Does Your Sales Presentation Need Work?

When you’re selling your services and find that you’re getting appointments but not making sales, your sales presentation itself may be the culprit. To improve how you present yourself and what you do, be prepared with a presentation script. Rather than something you memorize and repeat, your script should be a series of talking points you can refer to. Here is a general outline:

1. Establish rapport. Whether you are presenting in person or over the phone, introduce yourself and make sure you know who you are talking to and who else is present. Chat about whatever sequence of events got you together, or something else you all have in common.

2. Determine their needs. Begin by repeating what you already know, and then start asking questions. Your script should include all the questions you must have an answer to in order to write a proposal, or close the sale on the spot. Open-ended questions will elicit more information than those that can be answered with a yes or no.

Many questions will be specific to your line of business, but here are some typical ones:
– What is your situation?
– How important or urgent is it that you solve this problem?
– What have you already tried?
– When do you need this done, or when were you thinking about getting started?
– What resources do you already have lined up?
– What kind of budget do you have, or what were you expecting to pay?

3. Explain how you can meet their needs. Using the information you have just gathered, respond to each problem or goal they mentioned by describing how you can help. Use specific examples to illustrate your explanation, e.g. “My last client had exactly the same challenge, and what I did for her was…”

4. Answer their questions. Find out how you are doing by asking, “What else do you need to know?” Keep asking for and answering questions until they seem satisfied. Address any concerns that come up, one by one. Reassure them that you are the right solution to their problem by responding specifically with how you can help.

5. Ask for the business. Don’t leave this step out! Even if you know they will want to see a proposal first, are talking to other people, or aren’t ready to make a decision, ask anyway. It’s the only way you will find out how close you are to making a sale. Whatever they say in response to this question will tell you exactly what you need to resolve before your prospects will hire you.

6. Decide on a next step. Whether or not you have closed the sale, be absolutely certain that both you and the prospect know what happens next. Are they ready to get started? When? Will there be a contract and/or purchase order? Who has to sign off on it? Do they need a written proposal? Do they want to check references? Can you call back in a week?

If you don’t already know, be sure to find out if they are talking to other people before they decide. And be sure to ask if there is anything you can do to help move things forward.

It’s also possible that your presentation skills may need improvement. For one-on-one presentations, work on your questioning and listening abilities. When you present to groups of people, your speaking skills become more important. Take a workshop, work with a coach, or join a group to get more practice in presenting.

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