It’s a great feeling setting out for a presentation knowing that you’ve got a great product, some compelling arguments and a natty slide show. It’s not so nice when you emerge from your slick presentation without the business you were hoping to secure. It’s worse than not so nice – it’s a huge waste of everyone’s time. If you’re going to deliver a business presentation you want to give yourself the best possible chance of achieving your objective.
When you enter a store to buy yourself a liquid refreshment, you already know what you were aiming for before you set foot in the store. Someone intending to buy bottled water is hardly likely to walk out with a Coke.
So the first question is, have you researched your prospect’s preferences. Is it possible that you may be pitching Coke to a diabetic, or someone with an aversion to sweet, fizzy beverages? If you are, your chances of succeeding were zero before they stepped in the door.
When you entered the store to buy the water, could it be possible that you were thirsty? So there was a reason you headed there – you wanted something to drink, and you had water in mind. Assuming they didn’t have water, would you have tried something else? Perhaps, but what would make you do that?
It would depend on how thirsty you are, how rushed and whether or not you had other options close by. If a competing store on the next block was likely to have bottled water, it would be easy to try there. Goodbye customer. But if the next store was a substantial distance away, you may be persuaded to buy something else, but it would be a grudge purchase based on urgency – not good for future repeat business for the store.
Having great offerings is the starting point in sales. But your success in generating a sale and the desired repeat business from your presentation is rooted in your preparation. Here are 9 important questions to ask yourself right at the start:
- Have you asked the right questions prior to developing your presentation?
- Do you know what the client is looking for (wants)
- Do you understand what the client needs (could be different from what they want)
- Have you ascertained what their problem is?
- Do you understand how serious their problem is? (if its not serious, there’s no urgency to act)
- Do you know how you can help them to understand their problem and how serious it is (sometimes it’s less obvious than thirst)
- Do you understand how to present the right solution that will solve their problem?
- Can you clearly articulate the advantages of taking action and the consequences of not acting?
- Do you know how you will persuade them to take action on your recommendations?
Your customer really doesn’t care about your product or what it can do. Nobody wants – for example a big yellow machine – it’s a nuisance, has to be operated, serviced, garaged and fueled regularly. But if it’s a hole in the ground that’s needed or a heap of rubble moved, maybe they can be persuaded that your big yellow machine is their best option. Your focus is their need – the task to be accomplished – not the features of the solution!
So whether they’re thirsty or they need a big pile of rubble removed, it’s more sensible to focus your attention on the why rather than the what. Because if they understand the why you don’t really have to sell the what, because they’ll buy it – of their own accord with very little pressure from you.
You see customers don’t like to be sold to, but they love to buy. If you want them to buy, you need to show them the why.