They say sales is all about communication. And I do agree. Sales is all about a lot of things.
When you’re able to communicate the value that what you’re selling offers effectively, and the buyer agrees that this value outweighs the costs, then they’re going to buy from you. Pretty simple.
If you imagine some old fashioned scales. The value that you communicate is on one side and the cost is on the other, then for the client to decide to make that purchase is a bit of a no brainer.
Let’s look at this another way.
If Peter and Bob are working for a company selling a cool new SAAS tool. Everything is equal, they have the same access to company resources and all that kind of stuff. But, Peter is consistently performing better than Bob. So what’s the difference?
It’s almost certain that Peter is better at communicating the value of the cool new SAAS tool to their customers.
Bob’s talking about the fancy new gizmo’s that are part of the latest model but Peter is actually talking about what the customers care about. What it means for their business.
Sales presentations are a funny thing. In a way, it’s a bit like giving a speech at a wedding. The audience is desperate for you to do well. They really want you to succeed. They want to be able to understand the value that you’re trying to communicate. If you do a good job, you’ll get the business. And some laughs.
So how do we give a convincing presentation and how do we communicate value in the right way so we can be more like Peter than Bob?
One of the most important ways to start a presentation is to build some initial rapport. Now, what is rapport?
Well, I’ll start by telling you what it isn’t;
Rapport is not spending 5 minutes talking about sports, the weather, or the painting on the wall behind your prospect. It’s not that, so please don’t do it. Your prospects are busy and so are you, or at least you want to give the impression you are. You might find this bit difficult, especially if the client initiates the conversation. My advice is to be polite and bring the conversation back round to where you need it to be, naturally.
The quickest and easiest way to build rapport and trust with the customer is to acknowledge them all by name, look them in the eye, and to show that you have done your research on them and the company. You’re essentially showing that you’re taking this meeting seriously and they had better take you seriously. You’ve done your prep and you’re an expert and there is nobody better placed on this planet to go through what you’re about to speak on. This overlaps with credibility.
A nice relatable statement early on in the presentation will help to position you and the potential buyer on the same team. It gets them nodding and saying yes, I agree with this in their heads. You can bet your bottom dollar that most other sales presentations they will have been part of are a tennis match. With the salesperson throwing features at the prospect whilst they’re batting back objection grenades. You want to avoid this at all costs so start the meeting at a place where you’re both in agreement. Get on the same side of the table. The same team.
We should look at an example. If your business is selling self-cleaning door handles. Your agreeable statement might be “In today’s age, we need to be really careful about the spread of germs”. Pretty much everyone will agree with that, right?
The start of the presentation needs to be broad and we should start to narrow it down and focus during the rest of the meeting. Imagine you’ve taken your client hiking. You start with a nice wide path and they’re comfortable following you down it. By the time you get to the narrow part at the bottom with the steep drop, they’re happy to continue walking with you because they have your trust. If you had started at that bit, they’d have turned around straight away, even if you had told them about the wide path later on the journey.
Next, we need to add a little bit of context. We need to move on from this broad agreeable statement about germs to what you actually want to talk about. Back to the self-cleaning door handles. Here you might say “In an office environment, you may have 20/30 people opening that door per hour”.
Then we go into it a little deeper about our product. The best way to do this is to introduce a real or fictional story.
“So if those door handles are only cleaned at the end of each day, that’s potentially the nasty germs of 240 people on each door handle”
Now we want to get the customer to add their own emotions into the mix.
“Now if one of those people is sick, or hasn’t washed their hands properly, that’s potentially another 200 people that will catch those germs from that one door handle. And they’ll then go on to opening and closing more doors in the office”
The customer will now start doing the maths in their own head.
Now we add in a customer story.
“Your competitor installed our self-cleaning door handles in their office and instantly staff sick rates reduced by 15%, which increased their productivity by £150k in the first year”
So here the buyer is hooked.
And you can introduce your offer and it’s a no brainer.
Who wouldn’t spend £50k on self-cleaning door handles if it meant that their productivity goes up by £150k in the first year.
Here you’ve explained the exact value of your product to their customer. And laid it out in an easy to understand way, that makes it almost impossible for them to say no.
Bob would have gone in and spent 30 minutes talking about the technology behind the product and completely neglected to talk about what it actually means for their business.
Be more like Peter and less like Bob.