Salespeople put themselves and their companies on the line with every word. Here are the 12 most common sales presentation mistakes I see when coaching and training sales professionals — and how to avoid them:
1. Unclear thinking. Want clarity? Imagine that a busy executive says, “You have ten minutes to tell me about your company. In one sentence, how should I describe your benefits when I talk to my managers tomorrow?”
2. No clear structure. Make it easy for your prospect to follow what you are saying. What key “Points of Wisdom” do you want the prospect to remember? How will you illustrate each point?
3. Talking too much. The key to connecting with a client is conversation and asking questions; the quality of client information received depends on the quality of the questions—and listening to the answers!
4. No memorable stories. Vivid, relevant stories help prospects “make the movie” in their minds by using memorable characters (i.e., satisfied clients), exciting situations, intriguing dialogue, suspense, and humor.
5. No emotional connection. Build an emotional connection by using the word “you” frequently and answering the unspoken question, “What’s in this for me?”
6. Wrong level of abstraction. Get on the same wavelength with your prospects, whether broad generalities (C-level), how you can work together (middle managers), or data, facts, and figures (IT).
7. No pauses. Changes of pace, pauses, and full rests allow listeners to think about important points you’ve just made.
8. Hmm…ah…err… Self-explanatory. Practice in front of your sales manager or colleagues, video or audio record yourself, and note any digressions.
9. Weak opening. Engage your audience with a powerful, relevant opening that includes them. For example, “You have an awesome responsibility,” or “Congratulations on your company’s recent success.” Then focus on their needs: increasing sales, reducing errors, cutting overhead, expanding their market, increasing their digital footprint, or perfecting their sales presentations. Whatever your product can help your prospect do.
10. Weak closing. To close, pick the one sentence you absolutely want embedded in their minds—even if you don’t get the sale.
11. Lack of specificity. Specificity builds your credibility and helps position you above your competition. What is the number one crime against your credibility? It’s a single, suddenly-popular buzzword that makes me feel like fingernails screeching on a blackboard every time I hear it. It’s “stuff.” It means debris, and your products are not.
12. Misusing technology. Charles H. Green, co-author of The Trusted Advisor, tells about four advertising agencies bidding on a large account. The last team walked in and said, “We’re ready to do exactly what the other three competing agencies have done. We can give you the ‘Dance of a Thousand PowerPoint Slides,’ but you have a choice. You can pretend you already hired us, and for the next two hours we can start brainstorming on your account. If you hire us, you’ve received two free hours of consultation; and if you don’t, you’ve still had two hours free.” They won the account by intimating they could use the latest technology but displaying the presentation skills that they didn’t need it.
Remember, your skill as a presenter is much more critical to your success than even the best audio visual aids.
If you and your sales team are losing out because of poor presentation skills, why not get the help you need on your own schedule? Become a great speaker easily, conveniently, and quickly with Fripp Virtual Training. Take a trial now: http://frippvt.com
For 20 years I have hired Patricia Fripp to train and coach sales teams with amazing success. FrippVT, in combination with in-person training and coaching, is an unbeatable combination.
– Greg Stivers, Senior Vice President, Client Development, Concur
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Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with those who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.