• Involve Your Prospect in Your Presentation

    Nov. 1, 2006
    An effective sales presentation is your best tool for selling your products and services. Its an opportunity to convince your prospect to choose you.

    An effective sales presentation is your best tool for selling your products and services. It’s an opportunity to convince your prospect 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 a long way from the results they’re seeking.

    To get the results you want, get your focus right. An effective sales presentation is your opportunity to build a relationship with your 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 the solo performer. Invite your prospect to participate in the entire process by asking questions, demonstrating the product and allowing him or her to hold and/or touch the product if possible. Let them experience the product with all their senses. This begins transference of ownership.

    Throughout your presentation, you need to get reaction from your prospects in order to gauge their interest and ready-to-buy level. Take their temperature, so to speak, 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. Your prospects’ questions reveal a lot about where they are in the sales process. Your answers can help get them where you want them to be.

    You’ll need to 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, your prospect is after your information, not you. The entire process of Q&A is an opportunity to clarify concerns, restate points, and perhaps bring up information saved just for the Q&A.
    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 version?”

    Okay, he or she thinks they’ve caught you in a sales practice to drive his price up, and now he or she’s going to expose you for the scumbag you really are. So you look right at him or her and answer:

    “You’re right, the 12 SEER is cheaper by $620, and you can certainly choose either one you want. However, 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 of our summer bills are due to the air conditioner, that’s 15% saved during those four blistering hot months, where your energy bills averaged $205. (You’ll already have the facts from your free Home Energy Survey that you’ve already conducted.)

    “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.”

    Okay, now Mr. Helpful Answer Guy, your deft answer has just catapulted you over the top of the credibility chart, into the informed advisor role, and virtually shut the door on the 12 SEER. If your prospect still chooses the 12 SEER, it will be for reasons other than what you just told him, and he’ll do it with full knowledge.

    Be aware that if you don’t adequately cover and solve your prospects’ problems in the presentation, they will 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 their situation, and always make sure you 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/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. To receive the free 16-page booklet, “How to Double Your HVAC Sales in 90 Days,” call 800/489-9099, or fax your request on letterhead to 334/262-1115. To receive a free subscription to the bi-weekly newsletter “Sales & Marketing Insider,” send your request to [email protected], or check out www.hudsonink.com for more free marketing and sales reports.