Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tips for an Un-Terrifying Sales Presentation

In my attempt to be an uber-cool Mom, I rode the Tower of Terror ride at Disneyland with my daughter a few weeks ago. You may have heard of it? It's a haunted elevator ride that takes you to the top floor and free falls at random intervals down a dark elevator shaft several times. I don't like scary rides - AT ALL. The anticipation of the ride led us to talk to others in line who had already ridden the Tower of Terror. We heard stories like, "it's not bad - just make sure you haven't eaten recently," and "it's not scary, it's fun."

Needless to say, once the ride got going I lost all sense of cool and proceeded to scream uncontrollably until the ride was over. Nevermind about my daughter - I was scared!

This scenario has played out in other areas of my sales career. I have gone to sales presentations where I am prepared but nervous. Once I start talking nerves get in the way I forget every thing I want to say and how I want to say it.

To jazz up your sales keep the following in mind when presenting a proposal to a potential client:
  • Treat it like a dialog. One of my bosses told me, "Don't show up and throw up." When presenting a proposal involve the client in the presentation. Dumping a ton of information on someone will only confuse them. Plus, the conversation will ease your nerves.

  • Be overprepared. Anticipate ANY question you could be asked PLUS how your client might respond to your answer.

  • Dress nice - it will make you feel better.

  • Don't overapologize if you left something out of your proposal. Simply say, "That is a good point and something I should have included. I will get this to you later today." And then use this as an opportunity to follow up.

  • REALLY listen. I learned this from my boss, Grady Walters, at Otis Elevator. He would key in on what a customer said and bring it up later in the presentation - even if it meant getting off track for a moment. This made the customer feel like they were being heard.

  • When in doubt, keep your mouth shut. You can't take back something you've said. Once you've said it - it's out there. When you are nervous it's easy to say things you normally wouldn't.

  • Know how you want the presentation to end. Do you want to get a signed contract? Do you want to set up another meeting? Do you want to know the client's time frame and a good time to follow up?

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