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 user 2004-02-12 at 10:27:00 am Views: 38
  • #5096

    Do You Have Perfect Pitch? 

    7 Tips for Persuasive Presentations

    Another day-another proposal-another supplier- another presenter. And if the parade has been going on for days-you can understand buyer weariness in listening to presenter after presenter, following the same plan: “Good morning. My name is John or Joanna. My team is Tom, Dick, Harriett, Lucinda, and Lupe, and we’re here to talk to you about X.” Although you probably never had a client or prospect say, “I’m bored,” you probably sensed their frustration. So what can you do to make your presentation stand out from the crowd clamoring for the same business? The following seven suggestions deal with the finer points of sales presentations.


  • 1. Influence, Don’t Just Inform One of the biggest roadblocks to selling success is informing instead of persuading the client or prospect. Information overwhelms us. To persuade the buyer and establish credibility, incorporate the following “Five Prongs of Persuasion” into your presentations: Word choice. Positive, specific, precise words. Rhetoric. Powerful phrasing and graceful grammar that packs a powerful punch on a buyer’s memory. Emotion. Feelings of either pleasure, fear, safety, discomfort, pride, acceptance, rejection, or prestige. Logic. Reasoning and conclusions drawn from facts, information, opinions, or ideas. Trustworthiness. Trust in an individual’s or organization’s principles, values, and integrity.
  • 2. Act Against Your Own Self-Interest Nothing underscores your desire to do what’s right for buyers more than making them aware of decisions made in their best interest. You may routinely do that, but buyers need to know because it builds trust. For example, let’s say the buyer is selecting tile for break rooms and restroom facilities wants “the best.” The color choices are black and beige, with a surcharge of 10 percent for the black. Assuming the most expensive is “the best,” the buyer selects black. Yet, you know that customers have complained that black shows scratches more readily and requires more care than the lighter color. You pass along this information and suggest that the beige might make a better choice in the buyer’s high-traffic areas. Such candid advice leads to increased trust-but only if your buyer understands that you’re making the decision to pass on this information at your own expense-subtly, of course.
  • 3. Use the “Experience” Factor Buyers can argue facts, data, surveys, and research. They can disagree that your products or services outshine the competition. They can doubt that your offering will resolve their problem. But no one can dispute your experience. For example, your buyer asks: “I think customizing the assessment is a waste of time. Why are you thinking we need a customized version added to our intranet before we roll this out to our own customers?” You respond: “That has to be your final decision, but it will delay the project about two months. In my experience handling these projects for more than 70 clients during the last two years, I can recall only two clients who skipped that phase. Both regretted the decision because their own employees proved to be a great cross-section of the population to test user acceptance. I offer that experience for your consideration.” Your experience is your experience. It’s accepted or rejected, but it’s your experience and irrefutable as such.
  • 4. Tell Failure Stories We love to tell success stories, but there’s power in telling about a client’s “failure” with your product or service-if the reason was the result of the client’s decision-and not the failure of your product or service. It underscores what others did wrong-like waiting too long to buy-and helps the prospect avoid making the same mistake. Revealing failures adds credibility to your success stories. One caution: Don’t use names with failure stories. If they buy, prospects may fear you’ll tell others about their mistakes.
  • 5. Never Shy Away from the Underdog Position Some people love to root for the underdog. Consider acknowledging that you’re the lesser known brand and supplier and instead, focus on the effort you will expend because of that one-down situation. Avis has done well promoting itself as an “underdog.”
  • 6. Plant Questions You’d Like Competitors to Address As you present your solutions, subtly bring up issues that should raise red flags in your buyers’ minds about your competitors’ capabilities. Don’t challenge or attack competitors, but in your key areas of strength, suggest issues that, if not handled well, might create pitfalls and raise fear in the minds of your buyers. By raising these issues, you suggest to your buyers that they should question your competitors about these same concerns.
  • 7. Never Just “Walk Through” Your Proposal: Give a Guided Tour Your buyers will beat you to the end every time. Buyers follow their own route, which is usually not the one you’d prefer. While you’re on page two, your buyers will be on page eight, checking out the pricing section. You have absolutely no control of what your buyers hear or pay attention to while you talk. In fact, your proposal will compete with you for attention. Instead, carefully select which parts of your proposal to present orally. Then if you want to refer your buyers to a specific page, do so- after you make your key point about that page.