my problem?
- Will it make my life easier or more difficult?
- Will it help me do my job better (faster, more accurately, with less supervision, and so on)?
B. Problem solvers (Technical Decision Makers / Influencers:
- These people typically are affected by the problem secondhand but tasked with the challenge of seeking out a solution.
- They’re likely your point of contact within the organization.
- Although not directly affected by the problem, they must find a solution that works for both the end users and the decision makers.
- Therefore their concerns usually center around validating their recommendations, avoiding mistakes, and implementing easily.
- For example, problem solvers will want to know if your product will do what you say it can.
C. Decision makers:
- In a significant sized deal, the person writing the check is often a high-ranking manager or C-level executive.
- With multiple responsibilities and interests, they are less concerned with the specifics of how you are going to achieve something and more interested in the financial viability of the solution and how it impacts the organization as a whole.
- For example the decision maker’s concerns include:
- How does this solution compare to other priorities within our organization?
- How does this help me increase market share by 10 percent this year?
- These individuals “buy Numbers” to advance business objectives.
VI. Putting Together a Persuasive Presentation
Phase 1: Setting The Stage
A. Plan your introduction.
A succinct pre planned introduction that establishes credibility and jump-starts your presentation is much different than the rambling streams of self-consciousness your prospect may be accustomed to hearing from account managers.
B. Start with a hook.
- Just because your prospect is looking at you is no guarantee you have his full attention.
- You need to have a hook — a device, such as a quote, a story, or an insight — to engage your audience and create interest in your presentation.
- For example, “every two days we create as much information as we have since the dawn of time. In your business that means…”
Hook – draw the audience in. Here are 8 examples of different kinds of hooks:
- Quote: Using someone else’s words can add an element of credibility to your presentation or effectively frame your message. Example: The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well. John D. Rockefeller
- Question: Asking your audience a question can get them actively thinking about the topic and participating in the conversation. Example: What percentage of expense reports do you process is error-free?
- Startling statement: Opening with a strong point of view can be effective at getting your audience to sit up and pay attention. Example: You may be losing half a million dollars or more a year by not being able to take advantage of early supplier payment discounts.
- Fascinating fact: An interesting fact that is relevant to your topic can incite curiosity and conversation. Example: The fastest growing segment of the population is those individuals 80 and older.
- Story: A short relevant story is a unique and powerful way to open a presentation. Example: My recent zip line experience reminded me of the business challenge we’re here to discuss. Here’s why…
- Prop: An object can give your message a powerful visual impact. Examples include flipchart, whiteboard, book, phone, key.
- Insight: Sharing something valuable about your prospect’s industry or company can enhance your credibility and greatly improve attention. Example: We discovered that your accounting personnel typically touch a document four times before it gets processed in your current system.
- Video: A short on-point video is a sure way to gain attention and set the tone for your presentation. Example: A company selling security technology uses a quick montage of news clips on personal information leakage.
Linking phrase – How does this apply to your business.
C. Define the situation.
- Quickly summarize where your prospect is in regards to his problem or challenge and where you can take him.
- For example, you’re currently experiencing a high turnover that’s affecting your bottom line and limiting your ability to expand and reach your goals.
D. Introduce value.
- Value should make an appearance early on in your presentation, especially if you have executives in the room.
- For example, we’re going to talk about how to reduce turnover by as much as 50 percent based on what we were able to achieve with a similar customer.
Value Proposition Tip 1: Relevancy:
- A good value proposition is always seen from the prospect’s eyes and is relevant to his goals and objectives, not a simple rehashing of your marketing positioning statement or a list of your strongest benefits.
- For example, if your prospect’s goal is to increase sales, the fact that your company provides tools for greater sales productivity isn’t relevant as it stands.
- If you reposition it to say that we can help you increase sales by giving your reps tools that allow them to respond to leads 25 percent faster, then you have shifted the focus away from your company and to your prospect’s interests, making your value proposition much more relevant and compelling.
Value Proposition Tip 2: Specificity:
- Vague statements of improvement aren’t sufficient today.
- Your value proposition should include a specific claim in order to get your prospect to sit up and take notice.
- Sophisticated decision makers roll their eyes at general claims like, We can save you money or We help improve your bottom line.
- Questions leap to mind:
- How much can you save me?
- In what time period?
- Where does that savings come from?
Value Proposition Tip 3: Customized For Prospect
The prospect’s goal or objective: During your discovery process you’ll have defined what your prospect’s goal — or goals — are. If your prospect has several goals, rank them according to their importance for your prospect and your ability to impact them.
- An action verb: This is what effect you have on the prospect’s goal: Increase, reduce, drive, eliminate.
- Outcome: For your value proposition include the outcome of the area(s) that can have the most impact helping the client reach his objective(s). For example, employee retention, speed to market, sales revenue.
- Figures or statistics: Prospects want to see concrete results, not vague promises. Quantify what outcome they can expect to see from your solution. When you uncovered your prospect’s goal, it was likely expressed in some type of key performance indicator (KPI), such as revenue, year-over-year growth, cost-per-unit, and so forth. Be sure to speak in the same terms that your prospect uses.
- Competitive advantage: Where do you outperform your competition? In almost every case your prospect has other choices when it comes to achieving his goal or solving his problem.
Phase 2: Show Time
This section presents the steps you can follow to create a persuasive presentation using the situation, complication, resolution structure. The rest of the presentation has to prove and substantiate the value proposition.
VII. The Topics That Support the Value Proposition Make Up The Body:
Identify each challenge, impact, and benefit.
As you go through the body of your presentation, explore each challenge, the impact of not resolving the challenge (or, if it’s a why buy us? question, the impact of choosing another vendor), and the benefit you provide by solving each challenge.
Using a transition statement
Because your topics are all linked to your value proposition, there should be some common thread that you can use to connect each one that creates a logical flow. Using a transition statement helps you deliver it smoothly. Here are some examples of transition statements after finishing one topic and leading into a new topic:
VIII. Summarize your journey.
If it’s been more than 45 minutes, you’ve covered a lot of material. As you move into your closing, take a moment to quickly recap the journey and highlight the benefits to reinforce them. For example, We set out today to show you how we can help you lower your response times and increase your closing ratios in order to stay on track for hitting your goal of 25 million in global sales this year.
Here are some tips:
- Revert back to the hook or angle of the hook or bold promise
- Recall the status quo
- Recall the desired position or objectives
- Recall the few key points per topic covered
- Restate the value prop
- Validate with proof (facts and figures, Case studies, industry research, customer reference)
- Reinforce the one thing
- Make the call to action
IX. Make a call to action.
You’ve delivered a compelling case, and your audience is smiling, so don’t let the moment pass without asking for a clear, specific, and verifiable action. A call to action is a clear and specific statement of what you want your prospect to do after your presentation. For example, I suggest we schedule a deep dive with our support team within the next 30 days. How does that sound?
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