[Catch up on Part One of Mario Rossetti's tips and then read on for his expert tips on how to craft a presentation that won't talk you out of sale.]
Stop telling them what you think should be important
Telling prospects what you believe should be important to them is a fast way to kill a sale. After all, you’re the expert, right? Who should know better than you? This common (and arrogant) thought process has destroyed many sales.
For instance, you may believe that they should be interested in the differences between shotcrete and gunite or 20 mil versus 24 mil vinyl liners or an acrylic versus a roto-molded spa. These differences may be of great interest to you, but what if they are of little or no interest to your prospects?
When you tell them about anything in which they have no interest, they will hear, but not listen. If they don’t care, neither should you.
Now please understand that I am not saying that you should not mention those areas in which your company excels or provides differentiation. I am saying that you should not continue to dwell on these issues or incessantly provide additional information for topics in which they have no interest. If you do, you most likely won’t be receiving a positive decision for them.
How will you know what is most important to them? Ask!
Stop using “industry jargon”
Your prospects are not authorities on pools, spas or services; that is supposed to be your knowledge base. Since they are not experts, be very cautious of using “industry words” of which they may have little or no knowledge. It’s a sure way of talking yourself out of a sale.
For instance, even terms that are commonly understood by industry insiders, such as anti vortex, main drain, skimmer, weir, vacuum breaker and variable speed may be sales killers unless you clearly explain what they are and how they provide value to your prospects. If they do not understand the terms you use, they may be too embarrassed to ask what you’re talking about. If they allow you to ramble on without a clear understanding of the terms you are providing, they will continue to become more and more confused.
Can you guess what they’ll likely tell you next? That’s right, “We’ll think it over.”
Stop providing the wrong presentation
It is not just long-winded presentations that may talk you out of a sale. Your presentation may be so short and unpracticed that it lacks substance and therefore creates little interest. It may be over before they are prepared for it to be over. This is the hallmark of those salespeople who continue to conduct presentations the way they did when we were in a seller’s market. The idiom "sell them now and educate them later" almost never applies in a buyer’s market (and by the way, if you hadn’t noticed, we are currently in a strong buyer’s market).
Sales presentations should be planned and practiced in advance, yet flexible enough to be redirected to address the specific interests of any individual prospect. It should be focused on what’s important to them and not what you think should be important to them.
So, how do you know what is the right presentation and what’s important to them? Ask!
Stop providing boring presentations
Your words may sound brilliant to you; however, if they bore your prospects you will certainly not be helping them to make informed decisions, and that means no sale. Boring presentations will cloud the thought processes of your prospects. Even if you plan and practice your presentation beforehand, you’ll lose them if you don’t keep them interested and entertained. Did you get that word, entertained? It’s important, very important. Think of your presentation as entertainment, because that is a necessary component to a professionally planned and delivered presentation.
Bore them and they will shut down. When they shut down, you’ll get the old, “We’ll think it over.” Many salespeople who hear that phrase will inaccurately blame the prospects, competition, price, or whatever excuse seems convenient for their lack of sales success. Don’t allow yourself to become boring!
Remember the ABC’s of sales? ABC is the acronym for “Always Be Closing.” This is just what many salespeople feel the need to do: keep closing. In fact, many have read the sales books that provide us with 1,001 closes just to make sure that we get it right. As a result, salespeople may attempt closing too often or closing long before the prospects are ready to make an educated decision. When these closing onslaughts take place, prospects may become defensive and even antagonistic.
Prior to asking a closing question, be sure to provide enough quality information for them to make an informed decision. If you ask a closing question before sufficient information is offered, there is an enormous amount of pressure placed upon the prospect. They will frequently become uncomfortable and unsettled. They will most often refuse to make a decision. We then hear the infamous “We’ll think it over” or “We have other salespeople to talk to first.”
Naturally, we then blame them for their indecision or for being cheap or for whatever excuse we choose to use, and never really understand that the problem is ours.
Stop offering features without benefits
Confusing features with benefits is a very common way in which salespeople talk themselves out of a sale. A feature is what a product is. A benefit is what it does for them. There’s a big difference. If you check out many of the product brochures you currently use, you may find them to be features saturated and benefit dry. Features will be meaningless to your prospects until they clearly understand what that feature will accomplish for them. Don’t talk yourself out of a sale by presenting features without providing corresponding and meaningful benefits.
Stop offering the wrong benefits
Benefits must be specific to the individual prospect. For example, you may determine that a certain feature offers as many as ten benefits; that’s a lot. They may seem impressive to you. The only problem is that you are not the one who needs to be impressed. Since it’s all about your prospects, be sure to offer them the right benefits.
If you mention all ten benefits and they are interested in only two, you may actually confuse or bore them. This is especially true if the two in which they have an interest are the last two you reference. They may be bored or asleep by the time you reach those explanations. You may think that you are doing well, but you are really talking yourself out of a sale.
How do you know what the right benefits are? Ask!
Stop and think
Your prospects are just like you. They are good people who want the best for their families. They want to be comfortable with their decisions and feel that they are receiving value for any investment they make.
Value does not only mean dollars spent; it also means peace of mind. It means that they are content in their belief that they are purchasing from someone who cares about them and who has their best interests at heart. They want the value that only comes through a purchase made with a salesperson who presents and provides benefits that are most important to them. Given the option, they will choose the salesperson and company that they believe to be the most knowledgeable, informed and honorable in their marketplace.
They will choose to work with experts. They are no longer willing to endure pushy people who continually bombard them with mindless closes or mundane information in which they have no interest. They are no longer willing to put up with people who talk themselves out of a sale. They want it to be all about them. Offer them the option; make it all about them.
Above all, stop talking yourself out of a sale.