Sales Coaching Series, Part 18: Final ideas on "what influences buyers"!

So, what do you think you need to do to change your pitch, so that you and your prospect are both on the same wavelength?

We will go into the fundamentals of making presentations at a later date, however, suffice to say now that, in relation to your presentation, getting it right first time (aka G.I.R.F.T.) is a critical success factor that will influence prospective buyers.

Just a reminder, if you have taken my previous tips on board, you will know that presentations come at the end of the relationship building and identifying needs processes. This is because when you are making your presentation, it must be in accord or lined up with what your prospect has told you in the earlier process.

If I am ever asked to come in and make a presentation about what I do, I refuse! What is the point, unless I know and can establish the exact needs in advance. Otherwise, it is generally a waste of everyone's time... and time is money. And money is time!

Presentations are never about a one-fit-all solution. You will always customise your pitch/presentation to the people you have in front of you.

Why is this? If you have listened well enough, have taken copious notes and can then refer to these during your presentation, you can now relate your content to their desires for gain or fears of loss. This has worked extremely well for me in my consulting career as clients are, firstly, taking on ME, then my product/service that I offer and then my company.

Unlike tangible products that people can touch and feel and see, consulting services are far more difficult to sell. In effect, they are buying something intangible, a dream, a vision, an outcome. So the more that you can paint pictures in people's heads and focus on the emotion when selling intangible products, like consultancy services, the better.

If you can look into the whites of people's eyes when you are describing what you do and relate it to their needs, you are a long way down the road in converting prospects to clients. Remember, all prospects must want, need, use and afford your offering. If all four are not met, you may have to move on. Your job, when you are presenting your product or service, is to tap into the wants, needs, uses and affordability so that they are saying yes in their own minds.

So, challenge yourself. During your presentation, do you build bridges between you and the prospect by saying things like:

..."...and do you remember when you mentioned (X matter), well I have seen lots of similar situations in the past and our solution offers… "

..."... I recall you referred to a situation where..., well, we have a solution for that..."     

If you are a "professional" (the word is bandied about far too liberally and lots of people don't know what exactly it means to be professional, see below*), you should have a very logical and orderly presentation at your fingertips. It doesn't mean that every time it's a PowerPoint presentation, glossy brochures and overkill.

In fact, the best presentations come from the heart. You know your product and service so well, you've listened so carefully to what they have said, that you were able to match and position your company with theirs. Nailed it! It is seamless. It seems natural and the prospect is mentally nodding approval that your company and theirs are a perfect match.

Honestly, I think it's akin to courtship before marriage! You tell me about you, I'll then tell you about me and I'll explain why we should get together!

The great Stephen Covey spoke about one of the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People as possessing the ability to enter into only win-win relationships. It is exactly that in sales. What is the point in getting into any business relationship, or personal relationship for that matter, unless both parties emerge as winners.


What are the alternatives?

1.     I win and you lose.

2.     I lose and you win.

3.     We both lose.


So, unless we both win, my belief is that there should be "no deal". On a few occasions, I sensed the chemistry was not right between me and the prospect. It might have been different values, different goals...for whatever reason, the inner voice in my head said that it was not going to work. Listen to the inner voice, it is usually a good friend! I believe that females are far better than males with their intuition.

It is better to cut your losses at the start and not invest in something that you have grave doubts about from the outset.

So, in summary, get it to work on the influencers highlighted in the last number of blogs. Focus your time and effort on those where you believe you are weak; there is little point in strengthening links in a chain that are already strong enough because when the pressure comes on, it will always break at the weakest link.

What's your weakest influencing link? Now, swarm all over it until you turn that weakness into a strength. Don't forget to keep in mind the other strengths that you have, keep the knife sharpened and continue to hone these skills.

Success is really about continuous improvement, not taking skills and competencies for granted. My advice is to become brilliant on the basics of those success factors that influence prospects to become your clients and your clients to be retained as clients. 

*Professional comes from the word "profess", meaning " to promise and keep that promise".

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