In my training sessions and consultations, I find that many salespeople focus their attention on closing tactics. However, when you open your sales call correctly, execute your sales process in an above-board manner, and you wrap all of this in an effective sales presentation, the close happens effortlessly and naturally. Check out this example, showing when all of these items are aligned, the close happens naturally and organically.
Selling Financial Services Where There is no Perceived Value
By age twenty-five, I was a young professional making my way in the world. That’s when a colleague of mine, Bill Chafee, told me to meet with some guy named Doug Moran. Doug was Bill’s financial advisor. I respected Bill. He was an elder statesman and great salesperson. In spite of that, I didn’t initially think this meeting was something I needed as a 25-year-old.
Despite not understanding why I should contact Doug, I did. What I encountered in that meeting was an extremely effective close. Let me share the conversation:
Once I arrived at Doug’s office, he asked me to sit down. He pulled out an egg and asked me,
“Do you know what this is?
I looked at him. “Yeah. It’s an egg.”
“Do you know what this egg represents?”
“I have no clue, Doug.”
“This represents your nest egg,” he said. “Do you know what a nest egg is?”
“Yeah. It’s what I would use to retire.”
“That’s right,” he said. “Now, here’s the deal, Lance. Over your lifetime, you’re going to have a lot of people that influence, hold, carry, or do things with your nest egg to help it grow. You’ll do things. Your 401(k) will do things. All kinds of things, people, and institutions will affect this egg. Do you know what’s really important about this nest egg?”
He totally had my attention by that point. “No. What?”
“You’ve got to make sure whoever is handling your nest egg, at any time, they’re really careful with it, and that they don’t…” and from about shoulder height he dropped the egg on his desk where it cracked open and oozed.
I popped up! I looked at his beautiful desk. And that’s when I noticed he had laid paper around to protect the surface.
Selling Financial Services with an Effective Sales Presentation
Then he pulled out another egg. “Lance, do you know what this is?”
“It’s a nest egg.”
“That’s right,” he said. “What does this nest egg represent?”
“My financial future.”
“That’s really good. Lance, what’s important about this nest egg?”
He had me. “It’s important that people handle it with care.”
“And what will happen to your nest egg over time?”
“Well, somebody’s going to drop it. It’s going to fall.”
“Good. You’re really thinking now.”
Then he took the egg, and he dropped it on his desk in the same spot. It didn’t break. He picked it up. “Do you know what the difference between this egg is and the first one?”
“That one’s hard-boiled.”
“That’s right. You’ve got to make sure whatever you do with your nest egg, that it’s protected at all times. Whoever uses it, whoever is going to grow it, whoever is going to invest it, make sure it’s protected.”
“And that’s what we’re here to talk about, for now and the future.”
There are a couple of things we can learn here about the sales presentation and the close:
Meet Your Prospect at Their Level
When you meet with your prospect, their mental state will be all over the map. Any number of other events or activities will have their attention. In short, they will be preoccupied. Your job, should you decide to accept it, is to get their attention. Doug did this by opening his sales presentation with a very simple question: Hey Lance – what’s this? In order to answer that question, I had to break my preoccupation and give him my attention. Only then could I could identify the object he was referring to and answer his question. A very simple tool based on human psychological behavior.
Sharpen Your Sales Presentation Skills
One of the primary skills a salesperson must develop is the ability to present ideas in ways that captures and holds your prospect’s attention. As I’ve stated in many of my sales seminars and trainings, telling is not selling. You won’t sell your prospect with logic, although logic can be used to support the decision. Your presentation skills must be sharp enough to evoke an emotional response from your prospect. Only then will you move your prospect to make a decision and act on it.
Use Evidence and Demonstrations to Support Your Ideas in Your Sales Presentation
In our sales presentation programs, we talk about the various methods of using evidence to support your ideas. Here, not only did Doug use an analogy to make his point, but he effectively used a simple demonstration to drive the point home. As a salesperson, you should be well versed in the various methods of using evidence in your presentations. In our training, coaching, and consulting, we cover the forms of evidence and how to use them to create a compelling sales presentation.
Lead Your Prospects Where You Want Them to Go
One of the biggest challenges salespeople face with new prospects is how to guide the prospect through the sales process. To influence your prospect’s decision-making process, you need to achieve rapport, see things from their perspective, and ask effective questions. Again, going back to the example, Doug started the process by getting my attention using an ordinary egg. Through a series of effective questions, he had me sweating over someone cracking my financial future. At that point, Doug had the leverage, and I was ready to listen to his wisdom.
Here is what Doug understood. At the end of the day, every close and every movement in the sales process depends on a salesperson’s ability to connect with their prospect. At its heart, sales is about creating momentum. Once you’ve found the perfect prospect, your next tasks are to find common ground, build credibility, extract interest, and create momentum. To do this, you need to see the sale from the buyer’s perspective.
You’ll find additional ideas on creating and using sales presentations to close more deals in Lance Tyson’s book, Selling Is An Away Game: Close Business and Compete in a Complex World. Get your copy today!