How to Involve Your Prospect In Your Presentation

Feb. 22, 2005
Effective sales presentations are the best tool for selling your products and services. Its an opportunity to convince prospects to choose you. But some

Effective sales presentations are the best tool for selling your products and services. It’s an opportunity to convince prospects to choose you.

But some misguided sales personnel misuse this time. They try to overwhelm the prospect with technical knowledge, or they come across so smooth and slick that they seem like swindlers. Either way takes them away from the results they seek.

So get your focus right. An effective sales presentation is the opportunity to build a relationship with a prospect that will not only yield an immediate sale, but will also yield future sales and referrals. Because of that, the prospect is very much an involved party — and should be involved in your presentation.

How To Get the Prospect Involved

Craft your presentation as an interactive experience instead of a stage show with you as solo performer. Invite your prospect to participate in the entire process by asking questions, demonstrating the product and allowing him to hold and/or touch the product if possible. Let them experience the product with all their senses. This begins transference of ownership.

Throughout the presentation, get reaction from prospects to gauge their interest and ready-to-buy level. Take their temperature and make sure you’re on track at about the halfway point. This is a trial close.

HVAC consultant Drew Cameron gives this example: After demonstrating a capability or explaining a recommended solution, you could ask, "How would this be an improvement?" or "How would this help?"

The Q&A is Your Gold Mine

You want to answer questions, so be prepared. Prospects’ questions reveal much about where they are in the sales process. Your answers can help get them where you want them to be.

Think through and even write down the questions that might come up (especially the tricky ones). Your answers detangle you and your prospects when you write them down. This is a valuable exercise.

Don’t take any questions personally. Remember the prospect is after your information, not you. The entire Q & A process is an opportunity to clarify concerns, restate points, and perhaps bring up more information.

That’s why after answering a difficult question, it’s important to bridge to the positive information that you want to convey.

Example: A prospect says, “The 12 SEER is much cheaper than the 16 SEER and I don’t think I’ll save that much on energy to make up the difference. Why are you showing me the 16 SEER model?”

Okay, he thinks he’s caught you in a sales practice to drive his price up. So you look right at him and say:

“You’re right, the 12 SEER is cheaper by $620, and you can certainly choose either one you want. Yet I like to look at the return on an investment for customers. The 16 SEER is 33% more efficient than the 12 SEER, right? (Wait for agreement).

“Since about half our summer bills are due to the air conditioner, that’s 15% saved during those 4 blistering hot months. Remember, last summer your energy bills averaged $205. (You’ll already have the facts from your free Home Energy Survey that you’ve already conducted. If you don’t have one, send for the booklet below).

“This means you save $123 over the summer months for $620 invested, which is, if my calculator is right (always give the benefit of a doubt), a 19.8% return on investment. I wish I knew a bank or stock that could offer that! You just seemed like you’d appreciate that type payback.” (Wait for acknowledgement. End of answer).

Your deft answer just catapulted you over the top of the credibility chart, into the informed advisor role, and virtually shut the door on the 12 SEER.

Be aware: if you don’t adequately cover and solve prospects’ problems in the presentation, they’ll notice and ask questions pertaining to whatever issue or point you missed.

And keep your questions coming too. Your questions should display a sincere interest in the prospects and their situations, and always make sure t allow them ample time to completely answer each question. Then repeat their statements to make sure you understand.

Remember, a sales presentation is no time to lecture. It’s a time to open a dialogue to mutual understanding. You understand your prospects’ needs and/or problems; they understand how you intend to solve them. To solve them, involve them.

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. Hudson, Ink has just launched the new HVAC Sales Power Pack, a product designed to improve presentation skills and can help increase sales closes. CB readers can get a free 16-page booklet, “How to Double Your HVAC Sales in 90 Days,” by calling 1-800-489-9099 or faxing the request on letterhead to 334-262-1115. You can also email to [email protected]. Also see for more free marketing and sales reports.