Invariably in preparing for a sales presentation the question comes up – “Just how am I going to convey to these clients that what I have to offer will suit their needs best?” These tips will help you create a winning pitch.
Know your prospect
It is vital that you have a solid understanding of your potential client’s business. You can use the Internet to do some background research on their company. Start with having a look at the company’s own website, which should give you a good overview of the business, then follow up any sites that look like they might provide further insight – maybe they mention other firms they do business with and that you will be competing against. Then talk to the company, preferably to the person who will be primarily instrumental in deciding whether or not to go with your product. Tell them that you are calling for some information in preparation for the meeting – you want to make the meeting as meaningful as possible so as not to waste their time at all. You can ask them what they expect from the meeting and who will be attending.
Never assume that all prospects are the same and will be sold on your product in the exact same way. Some will be more interested in the technical aspects, others in the selling points or cost involved. Get to know as much about the prospect’s likely area of interest and develop some marketing messages that tailor the presentation to those interests.
Find out how much time you will have for your presentation and in what sort of venue (e.g. office or a meeting room) it will take place. That’s so you can get an idea of what equipment is likely to be available to run the presentation and what you will need to supply. If you’re preparing a PowerPoint presentation for example, you will need a data projector. Does the room have one or do you need to bring one yourself?
Get the audience involved
Getting your audience involved will make your presentation a lot more interesting to participants. You can ask each participant for suggestions on what they would like you to cover and refer back to these individuals when addressing the issues related to their question. If it’s feasible hand around samples of the product or present a hands-on demonstration to make it real.
Focus your presentation on the prospect’s needs
Don’t waste their time or stretch their patience by taking up time talking about you. The presentation isn’t about you, it’s about the prospect and their needs, so the focus has to be on the benefits your product or service has for them. Talking too much about yourself could talk you out of a sale.
Your presentation must end with a call to action of some sort. If appropriate ask for the sale then and there. Where the prospect is going to need a little time before they can come to a decision ask for an indication of how long that might be. In this circumstance a good closing might be to ask them for a follow-up meeting in a week to talk about the next step or to answer any questions that may have come up meanwhile.
Researching your prospect, getting organised and developing a close – all essential parts of delivering a winning presentation. But in the time between these and the actual presentation don’t forget to practise. A couple of dry runs in front of someone on your team will identify any weaknesses in the storyline, provide you with ideas about how to get your points across and give you time to memorise the information so that the presentation goes off smoothly and professionally.