We would all like to think that if our product or service is the best, then we will always be successful with the sales pitch or tender process, but alas this is not always the case! Time and time again we see inferior offerings succeed because their sales pitch or tender presentation was “better”; easier to understand, more confident, more compelling, more coherent, and sometimes more relevant even. Which is why more businesses that have sales teams are investing in training with us that acts as an “insurance policy” to make sure that a sales opportunity is not lost due to comparing sales presentations rather than the offerings of the organisations.
By their nature, Sales personnel are generally confident people, but that often fails to translate to either confident or successful presentation skills; especially as this requires a lot more than just simply standing up and talking to the prospective clients. There are many more skills and mindsets required to communicate WITH the prospect (not AT the prospect), in a way that they will be able to understand why it is key information for their decision making and to warm to you as the person or team presenting to them.
Whilst the Open Dawes Training coaching of “communication skills that remove limits” is largely perceived as being about talking, it is equally important to master the skills of listening; or more appropriately, HEARING. Having listened to many sales presentations that focus on the offering rather than the solution, it is evident that people can (understandably) far too easily getting bogged down with thinking and remembering the facts and pitch about what their product or service can do, rather than listening firstly to what the potential client needs or wants, and making it relevant to them. If the client’s issues and/or objectives have been firmly absorbed, it is then possible to mould what you know about your offering (it is assumed that we are an expert on that, so we don’t simply want to regurgitate everything about it) around how it can solve or provide these for the prospect. Thus, they feel they have been listened to (which has a very positive effect in itself), and that you have identified that you can help them, and now they are listening more positively to your presentation about how you can help them.
That said, it is not always the case that they offer absolutely everything up front to give enough information to make it relevant to them straight off the bat, and this presents my favourite scenario!
If you are knowledgeable enough about your offering, then it is possible to ask questions to establish if you are able to offer even more to the prospect than their initial thoughts had presented. Remember that it is totally feasible that they may not be aware that what you can provide is even possible, let alone available. So, to ask questions that reveal information which can then identify that other elements of your offering would be perceived as beneficial provides more plus marks when you present your recommendations to them. But this really involves serious listening, and then thinking about what it is leading onto as either another question or comment (dare we utter the phrase “sale funnel”…). For example, you establish that they have to carry out ‘X’ to achieve ‘Y’, which then enables them to achieve ‘Z’. We now know the process from X to Z, and then we establish the importance of each of those by asking what happens if they don’t achieve X, Y, and/or Z…. “It will lose/cost us money/business/credibility/time” etc. can be common answers. And maybe certain people within the meeting were not aware that this can or does happen from time to time. You now have an additional element to your presentation where you can emphasise that your offering will also ensure that they can always carry out ‘X’, achieve ‘Y’ and thus achieve even more ‘Z’ without costing money, business, credibility, time, fines, etc.
So, we now have all that we need to know; the prospect's problems and objectives, how our offering will overcome or provide these, and the value add that could take us over the edge against the competition! Now we need to present it in a way that is easy for them to follow and understand and provides maximum impact to ensure that they are emotionally as well as physically sold that they need to go with you.
Without getting into the nitty gritty of how it should be presented; as this is a whole area of our presentation skills training in its own right; there are a number of key practices that can make a difference here. One that is often missed is the way to break down the presentation into multiple “Tell-Show-Tells”. This avoids the information dump of the reason, facts, and conclusion all being dumped in one fell swoop; which as humans we can only absorb so much in one go!
So instead, once you have established the presentation content, you then break them down into multiple sections and wrap each one into a “Tell-Show-Tell” of its own. This means that you tell them what you are going to show them (including why so that they know what they are about to see and why it is relevant to them), then show them (so now they are purely focusing on the facts as they knew what they were about to see), and then tell them what you have just shown them (so that they have it reemphasised why it is vital for them, to ensure maximum impact). Repeat this through the presentation so that they are going on the full journey with you, and buying into each part (including some potentially being educated about things that they hadn’t realised we available and so important for them). It also has a very positive effect to get them to agree with the importance of each Tell-Show-Tell, by asking them questions such as “does that make sense and can you see why that is important?” (as a crude example). Then wrap the whole presentation into one big “Tell-Show-Tell”; finishing with the golden rule discussed in the earlier blog “ The most important part of a presentation” or “Say last what you want to be remembered most” rather than just ending when there are no more questions from the audience.
Once you have these insurance policies in place that makes sure that a Sales team is always giving the best possible sales or tender presentation, you can relax in the knowledge that if you don’t win the opportunity, it probably wasn’t meant to be; never having a “what if”...
Hence it is no surprise that our organisational internal training is what we spend most of our time providing, especially when the training contracts can form part of an organisation's training strategy with returns able to be clearly valued in this example.
To find out how we can also work with your Sales Team(s), and put this "insurance policy" against losing sales opportunities for the wrong reasons into place as part of your training strategy, please fill out the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and someone will be in touch to arrange either a telephone or video conference conversation, or a meeting at your premises, to discuss in more detail.