How to Prevent Crashing and Burning in a Sales Presentation

crash and burnEarlier this week I posted the Top 5 Sales Presentation Tips.   What if you followed the 5 tips but failed to follow the important warning in my conclusion?

What if you already scheduled a presentation but you should have scheduled a discussion?

What if you planned to talk capabilities and unique value proposition but you should have planned to ask questions to uncover their issues, problems and challenges?

What if you planned to present your company story/history but you should have planned to uncover their compelling reasons to buy?  What if you simply screwed up the entire meeting agenda?

Bad strategy but no worries.

When you are ready to present, say, “I’m excited about presenting our capabilities and unique value proposition and I would like to make it as relevant as possible.  Is it OK if I just ask a couple of questions to help me put things in context?”

When the prospects approve, ask, “Can you share what caused you to begin seriously looking at [what you sell]?”

Where you go from there depends on the development and capabilities of your listening and questioning skills, along with how well you can sense exactly what you need to hear.  Here is an example of some sample dialog on sales listening and questioning to uncover compelling reasons to buy.

Companies are currently buying in such a way that it has them inviting salespeople in to present at the end of their buying process.  Salespeople take that bait, present, propose, chase them for months, and wonder why it’s so difficult to get the business closed.  After all, if salespeople show up at the end of the process, shouldn’t the sales process move more quickly?

The short answer is “No.”

To accelerate the sales process, salespeople must create urgency; and there isn’t any urgency after they have presented and proposed.  Urgency is created only after uncovering the prospects’ compelling reasons to buy.  THEN, the sales process will move along more quickly.

So the increasingly difficult challenge for salespeople, even if they recognize it (and most don’t), is this: When they are invited in to present capabilities, they must compare it to driving into a dead-end alley.  They must shift gears into reverse because if they push forward they will crash, burn, blow-up and die.