… continued from last week …
- Communicate or show Benefits. At the end of the day, prospects and customers evaluate your presentation by asking, “So, what is in it for me? How would this product, service or offering help me or my business?” People are interested in what the product will do for them. Benefits can be both practical and psychological.
Benefits should be specific statements, not generalisations. Emphasising benefits increases sales.
- Communicate or demonstrate advantages. Unless you are a monopoly, your prospects and customers will usually evaluate your presentation, product or service against alternatives. What are the performance characteristics of your product or service? The chances of making a sale are increased by describing the product’s advantages. Examples include: better than others, faster than others, more cost effective, or uniquely different.
- Close your presentation. Remember how we closed debating contests in school those days? “I hope that with these few points of mine, I have been able to convince, not confuse you that… thank you”. Then you bow and take your leave. When some preachers want to close their preaching, they ask the congregation to close their eyes, lift up their hands and pray. By the time the congregation opens their eyes the preacher is gone. In closing a speech, you may wish to use a famous quote from a very popular person.
In closing a sales presentation however, the above techniques are not part of your options. The first rule is that you must never allow yourself to run out of allotted time. Don’t close with an apology.
Don’t end abruptly. There should be a cue that suggests that you are about close.
You close a sales presentation by highlighting the major selling points you made in your presentation. You close a sales presentation by recapping the major benefits and advantages of your product or service and what they mean to the prospect; without starting another presentation. The idea behind this strategy is to guarantee that as you leave them to take a decision, they remember the key selling points. Your closing should leave them thinking.
- Respond to questions and deal with reservations, concerns and objections. If nobody asks questions or raise objections when you round up your sales presentation, please know that something is wrong. Nine of ten times that means that they just listened to you out of courtesy. If all you get after a sales pitch is “we will get back to you”, please go knock on another door. If the presentation is so good that questions are not necessary the proof will be in the buying action taken by the prospect.
Questions, objections, concerns and reservation are part of the grease that lubricates the sales presentation. We will examine handling objections in greater detail in another article. For now, let’s focus on the steps for handling questions after a sales presentation.
- When a prospect is asking you a question or raising a concern, give the person all eye attention. Show that you are listening to the question. Don’t interrupt or assume that you know what he/she wants to say. You may wish to jot down the question.
- Repeat the question or concern you heard. This step is important for two reasons. Firstly, you want to confirm that the concern you heard is exactly what the prospect raised. Secondly, you repeat the question to the hearing of everybody in the audience so nobody repeats a question you had answered.
- Thank the person for the question or concern raised.
- Then respond to the question in a way that deals with the concerns, while highlighting the fact, features or benefits of the product that addresses the concern.
- Confirm that you have sufficiently responded to the question.
- Thank the person again.
- Ask for a buying decision.The eighth and final step in a sales presentation is to ask the prospect to make a buying decision, take action, show some commitment or agree next steps.
A lot of unprofessional sales people, even after making a wonderful presentation and dealing with all the concerns of the prospect open a window for the prospect to change his or mind. How do the sales people do this? By saying things like, “Please when should I call you to find out if you are buying or not.” or “Let me give you time to think about it; I don’t want to appear desperate.”
Common! If you have followed all the pre-presentation and presentation steps we have outlined and you are fully persuaded that you have touched the hot buttons of the prospect, the right things to say are, “Should I supply today or tomorrow morning?” “Please let me know if you have further concerns that I can address so we can sign the agreement now.” If the prospect says he wants to think about it, ask him what might be delaying immediate decision. If he has to defer to a higher authority, fine. If he says he wants to listen to other presentations, fine.
The key point however, is that you should exploit the opportunity of every sales presentation to ask for a buying action. The risk of postponing the decision, especially if there are buying signals from the prospect is that a lot of things can happen that could make him change his mind when you leave.