In a previous post, we looked at a few requirements to move the sale forward. We need to get into the prospect’s mind and answer 5 questions. We must also supply evidence to back up our claims. And we must provide third-party validation to ease the prospect’s concerns.
All the content that we present to the prospect is important. However, just as important are 4 factors we need to monitor when presenting our ideas. They are how we look, how we act, what we say, and how we say it.
Sales Presentation Factor – Consider How You Look and How You Act
When presenting our ideas or our prescription, we must consider the visual impact of our presence and ask if it supports what we are trying to accomplish. How we look and how we act are instrumental in building our credibility and believability. If you sell face-to-face, people are going to judge you on how you look and behave. This includes how you dress, how you move, how you present yourself, how you communicate, and how you deal with people. Like it or not, it’s the way the world works.
Your enthusiasm is also on trial. Some salespeople just aren’t good at being enthusiastic. They’re like crypt keepers, bound by the restrictions of their own making. The root word of enthusiasm is entheos, which means “God from within” in Greek. It’s not about being a cheerleader or projecting phony excitement. Your prospects see through that. Rather, it’s about being totally congruent between your intentions and internal feelings, and your external behavior.
The last four letters in enthusiasm are I-A-S-M. When we deliver the solution, this means: “I Am Sold, Myself.”
This is where many salespeople fail when they present their prescription. They aren’t sold themselves on what they do. And on top of that, they don’t know enough about the prospect. So, instead of speaking in specifics, they mindlessly spew off cold statistics and general facts. They’re not good storytellers and they don’t know how to use visuals and props. Instead, they lean too much on a PowerPoint, thinking that the slide deck is their sales presentation. Remember, we’re the presentation, the messenger, and the message. If it could all be done with a PowerPoint presentation, our sales managers would let the web administrator publish the slide deck and the website would do the selling.
Sales Presentation Factor – Organizing Your Message
There are other factors that help us become a powerful communicator. We already talked briefly about how we look and how we act. But what we say, even the order we say things, will help persuade a prospect when we prescribe a solution.
Say I was trying to convince a township’s city council to control the deer population. I could say:
“You know, we should really think about killing at least 20% of the deer population. I say that because right now, in our city, deer have caused at least five near-death experiences, and countless dollars of damage to property, cars, and homes alike. We’re teetering on the brink of losing human lives because the deer population is out of control. I think we should actually kill deer to save lives.”
That’s one way to pitch it. That might appeal to the hunters in the room. But I’ve got to think of my entire audience.
An Alternative Presentation
Another way to present the same argument is to open like this:
“Two of my sons and I were a little south of Cleveland toward end of fall. It was right around dusk, just about 6:15 in the evening. So, the cars were just starting to turn their lights on. I was heading south, when suddenly a deer vaulted from woods on the passenger side, right in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes. In the back, my younger son was leaning forward. He had his seatbelt on. But as I hit my brakes, he slammed his face into the front seat, screamed, and started to cry. I swerved into oncoming traffic and was lucky enough to get back in my own lane. What I’m suggesting to the City Council is we seriously look at some ways to control this deer population, maybe with a controlled hunt, or something like that.”
Ask yourself about those two examples. In the first one, I start with the prescription and supply some evidence in the form of facts and statistics. In the second one, I start with a personal anecdote to convince and offer the prescription after. Which one’s a more convincing sales presentation of a prescription to a broader audience?
What we say and the order of what we say, are critical.
Sales Presentation Tip – How We Say Our Message
This last factor deals with how we say our message. Consider the simple sentence “I never said he stole the money” with vocal emphasis on the italicized words:
- I never said he stole the money. That guy over there said it.
- I never said he stole the money. When the FBI asked, I just sort of pointed him out.
- I never said he stole the money. But I did write it in an email message
- I never said he stole the money. It was that girl over there who stole the money.
- I never said he stole the money. He borrowed it! I said he borrowed it!
- I never said he stole the money. Remember? I said he stole the bike!
Each sentence uses the same words. But each sentence means something different depending on the emphasized word. Sometimes, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. As salespeople, we must recognize the impact our voice will have on our prospects.
When prescribing a solution, we must consider all aspects of the communication process if we want to persuade our prospect to buy. Content matters. But these other 4 factors play a huge role in making a persuasive argument. And they are completely within our control.
So, the next time you are standing in front of your prospect prescribing a solution, remember you are the message. And how you look, how you act, what you say, and how you say it will have a huge role in persuading your prospect.
You’ll find more ideas on using evidence in your sales process in Lance Tyson’s book, Selling Is An Away Game available on Amazon. Get your copy today!