Unless you have done a good job selling value throughout the buying process, it is unlikely that even a great sales presentation will turn the tide. However, even if you have done a superb job selling value, a bad presentation at the end might be enough to lose a deal you could of won.
There are some basic techniques that can minimize that misfortune from occurring:
- Be ruthless about clarity. Sales presentations must be compelling, engaging, or memorable.
- Add emphasis to key points. Present targeted success stories and examples.
- Weigh the importance of each portion. Sometimes you need to triage on the fly.
- Customize the sales presentation. There are no generic customers hence there are no winning generic presentations.
But there is a fifth area where the game is often won and lost and it’s one we find account executives often spend less than sufficient planning time – getting the Q&A session right.
The Q&A session is a full-fledged part of any sales presentation. And, it requires the same attention to preparation as the rest of the presentation.
- Most questions can be anticipated. This means that salespeople can plan and rehearse answers. It is not only what you say, but also how you say and what you don’t say that makes the difference.
- If you don’t know the answer, don’t fake it. The best approach is some variation of “I don’t know but I’ll find out.” One of these pops up in almost every presentation.
- Focus on information that is fact-based vs. personal opinion. If it is a fact based point you need to make sure that the backup information is in a “hip pocket.”
- Don’t back away from a challenging or confrontational question. But – never argue. Rather, begin your response by asking a simple question that helps you to better understand the concern – like “Could you just tell me a little bit more about that?” It is often the case that you don’t quite understand the challenge or the reason behind it, hence without a more information it is difficult to come up with a compelling answer. Plus, this approach gives you a little more time to think.
- Follow the 6-second rule. Don’t panic if you don’t immediately get a question. Wait 6 seconds – it might seem like an eternity but it’s very like one will pop up. If you actually don’t get any, considering proposing a question yourself – “ In similar situations we often find the client will ask about the onsite support that is an important question because….
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