EMC Publications

Nine Blunders in PresentationsContact usMarketing & Sales Tips

by Joyce Hayne

In a highly competitive sales environment, salespeople need to continually improve their sales practices. These nine tips should be reviewed well prior to each sales presentation you make, so you can make a change before it’s too late.

1.  Presenting without a Goal

You should develop a goal or objective for each discussion you have with a prospect and that goal will change throughout the sales process. Your first meeting with a prospect may be to discover the issue they’re trying to solve and meet key personnel. Although you should share some thoughts about how you can help them, don’t change your goal mid-stream and start trying to close the sale. If you haven’t developed credibility and solved any problems, you’ll quickly end the sales process, without the sale.

2.  Presenting to the Wrong Person

You will be wasting your time if you’re presenting to a person who needs to present your information to the final decision-maker. They are not going to do nearly as good a job as you are!

3.  Ignoring Influencers

While having a decision-maker in the room is critical, you also want to ensure you have also invited key influencers, who will be using your product or service. They can voice concerns about the current company they’re working with and can note additional features that could be advantageous to their teams.

Be sure to speak specifically to these influencers during your presentation as well.

4.  Relying on a Pre-Designed Presentation

It’s great to have some slides in a PowerPoint presentation that you can refer to when you need data to prove a point, but running through a 5-minute (or worse, even longer) presentation is going to bore your prospect. Not every person’s issues are the same, so tailor your discussion to each prospect and remember that they should be doing the majority of the talking.

5.  Not Solving a Problem

People don’t buy a product's features, they buy a solution to a problem. If you haven’t uncovered your prospect’s business issues during the qualification process, you need to go back and ask more probing questions.

6.  Not Using Trial Closes

You should gain agreement from the prospect throughout the presentation by using trial closes, such as, “Would that solve your inventory issue?” or “Is that delivery timeline acceptable?” By gaining consensus throughout your presentation, it’s easier to close the sale.

7.  Just Focusing on Price or Sharing Price Too Late

Price is just one aspect of a sale and is rarely the main criteria for buying, unless you’re selling a commodity. There are many other factors involved in a purchasing decision and those help to create value for your price. Don’t get caught up in negotiating on price only.

However, don’t make the prospect guess what your price is during your entire presentation. Be confident about your price and state it early in your presentation, so the buyer doesn’t have to ask, “And how much is this going to cost me?” If you introduce the price at the right time in the buying cycle, the prospect can start justifying your price as you’re continually building the value of your product or service.

8.  Not Creating Urgency

Have you ever heard, “I’ll pass for now.”? Clearly, you have not given the buyer enough reasons to purchase now. Although it’s important to note that some buying may be seasonal, you can still confirm the sale for a future time. Try to avoid having to call someone in a few months for a future decision.

9.  Not Asking for the Sale

Too many salespeople don’t ask for the sale during their presentations. Don’t wait until you’re following up days or weeks later to ask for the sale. If you’ve used trial closes throughout your meeting, asking, “Can we sign a deal today?” will either raise another objection or close the sale.

Using this list of nine blunders as a checklist, before you schedule a presentation, will increase your odds of closing a sale. Good luck!

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