The team finished their sales presentation to a huge prospect in Dallas. Everyone left the meeting room and went to a nearby conference room to debrief. Following the high-fives and the back-patting, there was total agreement, “We nailed it!” It didn’t seem like much debrief was needed.
Have you ever had that experience? Such a rush of adrenaline and joy over the successful presentation. It’s the feeling that keeps many sales executives in the profession. Having the spotlight on you and doing well is the best! It reminds me of the saying in hockey, “he shoots, he scores!”
Well, unfortunately the euphoria was short-lived. Two days later we found out that we lost the business to a boutique firm in Chicago.
We were stunned. How could a small, out-of-town company with less expertise beat US?
Sure, their price was lower, but what else?
They had demonstrated their commitment to and expertise in Customer Relationship Management Systems. That was the sole focus of the company.
AND, we lost because they better connected with the customer. We were too focused on ourselves leaving the prospect to feel that we were just tooting our own horn. Unfortunately, as I look back, I have to agree with their assessment.
Chris Anderson is the owner of TED (www.TED.com) and head curator of TED Talks that have over 1 Billion views. TED Talks have been a phenomenon in the speaking world for over twenty years. Whether you plan to do more public speaking, or just want to improve your presentation skills, I highly recommend Chris’s book,
“TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking.”
Chris highlights five core tools that speakers must use to deliver a high-impact message.
While not every presentation will have the same mix or balance of these five, the use of even one or two of them will make a huge difference with your prospects and customers.
About connection, Chris says, “Knowledge can’t be pushed into the brain. It has to be pulled in. Before you build an idea in someone’s mind, you need their permission.” You must start from where the audience is before you can build trust and open them to your ideas. If you can’t connect, nothing else matters. You can have the best product in the world, but if they don’t relate to you, they’ll do business with someone else.
Narration refers to the use of stories. It’s about sharing the successes that other customers have experienced in working with you. People remember stories – we relate to the experience of others. Use stories to help you have true impact.
Explanation leads to understanding. You need to see the light come on in your prospects when you explain how your products achieve the benefits they desire. And when they get it, they commit! Prepare by asking yourself, “What do they already know and how can we build on it?” Create the presentation from their point of view.
“Persuasion means convincing an audience that the way they currently see the world isn’t quite right. And that means taking down the parts that aren’t working, as well as rebuilding something better.” The seller must – with passion and belief – persuade the customer that their concepts can make the difference they need.
Finally, revelation is painting a vivid picture of the alternative future you see for the customer when they choose your solution. When they see the benefits as you see them, you have a strong probability of winning the sale.
Remember, customers will listen to your ideas, concepts and vision of the future when you connect with them through trust. Trust says, “I am putting your needs first and I will sincerely work to meet them in every way possible.”