Over the years I’ve read hundreds of sales books. I’ve attended countless sales training sessions with various philosophies from Spin Selling to Solution Selling, and Relationship Selling. As I’ve sat through these courses as both a rep and ultimately as the head of Sales I began to watch expressions and reactions to the material being presented. I have seen the excitement, and the hunger, in people’s eyes as they listened intently with the hope that “this will be the training that changes everything” for them, and that “this class will provide the silver bullet” that has eluded them throughout their career. Most often times they’re wrong.
A recent article on training cited a statistic that 87% of sales training was forgotten within the first 30 days. This begs the question, why? Is it because the philosophies being taught are not good? Are the different sales processes wrong? Is it just bad information? Is it because the rep tried it and it didn’t work? I would offer that all of these sales methodologies have great aspects to them. They all offer tremendous insights and perspectives on various sales situations. But there’s no such thing as one-size fits all when it comes to Sales training. Why? Because all people are different and as such react in different ways when they are being sold to. That means it’s incumbent on the sales rep to be savvy enough to know what elements to apply in any given situation.
No Sales training methodology will work 100% every time. The key is knowing what pieces to take from each perspective and incorporate them into your own style and process. The best sales people know what to say, when to say it, when not to say anything, what questions to ask, how to ask them, and when to ask.
Recently I participated in a discussion on “What makes a great Sales Presentation?” Some of the responses were very classroom-ish. The fact is, the more complex you make something the less likely it will be tried, let alone followed. As such I put together my own step-by-step recommendation for delivering consistent, high-quality sales presentations.
To get the most out of every Sales presentation follow the steps below:
1. Prepare – know the buyer persona you will be meeting with, your competition, your own products and services.
2. Be early. If you’re on time you’re late.
3. Dress the part. I can’t tell you how many sales presentations I’ve sat through where the reps tie was not straight or a blouse had one too many buttons undone. Attention to the small details says a lot about you.
4.SMILE – no one wants to spend time with a grouch or scary person!
5. Listen twice as much as you talk – that’s why we have 2 ears and one mouth.
6. If your product requires a formal presentation use an iPad and get theSlideshark app. It is a powerful tool and demonstrates your ability to “integrate” various tools into a process…the sales process.
7. Boil your presentation down to 3 salient points…be clear and concise but have back-up and detail should the buyer want to dive deeper.
8. Gain continuous buy-in. Throughout your presentation make sure you check in with the buyer to gain their continued approval and agreement. When you get to the end you can sum up your presentation by saying, “we agree this solution makes sense for your business so lets talk about next steps”
9. No matter what the outcome, shake hands, smile, thank them for their time and let them know you will keep in touch…then do it!
Give this a try for a month, or however long it takes you to do no less than 25 presentations. Then let me know what your results were. Remember, to be successful in Sales you MUST be a continuous learner, broadening, and deepening your perspective each and every day with each and every presentation you give. Not even the 9 steps above are a silver bullet but they can certainly help you improve your overall sales effectiveness.
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