Tag Archive | "presentations"

Winning Demonstrations

When it comes time to demonstrate a vehicle, you need to be very well prepared. Too many automotive salespeople invest most of their preparation time in vehicle knowledge. While that knowledge is very important, investing time thinking about how to actually demonstrate vehicles so their clients quickly envision themselves as owners is just as important. There are very specific things you can do to accelerate their acceptance of a vehicle thus leading to more closed sales.

Before getting to the demonstration, you have to use your other selling skills well. Let’s say you did just that. You used some of your excellent prospecting methods to find a couple who needs a new vehicle. You made a competent original contact and warmed them up nicely. They seem very comfortable with you. You qualified then as to their needs by asking the right questions and are confident you have a vehicle that will truly be good for them.

Now, it’s time for the show to begin…and you are the master of ceremonies. Are you properly prepared for this step in the sales process?

Giving a winning demonstration is not unlike presenting at the Oscars. It’s not easy preparing for such a major event. Even tougher is performing before all of the best and brightest in Hollywood, not to mention the millions of television viewers. You may never have to face such a challenge. However, every demonstration you make can potentially earn you the award of a new client, a hefty addition to the company’s bottom line and a nice little “fee for service” for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Always keep the potential reward in mind when you are preplanning a demonstration. That reward or goal should be inspiration enough to keep you working on honing your demonstration skills until they are as smooth as silk.

Knowing the decision-maker’s history, his or her likes and dislikes will help you direct your demonstration in a manner that will be most acceptable. In some cases, you may get the feeling that the decision-maker is challenging you to demonstrate and present an offer better than he or she can decline. They may come across like this, “Okay, Mr. /Ms. Professional Salesperson, you’ve got my attention and you have 20 minutes to show me why I should part with my hard-earned money for what you have to offer.” It’s almost like a dare with some people. So, you have to be prepared to dazzle them during your demonstration.

It’s important that you note here that the vehicle is the star of your demonstration. You are not. View yourself as a sort of matchmaker. The two parties you believe are a perfect match for one another are your product and this prospective client. It’s your job to introduce them and give them an opportunity to get to know each other.

Many salespeople falter and lose sales because they try to make themselves the stars of the demonstration. They want to show how well they know the vehicle. They spout off technical information about engine size, fuel economy, and handling that may be of little or no interest to the client. In fact, the client may not even understand what they’re saying.

Learn this now. Get yourself out of the picture. Let the vehicle shine! The people you are demonstrating to should be up close and personal with the vehicle. If they ask a question about the navigation system, tell them which buttons to push to make it work. Don’t do it for them! The same goes for any other buttons, dials or displays in the vehicle. You are the tour guide…not the chauffeur! If you’re not getting your potential buyers directly and personally involved with the vehicle, you’re not selling. You’re showing. You need to get yourself off that stage and be the one directing the performance instead.

When it comes to discussing service or warranties, be sure to have brochures and other items to hand to the decision-makers that provide the details you will deliver verbally. Hand them your calculator to run the numbers for any questions that come up. Show testimonial letters from other satisfied clients. This creates both physical and emotional involvement. And the more involvement you get during the presentation, the more comfortable they’ll be with long term involvement with your vehicle.

At the very least, have the stories about other clients who purchased this type of vehicle in mind and how happy they are with it. Perhaps the experience of others might be just what’s needed to help this new client off the fence and into the driver’s seat.

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Five Strategies for a Winning Sales Presentation

We’ve all seen it–people listening to a sales presentation, eyes glazed over and their minds anywhere but on what the speaker is saying. As an entrepreneur, whether you’re selling yourself or your products and services, it’s critical to avoid the missteps that put prospects to sleep and kill the deal. Here are five must-follow rules to win over prospects and seal the deal.

1. Listen before pitching. One of the mistakes business owners make is talking too much about the wonders of their company, instead of asking questions and listening to a potential customer’s needs. Your prospect probably did some research about you beforehand anyway, so don’t waste precious minutes going on about your qualifications. “Nothing is more annoying than when someone is pitching you, and it’s all about them, their products,” says Jared Reitzin, founder of mobileStorm, a Los Angeles-based provider of Web-based email and mobile and social communication platforms.

Kyla O’Connell, vice president of business development and sales trainer for Washington, D.C.-based Asher Sales Strategies, suggests opening your presentation with a question like, “I’m prepared to discuss our solution for you, but has anything changed since we last spoke?” or “Is there anything else I need to know before diving into a solution?” Before long, Reitzen says, “The customer will give you the key to how you can win the deal. You just need to ask enough questions and then shut up.”

2. Put in more prep time. No matter how good you are at thinking on your feet, don’t wing the presentation. You’ll risk jumping all over the place without a logical flow, says Terri Sjodin, founder of Sjodin Communications, a sales training and consulting firm in Newport Beach, Calif. Take the time to prepare and to practice from an outline, making sure your presentation covers all your points clearly and concisely, suggests Sjodin, who is also the author of Small Message, Big Impact (Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2011).

