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Common Questions and Answers
There’s a lot that goes into a great presentation, as you may have noticed in the first article on this subject. In fact, there’s so much that it doesn’t all fit into one article! Here are some more tips on crafting and giving presentations that will help you sell well.
Illustrate Your Point
Bring along something visual to enhance the verbal side of your presentation. The infamous PowerPoint slideshow is one popular option, because you can design your slides to match up perfectly with your patter. But if you can’t or won’t use PowerPoint, then brochures, customer testimonials, white papers, case studies, and anything else the prospect can read will do the trick. In fact, there’s a distinct advantage to brochures and other physical media — you can leave a copy with the prospect and thus keep yourself in his mind after the presentation ends.
Every time you make an important point or finish a section, turn to your audience and ask if they have any questions or ask what they think about what you just said. Drawing in the prospect makes your presentation more interactive, which means he’ll be more prone to really listen to you.
Speak to Individuals
If you have more than one person observing your presentation, try to interact with all of them over the course of your pitch. Even if one person seems to be the major decision maker, she wouldn’t have brought in the others unless she felt they had something to contribute — so do your best to bring every member of your audience into a buying mood.
Listen for Clues
When your prospect volunteers a piece of information, it’s important to him — so it may be the critical “hot button” that makes the difference between success and failure. For example, if he says that the last product he bought of this type broke down within a month, stress your own product’s reliability and great in-house maintenance program.
Watch Body Language
What your listeners do is at least as important as what they say. If your audience is leaning forward in their seats and nodding, they like what you have to say. If they’re leaning back with arms crossed, they’re skeptical. Snoring is always a bad sign.
Use a Trial Close at the End
This means taking your audience’s temperature on what you’ve just presented. You can say something like, “Does this sound right?” or “So is that what you’re looking for?” The prospect’s reaction to your question will tell you a lot about whether or not they’re ready to buy. If she’s hesitant, you may need to work a little bit more on convincing her before you move on to the real close.
Leave Time to Chat
After your formal presentation is over, try to get some less formal talking time with the decision makers to help build more rapport. This might be a Q&A session, or just a chat. Not only does this help you bond with the prospect, it also gives you a better idea of where they are with regards to buying from you. One way to both maneuver for more time and to show your interest is to ask for a tour of their building.
Ask for Feedback
Also after your presentation, take a few minutes to probe for a little feedback from the customer. If he can’t talk then and there, call him later or send him an email with a few basic questions. You can use whatever information he gives you to both understand his feelings about the product and also to hone your presentation for future prospects.
About the author
My first sales position was a summer job selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. I continued through a variety of sales jobs ranging from retail sales for a storage company to selling bank products for a Fortune 500 financial institution.
As a small business owner, I now focuses on selling for my own company, Tailored Content, a website content provider. I write on a wide range of topics but my primary focus is sales and how to sell effectively.