The adults in his life might have been saying important things, but all Charlie Brown ever heard was: wah wah-wah wah wah-wah.
Are your sales presentations making the impact you need them to make, or are you putting a lot of time and effort into developing wah-wah proposals and pitches that aren’t reaching sales leads on their levels?
Below are three things you can do to make sure your next sales presentation is a wow rather than a wah-wah.
1. Know your audience.
You should never be presenting to company representatives that aren’t decision-makers with purchasing power. Before you schedule a sales appointment, make sure you’re talking to the right people.
Once you know you’ve got the right people on the hook, do your research and find out what matters most to them. Read the articles they’ve published, note the accolades they’ve received, and do your best to learn about their companies’ recent and current struggles. Then, use the information you uncover to slant your presentation in a way that will make your audience instantly interested in what you have to say. If you stick to your agenda without relating your offerings to the things that matter most to your attendees, you will find out just how quickly executives can become more interested in their iPhones and BlackBerrys than in listening to your speech.
2. Get to the point.
Whenever you’re talking to people at the top, you should assume that they are extremely busy, very smart, and face enormous pressures. This will help you leave out the fluff and get to the meat of your pitch or proposal.
Sales presenters tend to spend too much time introducing their companies and talking about their successes. Your attendees can go to your company website if they’re interested in reviewing case studies and testimonials. Frankly, they probably wouldn’t be at the meeting if they hadn’t already taken a look at those things.
Your goal as a sales presenter shouldn’t be to cram as much information as possible into one pitch; instead, it should be to address the client’s needs or problems and explain how your company is able to fulfill or solve them. Tell executives the potential ROI in their investment in your company within the first 60 seconds. Then, create a dialog by asking questions about their problems and offering answers and solutions. Always keep in mind that busy executives are going to be much more interested in a discussion than in your slides.
3. Follow up appropriately.
A good thing to do after your sales presentation is over is to take a few moments to jot down notes that will function as reminders when you develop your follow-up materials. In addition to noting the topics that were of particular interest to attendees, note any special requests. Did an executive ask for statistics related to the relevance of a particular solution? Did you make any promises to follow up on certain questions? Jot down the requests and promises made during the meeting and then address them when you follow up via e-mail or with a phone call.
You should always send follow-up materials via e-mail after your presentation. What were the biggest concerns expressed at the meeting? Which questions weren’t fully answered? Don’t send another pitch; simply thank attendees for their time and address any questions or concerns that may not have been fully addressed at your meeting or event. A thoughtful thank you e-mail can be a very effective sales tool.
No one wants be remembered as the guy or girl who went wah wah-wah; you want to be remembered as the person who can solve problems and answer questions. By knowing your audience, getting to the point, and following up appropriately, you can earn the respect of your leads and prospects. You can also make some really big bucks.