Prepare And Rehearse Your Opening And Close.
Yes, we’ve said preparation and rehearsal are necessary in your sales presentation. But you want to pay particular attention to your opening and your close.
Two Essential Principles of Learning
In his book, “Use Both Sides of Your Brain”, memory expert Tony Buzan highlighted two principles at work during any training activity. The first was the principle of primacy. With this principle, if someone was learning new material, they’d have better retention and recall of the information at the beginning of the training session. So, if you wanted to remember a list of items, you’d find it easier to remember the initial items.
The other was the principle of recency. According to Buzan, if someone was learning new material, they’d have good retention and recall of information near the end of the training session. So, again, if you wanted to remember a list of items, you’d find it easier to remember the last items.
Using these two principles, we see that we’d have an easier time recalling and retaining more information if we segmented our training opportunity into several,10-minute sessions. This would give us multiple opportunities for the primacy and recency effects to take effect.
Conversely, using one long, training session would give us only one opportunity to leverage the primacy effect and one for the recency effect.
Transferring These Learning Principles to Your Sales Presentation
These principles also work when delivering presentations. Applying the above principles to your audience, they would have a tendency to retain and recall your presentation opening and your close. Everything else falls aside unless you take steps to help them remember particular points within your presentation. We’ll outline those in a later post.
But lets stick with the opening and the close for now.
Like in sales, your opening is the most important part. The opening grabs your audience’s attention and keeps them engaged. And just like the sales call, if you can’t get their attention, then the rest of your presentation is irrelevant. You’ve lost your audience before you’ve even started.
For opening your presentation, take a hint from your sales call. Pay your audience a compliment to get them in the same frame of mind. Or you can begin by posing a rhetorical question to focus their attention. Or you can use a relevant personal anecdote to capture your audience’s imagination. We’ll touch on the various methods to open your presentation in a future post.
Closing Your Sales Presentation
The second most important part of your presentation is the close, or your call to action. This is where you tell your audience the action you want them to take. Again, as in your sales call, make your case and provide a clear call-to-action after delivering your presentation. If you don’t, your audience will leave your meeting feeling like there is unfinished business.
So remember, practice your opening until you know you can get your audience’s attention smoothly and easily. Rehearse your close until you can leave your audience with a definite and clear call-to-action. Focus on these two points in your sales presentation, and you’ll close more deals.
You’ll find other ideas for creating your sales presentation in our brief, Sales Presentations: Foundational Basics. You can download your copy of the manual below.