Rehearsal Is the Work in Sales Presentations
Oscar winner Sir Michael Caine said, “Rehearsal is the work; performance is the relaxation.” That applies equally to delivering a sales presentation.
During a presentation skills training at one of my client companies, a few of the sales team heard what was going on and invited themselves to join. They obviously found value, as they came back on day 2.
During a break, Dan, the national sales manager, told me, “It takes us a year to have the opportunity to deliver an hour presentation to executives from the company of one of our prospects. At that point, a new relationship is worth between $5,000,000 – $10,000,000 to us.”
As a matter of curiosity, I asked Dan, “How long do you spend rehearsing for a presentation that important?”
What I expected him to say was, “A week before, the team locked themselves in a boardroom. We reviewed what we knew about the client and their expectations. We confirmed we had their comments woven throughout our presentation. We then delivered the presentation, recorded it, sat down, and reviewed it. We focused on what that team did well and what could be improved.
“We made more adjustments on the script and how we delivered the message.
“The next day we invited in some of our sales associates to observe and then delivered the presentation to them. They gave their suggestions. The second time we delivered it to them, they asked us tough questions and recorded our responses.
“Together we reviewed the way we answered and rehearsed our improved responses.
“Days three and four, we invited associates from marketing to listen. Again, we asked them to challenge our proven assumptions and ask us for special examples from other clients.
“Day five we wore the exact clothes we planned to wear. The sales associates came back and listened to what we now considered our best presentation possible. We were surprised they gave us a standing ovation. They also committed to adopting this practice for their future presentations.”
That is what I expected him to say.
Imagine my shock when Dan said, “If we have a run-through in the back of Joan’s car before we walk into the meeting, we are lucky.”
Companies invest time and money making sure their sales associates know all about their territories, company history, products, and competition.
Many like Dan’s company invest all of their time and focus on getting the opportunity. They fall short on creating a presentation and rehearsing in a way that maximizes the year’s investment of time. They often fail to help prepare their associates to design and deliver persuasive sales presentations.
Rehearsal is not an option. It is critical for success. Before you invest time to rehearse your presentation, be sure your structure and focus are right. After you present, do you think the leaders from the prospect company will turn to each other and say, “Do you think our sales team represents us as well as that team just did?”
If not, perhaps we should have a conversation.
“Back in 2018, we invited you to help us with an important sales presentation, which we won. You will be as excited to know that it continues to reap dividends! Last year, we were awarded $1.6 million in business with them. We just received a $2.8 million order from them already this year and it is still January. Your advice and coaching are awesome. What an ROI!” Michael E. Stryczek, President & CEO, AB&R® (American Barcode and RFID)
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