The Sales Presentation

By: Thomas Young

An effective sales process is comprised of prospecting, qualifying, presenting and closing. Prospecting is the task of finding new customers. Qualifying narrows your search to those most likely to buy. The sales presentation is your opportunity to present the key benefits of your product and service. It is how you communicate to the customer the value they will receive from moving forward with the sale.

The sales presentation can take many forms, ranging from formal, structured meetings with many visuals and props, to casual, informal discussions. Here are a few critical components of a successful sales presentation.

Have a Clear Objective

Begin your presentation by clearly communicating your objective. This is critical, otherwise people will form their own objective. Your objective should always be centered on meeting customer needs and adding value. Focus on action not theory, and potential not possibilities. Get to the point and be brief. Organize your presentation and pre-plan it extensively. The concepts should flow together well and key ideas should be grouped together.

Meet Customer Needs

The most important part of a winning presentation is that it meets the unique needs of your prospect. Those needs have been identified during the qualifying portion of the sales process. Focus on answering customer questions and communicating how your service or product will add value. This is based on the customer’s definition of value, not yours. Facilitate the discussion so that you can continue to qualify. Keep the presentation interactive and dynamic. Use appropriate materials based on client needs and expectations.

Keep your ego out of the presentation. Remember the sale is not about you, it’s about your service and product meeting customer needs and adding value. You are a tool to make this happen. Let go of expectations and focus on meeting customer needs and adding value.

Focus on Benefits and Adding Value

The presentation defines exactly how the prospect’s business can be improved and how you can add value to their business. Value is expressed in terms of benefits. People buy benefits that make sense to them. You should know your prospect’s hot buttons and be pushing them frequently in your presentation. The customer should be listening to you. Keep the customer focused by making the presentation personal and targeted on the customer’s needs. Request feedback and be honest and genuine. This will lead to trust and credibility.

Use the prospect’s name at the right time and compliment them often. Use power words and relate to personal experiences of others and benefits they have received. Speak in the customer’s language. Make ideas tangible by giving concrete examples of how your product or service can add value.

Be Prepared to Listen

Clear your mind as you listen to the customer and mirror back what they say to you. Do not resist their feedback. If a presentation begins to fall apart, be prepared to walk away. Do not compromise on your core principles or values to make a deal.

Objections During the Presentation

Objections will often arise during the presentation phase. Don’t panic and begin thinking you have come this far and now the deal could end. Remain calm and work through the objection process as you did during qualifying. (See the objections article from the February 17th issue of InBIZ).

Practice the Presentation

Rehearse and review your presentation until it becomes as natural as conversation. Do not wing it or come to the meeting unprepared, this could cost you the sale! Take the time to practice until the presentation flows with ease and confidence.

The goal of the sales presentation is to meet customer’s needs and to put you in the position to close the sale. By following these guidelines effectively, the close will be a natural progression.

Tom Young, MBA is president of Intuitive Websites, a sales training and marketing consulting firm helping companies increase revenues. He can be reached at 719-481-4040, or email at  tom@intuitivewebsites.com.