Does Your Sales Presentation Have What it Takes?

How well do you present yourself and your company to a prospect? Are you too busy bashing your competition to tell your prospect what YOU have to offer? Stop telling your prospects that you’re the best choice and show them you are with an approach that your competition won’t be able to duplicate! Forget about the competition!

There are two methods of presenting yourself to a prospect:
A. Speak negatively about their current vendor to make your own company look good in comparison.
B. Show off your innovative concepts and solutions to present your company in a new and extraordinary way, without comparing yourself to the competition.

Which option do you think will most likely lead to a sale?

I hope you chose B. For some reason, many salespeople think that speaking negatively about their competition will make themselves look great in comparison. They see their prospect admitting their dissatisfaction with their current vendor and running to you, their new hero, with open arms. In the real world, this doesn’t happen.

Speaking negatively about your prospect’s current supplier will only evoke negative emotions.

This will actually distance you from your prospect and the possibility of making a sale. Consider common questions you may ask your prospect with method A: -Are you paying too much? -Are there hidden charges that you didn’t notice? -Are you getting the type of service that you deserve? All of these questions will produce negative emotions from your prospect. You will make your prospect feel ignorant and misinformed about a decision they made in the past, and make them feel stupid for doing business with their current supplier. What gives you the right to come into their office and start pushing buttons to make them feel this way?

Show that you are different

Basing your entire sales presentation on your competitor’s shortcomings will not only make your prospect feel bad, it will also make you look bad, because the approach is amateurish and lackadaisical. Customers know that it takes creativity and preparation to make an original and valuable presentation. If you want your prospect to think you are different from your competition, then you must bring something new to the table. Don’t ask the same questions and use the same comparison technique that other salespeople use. Find out what makes you different and let that be the driving force behind your presentation. What do you have, other than price and service, to single you out from your competition? Do you have something that will make them more profitable in their business? Do you have a unique concept that your future customers would enjoy hearing about? Of course you do! Now use it! Once you decide what your creative focal point should be, construct your entire presentation around it. Put those negative comments on the back burner and get excited about your creative approach to the sales presentation! Your enthusiasm and preparation will carry you from the initial phone call all the way to the signing of the contract.

Take it to the top

Choosing a presentation that is different from your competition will give you the distinction you will need to set up an appointment with a prospect at the top of an organization. With this attention, you will be in a position to speak with someone from the company who is not bound by existing budget restraints and has the power to make the decisions necessary to award you with business. Without this distinction, you would be stuck speaking with an administrator of the company, who would probably be more concerned with price than fresh business concepts. Their lack of authority and desire to make radical changes will often bring up obstacles that you are most likely used to dealing with. These can include current contracts that have yet to expire, budget restraints, and the lack of gumption to alter the status quo. Those who actually run companies are interested in new concepts that can make their business more profitable and more productive. Coincidentally, these people are the ones with the authority and desire to make changes when they have a compelling reason to do so.

Having a presentation that is positive and focuses on your innovative solutions and ideas will grab the attention of the actual decision maker. By abandoning the old fashioned presentation method of using comparisons, you will mark yourself as a leader in your industry. You will be seen as an expert in your field and will win sales at margins that support the level of service that your customer expects. In this position, you will be practically untouchable by your competition. Your prospects will see that the creativity and preparation of your presentation reflects your business practices. They will assume that you will be just as unique and thorough in their fulfillment and service after the sale. This will separate you from the competition and facilitate a level of trust and loyalty that can’t easily be matched. Because of your presentation, YOU will get the attention of the decision maker, and YOU will get the sale!

“Just Being Present,” and What That Means – Part 1

We’ve all had it, I’m sure. You’re innocently using the computer and suddenly you get some cryptic computer-jargon message (apparently it’s called a ‘dialogue box,’ but that’s a bit silly considering that we can’t talk with the computer!) saying, “General error, the program needs to close.” What can you say? Apparently it’s some file or script error and re-starting the computer is the way around it.

And the same happens with our brains to a certain extent. We get these ‘scripts’ and ‘programmes’ running that just cause us to terminate what good thinking might be happening at the time. It’s called anxiety and worry and fear. We track off into the past or the future for a moment and then the programme of our effective thinking stalls. Time for technical help perhaps?

