Even if you’ve made a compelling presentation, it often takes weeks or months before you get an answer. As a result, the goal is to burn vivid examples and key ideas into the prospect’s mind,
especially if it’s a competitive bid.
Yet, what is the average sales presentation structure?
“Hi, I am Fred Smith. Let me introduce you to my team: Tom, Dick, and Harriett.
Thank you for your time.
We are from the ABC Company…
This is what we do…
This is how long we have been in business…
This is what we are known for…
These are the clients we do business with…
We would like to work with you…”
That is a dreary, “who cares” presentation at its worst. So, what’s a more effective structure? Take
these eight steps to create one that’s focused on the potential client:
1. Sincere compliment. Start off with something that they are proud of and that shows you’ve done your homework: “Congratulations on the success of your recent product launch/ad
2. Introduction to their challenge or problem. This is not the time to mention your product or solution. A better approach is to say something about their current responsibility, challenge, or opportunity: “This is the right time to make a bold move and…”
3. Differentiate from your competition. Everyone else thanks prospects for their time… so don’t. Instead, say: “Thank you for the opportunity to discuss how our company (be specific with your service or product) can help you accomplish your goals.”
4. Thank you and make heroes of your contacts. If you have a champion, now it is appropriate to thank them: “Thank you, Theresa, for your generosity of time and knowledge to help us understand the ABC Company’s goals, commitments, and challenges.”
5. Provide examples, experience, and social proof. Your prospect must understand how your product or service could improve their business and how you are not just a salesperson but rather a trusted advisor. Success stories and case histories are powerful tools.
6. Review your key ideas. This can be accomplished with a rhetorical question or simple statement based on your premise: “So how is ABC Company better off by doing business with us?”
or “As you heard, the way our company would approach helping you accomplish your goals…”
7. Head into the close with confidence, not a question. One mistake many of your competitors makes is to close on questions. No. No. No. You need to close on a high and let your last words linger. Depending on the complexity of your offering, or how many people are involved, you may want to say: “At this point, our most logical step is…”
8. Reinforce your key idea. Your last words are arguably the most important, so never introduce a new idea you have no time to develop. Your approach might sound something like this: “Again, thank you for the opportunity to demonstrate how our approach could well be what you have been searching for. We look forward to our next meeting. In your discussions, remember the results of [other successful clients]. They invited us in with the same timeline you have. You have the security of knowing we pioneered this industry.”
Most professionals are fairly smooth when they get into the body of their presentation. Very few, however, know how to open and close effectively and memorably. In the middle of the night, if your spouse elbowed you and asked, “How are you going to open and close next week’s sales presentation?” your automatic response needs to be exactly what you will say.
An excerpt from
Love is a Verb
by Glenn Van Ekeren