Reitzin says he always reviews a prospect’s website to learn about what it sells, how it makes money and how he might be able to fix its problems. He also checks for any mutual connections on LinkedIn. “I will give them a call or shoot them an email asking more about the prospect’s personality and what I could say that would make the meeting successful,” he says. “Sometimes people will give you a heads up with how you should approach the prospect, and it can be invaluable.”

3. Liven it up. Many professionals don’t realize just how boring their presentations are–too many facts, a flat monotone, tired stories. “Sometimes professionals have been giving the same presentation for so long they just slip into autopilot,” Sjodin says. “In today’s competitive market, your presentations must be entertaining in order to obtain and maintain the attention of prospects.”

Be creative and put some energy behind your presentation. Sjodin suggests practicing with a tape recorder to determine if your presentation falters and make improvements. “The tone you use and your vocal variation allow you to project your own personality and to create a positive response whether you are speaking to one person or a large group of people,” she says.

4. Don’t use visual aids as a crutch. If brochures, handouts or slides could sell a product or service on their own, companies would not need salespeople. “Depending too much on visual aids can give us a false sense of security,” Siodin says. “We tend to think it isn’t necessary to prepare thoroughly because our props will lead us right through the presentation. We let the visual aid become the star and virtually run the show.”

Strategically place visual aids in your presentation to highlight major points, but remember that your style and personality will have much more impact. Most important, ask yourself whether a visual aid is for you or for them? “If it’s for you to get you through your presentation, scrap it,” Sjodin says. “If it’s for them so they can visually understand your presentation, keep it.”

5. Be ready to take the next step. Not every presentation is going to end with a sale, so it’s up to you to establish the next step in the process. Zak Dabbas, cofounder and managing partner of Punchkick Interactive Inc., a Chicago-based mobile marketing firm, says one of his biggest mistakes early in his career was concluding meetings with a “we hope to talk again soon” mentality.

“The executives we speak with are incredibly busy,” he says, “and we realized that we need to determine next steps right then and there–before life gets in the way.” Be ready to schedule a subsequent meeting or follow-up phone call, which will show you’re serious about working together. “You may not have the sale yet,” O’Connell says, “but you at least have something set up so things can continue to move forward.”

This article was written by Lisa Girard and published in Entrepreneur magazine.

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New Tools and Tactics for a Killer Presentation

Q: What are the best tools and methods for killer presentations?

A: Leaving everything up to PowerPoint is not really an option anymore (if it ever was). No number of creative infographics, nifty tools or new gadgets can save your presentation if you don’t have a good understanding of your audience and a strong desire to engage with them.

“I always come back to the notion that the best presentations are based on the value of the content, the skill of the delivery and the charisma of the speaker,” says Whitey Bluestein, a strategic advisor to mobile companies and other technology startups. “As a presenter, how you connect to your listeners and the adjustments you make based on their reception is what makes the presentation work.”

Bluestein often presents to clients in a variety of situations and to various group sizes–and the early stage companies he works with do the same. Although he does use PowerPoint, it’s mostly to organize his thoughts. “PowerPoint has its place, but it is cursed as much as it is praised,” he says. “It’s tight-scripted and very one-way. When I present, I feel it has to be interactive. I would create a PowerPoint, but make it available as a leave-behind.”

Bluestein suggests that one of the best general technology tools a speaker can adopt is actually a medium: video.

“A lot of companies can just make a YouTube video demonstrating their product, and it’s a great thing to show people,” he says. “I have seen companies try to do live demos at big shows, and sometimes it doesn’t work because you don’t have control of everything. A video is cheap and easy to do in an environment where you have control.”

The most valuable specific technology tool for presentations may be the iPad, Bluestein says. “It’s easier to travel with, and easier to share, and there are apps you can use during your presentation.”

Here are some iPad apps Bluestein suggests trying out for your next gig:

  • Idea Flight: This app allows a pre-senter to become a “pilot,” sharing a presentation with a group of users and having them follow along on their own iPads. Bluestein likes the idea behind it but notes that it’s limited to situations where everyone has an iPad.
  • Evernote: Bluestein uses Evernote, one of several personal file organization apps for the iPad, to easily store a document and quickly retrieve it later to share during a presentation.
  • join.me: This app from LogMeIn enables screen sharing among iPads, similar in some ways to WebEx.
  • Keynote: The Mac world’s version of PowerPoint has all the enabling features for creating presentations that also can be converted to or from PowerPoint.

Aside from iPads, some of the more traditional tools of the presenter continue to change. Portable projectors are helpful, Bluestein says, and have come down in price and form factor in recent years. Laser pointers now come stocked with more capabilities, like Bluetooth connectivity and USB storage.

The apps and gadgets, however, don’t come with a method for lengthening a rapidly shortening audience attention span. “You have to wonder what the standard for presentations is going to be in five years,” Bluestein says. “Increasingly, people want them to be brief. They want to touch and feel what you’re telling them about, and they want to do it now.”

This article was written by Dan O’Shea and published in Entrepreneur magazine.

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