The humanist community might call us to become ‘aware,’ so that we can control our thinking on manual mode, just allowing stimulus from our surrounds, and any deliberate, normal cognitive thinking to take place. They would tell us, ‘Just be present,’ and focus on your breathing.

It shouldn’t be that hard should it–to just be present? I tried the technique on the way home from work one evening and I got distracted off ‘being present’ so many times there must be eternal ruts in my mind.

Paul tells Timothy that, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” -2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV).

We’ve all heard the term, ‘Junk in, junk out,’ relating to computers. Well, our minds are the processing unit for what we eventually do in life. We think of junky things, and yes, we then do junky things.

Our thinking is like the car that cruised slowly past me; for a time, that car was plain out of sight. I had to deliberately and purposely check it was still there. For a moment I thought it had vanished. My experience wasn’t based in truth and therefore my mind started to believe something that wasn’t real. But then the car in my blindspot did eventually re-appear.

Our thinking, similarly, has to deal with all sorts of blindspots that prevent us from seeing truth and reality–we will generally only believe what we can see. But, if our thinking is subsumed by a blindspot, we’re making decisions based on bad data. Life is suddenly going from bad to worse, as the false script reinforces the negative quickly down toward the sinkhole syndrome of concern, anxiety, fear, dread, and a myriad of other forms of ‘nothing’ thoughts, which can only be destructive.

We make thousands of incorrect assumptions every day when our thinking is not based in truth. (And to think otherwise takes a whole deal of training, which I’ll get into next article.) Erroneous thinking impacts incredibly badly not only on our decisions, but also on our relationships. At best it’s counterproductive, and at worst, it’s plain destructive.

We learned through the above quote of Paul’s that a sound (and sensible) mind is a gift from God’s Spirit.

So, if God’s gift is a sound mind, where does the junky thinking come from? You guessed it! It’s the Devil in disguise, and he’s messing with us. Why be duped? The Devil might want it that way, but why should we succumb when there’s by far a better way for us and everyone connected with us?

Now, all the ‘Devil talk’ might be putting you off… let’s change the subject. Let’s just get into some “awareness” as purported above.

The advice I read recently made so much sense to me I decided to give it a try, and strangely it works. I think it’s but one technique God gives us to enjoy his gift of a sound mind.

Use Webinars to Add Value to Existing Presentations

Many presenters, when the idea of running webinars is suggested to them, respond by saying:

“There’s no way we could do our training courses by webinar, because the people really have to be in the room.”

The truth is: They are probably right!

Some face-to-face interactions simply can’t be replaced by webinars (For example, it’s difficult for a webinar to re-create the experience of a dynamic keynote presentation). But that’s no reason to abandon webinars altogether.

Some webinars do replace existing presentations, but many don’t. They can promote, support, complement, supplement, and add value to your existing presentations instead. Here are three examples…

1. Pre-event support

If you offer any intensive workshops, consider whether it’s worth running a preliminary webinar to help your participants prepare for the workshop. This means they turn up to the workshop with all their preparation done, ready to make best use of the time you’ve got together face to face.

If the participants don’t know each other, this is also an excellent way of breaking the ice and building some rapport between them (and you!) before they meet at the workshop.

2. Post-event support

You can also use a webinar to provide support after an event – for example, doing a Q&A session some time after a training program, to answer questions from participants who are implementing your ideas. This adds value to the program, and provides more of a package for the participants (and your client, if this is an in-house program).

Schedule this webinar at an appropriate time after the event. Give them enough time to put the workshop ideas into practice, but don’t leave it so late that they get stuck and lose motivation. Typically, it would be 4-8 weeks after the event.

3. Mastermind group

For even more embedded learning, consider offering to facilitate a “mastermind group” from among the attendees at a face-to-face presentation. This works best, of course, when you’re dealing with a small group. You don’t have to be the expert; simply be the facilitator who provides the webinar technology.

Although I’ve described this as a way of supporting an event, you could run it equally well as a stand-alone mastermind group with your own business colleagues. Webinar technology means they no longer need to be in the same room, city or country!

How could YOU use this?

Consider your current presentations – whether they are keynotes, training programs, coaching, facilitation or something else. How could you use a webinar to add more value to what you deliver?