Proper Preparation (and Diligence): Essential Steps to Closing Deals

In continuing with our focus on sales, we will build upon yesterday’s newsletter about sales prospecting and today, discuss sales presentations. Remember, the points we’re making are from a recent B2B sales training workshop, but the fundamentals remain the same and are applicable for today’s entrepreneur.

Average vs Professional Presentations

Research indicates that most people involved in sales put 80-90% of their time into presenting and demonstrating and leave only 10-20% of their time for other things. Professional salespeople, however, spend only 40% of their time presenting or demonstrating; not more than 10% prospecting; and about 50% of their time qualifying and planning.

Let’s look at these figures one more time. The professionals spend half as much time demonstrating or presenting as the average salesperson does, yet we find that he or she still manages to turn in at least twice the volume. And this is a conservative figure. Actually, the professional brings in between four and ten times as much business as the average salesperson will. It’s not uncommon for a single salesperson to outsell the entire bottom half of the sales force, and keep on doing it month after month, year after year.

So, what is it that the true professional does to stand above the rest? By far the greatest difference lies in his or her attention to and ability at planning sales, at selecting and qualifying the right people to sell to, at overcoming objections and closing, and at deserving and obtaining referrals.

As important as presenting and demonstrating is, if it’s done with the wrong audience because qualifying wasn’t done properly, it’s all for nothing. If working with the right people, but their objections have become seemingly insurmountable because ineffective or even no preparation had been done, then it’s all for nothing. And if the person being presented to has no decision-making authority, all efforts are for naught.

If there is an inability to close, a true knack AND skill to close deals, the structure and parameters of will be in place but ripe for the person being presented to look elsewhere for something similar. The bottom line is the presenter must be a strong presenter or demonstrator to sell effectively. They must have the ability and commitment to qualify strongly, handle objections strongly and close strongly.

There are three things that must be covered in a presentation:

1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them. This is the introduction.

2. Tell them what you’re there to tell them. This is the opportunity or product being presented.

3. Tell them what you just told them. This is the summary.

This is the outline of all successful speeches, presentations and demonstrations. In other words, the foundation is built upon repetition. The same things aren’t repeated three times, of course, As outlined above, new ideas are introduced, points are covered in depth and related to the end-user’s interests and needs and finally, conclusions are drawn from the presented points along with a call-to-action and next steps.

Repetition is the mother of learning, yet average salespeople don’t like repetition. For one thing, they have used their material so many times that it’s stale to them. All too often, average salespeople have gone worse than stale on their presentations and feel it would be better off buried. The professional, on the other hand, never tires of phrases that work, ploys that sell, and ideas that make sense to his or her buyers.

There is no doubt about it, one of the keys to the professional’s greater skill at presenting or demonstrating lies in his or her ability and willingness to use repetition effectively to reinforce every point. He or she doesn’t mind repeating the sales point because he or she knows it leads to repeated sales to the same type of clientele.

So, think in terms of tell, tell, tell and remember: Repetition is the seed of effective presentations, and successful selling. And last but certainly not least, technology should be utilized to enhance presentations. However, the presenter MUST be proficient at doing so!

On the lighter side.

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Today is Tuesday. It is the unheralded day of the week. It’s like the hall closet in a house, the light inside the trunk of a car, a streetlight on a dead-end street. No one says, I can’t wait for Tuesday!

Well, let’s look on the bright side, Tuesday means we’ve made it past Monday. It means we get to do the things we wanted to do yesterday when other things got in the way.

And as a day that draws little attention, it’s the perfect day to stop and smell the flowers, to take a walk, to daydream, to drive the long way home. We can take our time to do it all just a little longer than on other days because the balance of the week is still in front of us.

Tuesday is a no-pressure, no deadline type of day. It’s a day, maybe the only day when you can push off for tomorrow what you could’ve done today. Tuesday is a great day to ensure your balance, to clear your mind and refill it with positive thoughts. Make the most of it.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count.