Nine Tips for Crafting Better Sales Presentations

June 27th, 2017

Nine-Tips-for-Crafting-Better-Sales-PresentationsA great sales presentation moves a buyer from interest to action. A mediocre one does little or nothing. And a bad one causes prospects to run in the other direction. How can you create presentations that result in closed deals? Here are nine tips.

1. Focus on benefits rather than features
Too many salespeople stuff their presentations full of features. The problem is buyers don’t actually care about features, they care about benefits. A feature is a characteristic of a product or service. A benefit is what it means to the buyer. So translate features into benefits and focus on those.

2. Use the words “you” and “your” frequently
Everyone’s favorite subject is themselves. Instead of droning on and on about your company’s history, awards and “commitment to excellence,” spend more time talking about your prospect’s needs, desires, concerns, goals, outcomes, etc. Frame everything in relation to your prospect using “you” and “your”—the two most powerful words in sales.

3. Tell stories
Facts are boring. Stories are entertaining. Data is dull. Stories are compelling. Numbers are meaningless without context. Stories provide context and meaning. Tell stories to illustrate the points you want to get across.

4. Use testimonials
Anything and everything you say is suspect in a buyer’s eyes. What your customers say has a lot more credibility. Use testimonials liberally.

5. Incorporate photos and video
Due to inflation, a picture is now only worth 762 words, but that’s still a lot. Photos and video can communicate in ways mere words can’t. How could you use photos and videos to enhance your message?

6. Stick to the issues that are important to your buyer
Whenever you discuss a subject that’s not of interest to your prospect, you lose their attention. And once you’ve lost it, you may never regain it. Based on your needs analysis, you should know precisely what your prospect cares about. Focus on those items and ignore everything else.

7. Mention one drawback of your product or service
Your buyer expects you to talk about your product or service like it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Your buyer doesn’t expect you to disclose any flaws or downsides to it. Which is what makes this tactic so powerful. When you admit one aspect of your company, product, or service that isn’t as good as a competitor’s, your credibility goes through the roof.

8. Engage as many senses as possible
If all you’re doing is talking, you’re only engaging a single sense, which isn’t very effective for communicating. Adding PowerPoint, photos, or video engages a second sense, which is better. But how could get more senses involved? Could your prospect hold your product? Could you light a candle or use an air freshener in the room? Could you serve them a beverage or a snack?

9. Ask for the sale
The purpose of your presentation is to make a sale. Therefore, it must close with a call to action. If you don’t ask for the sale, there’s no point presenting in the first place. Incorporate one or more closing techniques into the end of your presentation.

An awful lot of salespeople waste their prospect’s—and their own—time with a poorly crafted presentation. Which is great for you! Because when you utilize these nine tactics, your presentations will set you apart from them, give you a huge edge, and enable you to make the sale.

Why You Should Strive to Be a Beginner

June 20th, 2017

why-you-should-strive-to-be-a-beginnerI have a black belt in aikido. But that doesn’t mean I’m an expert in the Japanese martial art. Quite the opposite in fact.

In aikido—as in many other martial arts—a black belt is not considered to signify mastery. Achieving a black belt means you are now a “beginner.” You have put in several years of training and have reached a level of competence that enables you to fully explore the art. You understand the basics and can now learn the advanced concepts and skills that truly define that art. You can now begin your journey on the path to mastery.

It’s a concept referred to as “Beginner’s Mind” and it’s just as important for salespeople, executives, and business owners as it is for martial artists. Because no matter how much you know, there’s always more to learn. No matter how good you are, you can always get better. The moment you believe you have mastered what you do, you’re in trouble.

Great martial artists are constantly seeking out new learning opportunities: reading books, watching videos, and attending seminars. And they’re constantly practicing: honing their skills, looking for weaknesses in their technique, getting faster, becoming more graceful.

Great salespeople, executives, and business owners do the same, understanding that they need to get smarter, sharper, better.

When do you stop learning? Um…..never. The top teachers in any martial art will tell you they haven’t mastered it yet and they’re still learning.

That’s Beginner’s Mind. And if you adopt it, it will enable you to achieve incredible success in sales, business, and life. Wherever you are right now, consider that your starting point. Now you can begin.

Who’s to Blame When Sales Are Bad?

June 13th, 2017

whos-to-blame-when-sales-are-badAs a number of prominent companies have experienced declines in sales over the past few years, much effort has gone into uncovering the causes of those declines. Both CEOs and business “experts” have sought to explain the struggles of once-thriving companies. And while various explanations have been floated, a consensus appears to have formed as to who the number one culprit is: Millennials.

There has been a barrage of articles recently, bemoaning how millennials are destroying a wide variety of industries, sectors, and products, including:

• Golf
• Casual dining chains
• Movie theaters
• Cars
• Breakfast cereal
• Napkins
• Cruises
• Diamonds
• Banking
• Canadian tourism
• Retail in general and department stores in particular

What’s interesting is to read the comments sections on those articles. They’re filled with retorts by both millennials and non-millennials, effectively stating, “I don’t buy that/shop there because it’s not worth the money.”

And that’s a crucial takeaway for CEOs, corporate boards, executive teams, and business owners. The fact is, if people aren’t buying your product or service, that’s not their fault. It’s yours. Either your offering sucks or your marketing sucks. Possibly both.

It’s tempting, when sales are down, to blame everything and everyone but yourself: the economy, unfair competition, your sales team, and of course, those idiotic, cheap, fickle customers.

But if people really wanted your product or service, they/d buy it. The fact that they’re not should tell you something about your company.

Millennials are spending tons of money—they’re just not doing so with brands like Macy’s, Sears, Gillette, De Beers, Applebee’s, and Buffalo Wild Wings. The reasons for that have little to do with millennials and everything to do with the companies themselves.

If your sales aren’t as good as you’d like them to be, don’t resort to the Scooby-Doo Excuse: “If it weren’t for you darned kids…” Instead, look in the mirror. That’s where you’ll find the problem. And it’s also where you’ll find the solution.

You Don’t Get What You Deserve

June 6th, 2017

you-dont-get-what-you-deserveIn a perfect world, everyone would get what they deserved. Good things would happen to good people and bad things would happen to bad people. The harder you worked, the more money you’d earn. The better your product or service, the more sales you’d make.

Unfortunately, the world isn’t perfect. Far from it. But while the world isn’t perfect, it does operate on some principles that you can use to your advantage.

And one of those principles is this: People don’t get what they deserve. They get what they belive they deserve.

Whatever you believe about yourself, you manifest. If you’re a professional, you won’t charge more than you think you’re worth. If you’re a salesperson and you believe your product or service isn’t worth as much as a competitor’s, you won’t sell as much of it or for as much money.

And that goes for everything in your life: the company you work for, your romantic partner, your living conditions, the way others treat you—all of it is based on what you believe deep down that you deserve.

The tragedy is that too many of us don’t value ourselves sufficiently. So we don’t ask for as much as we should. We don’t fight for the sale or the raise or the right partner. We settle.

Whether our feelings of unworthiness stem from our upbringings, religion, or negative media messages, they hold us back from achieving the success and living the life we could.

So what can you do about it? Talk with a therapist, mentor, or coach. Read self-help books and watch self-help videos. Attend seminars. Check out exercises online. Then work at it. Mindsets don’t change overnight. But as you build your belief and confidence in yourself, you’ll start to see better results.

You deserve a lot. Probably much more than you’re getting right now. But what you get is ultimately up to what you believe you should. So the question is: How much are you really worth?