It’s a fact that if you are in sales you need to be a great presenter. Even if you are good at sales, without advanced persuasive presenting as a string to your bow you’ll never quite achieve your potential.
I believe everyone can master the art of winning sales presenting. I also believe that even the best salespeople can get better. If you are in sales, it’s very important that you don’t jump the gun and think you already know everything that there is to know about presenting. A closed mind causes stagnation. I’ve met many salespeople (over my decades as a pitch trainer) who fall into this dangerous trap of thinking they know and do enough. Their mind is closed. When times are tough these people do not thrive.
In fact, ensuring you open your mind to properly understanding what the best salespeople do is the most important part of taking your sales results to a completely new level. Honestly, anyone can be a persuasive presenter in business. It’s just a matter of knowing what to do and doing it!
Let’s make sure you can assess your current ability at presenting and then let’s improve your skills where you need to. That’s what’s needed if you really do want to make the most of your natural talent and existing skills.
Here’s how to measure and evaluate your sales presentation skills so you move your clients more quickly into your sales funnel, improve the quality of your existing client relationships and increase your close rate.
What do you need to be awesome at?
There are three strategic phases to a persuasive presentation: analysis, design and delivery. Within each of these phases are a myriad of attitudes, activities, and skills. You need to be really awesome at all elements of all three phases. Here’s a breakdown for you. I hope you are pleasantly surprised that you do more of these things than you first thought:
- Do you know what you want to achieve? What is your objective?
- Can you think about your presentation from your audience’s shoes?
- Do you know everything possible about the person and their business before you meet with them?
- Do you know their pain points before the meeting? What’s keeping them awake at night?
- Have you planned in advance to provide the right solutions to resolve this pain?
- Do you have evidence at your fingertips that the solution you’re proposing is something you can actually do? Testimonials, fact sheets.
- Do you know who the decision maker is?
- Do you know who the informal decision maker is?
- Do you know their budget?
- Are you clear on their timelines?
- What are their objections to anything you might suggest? Do you have a solution for all their possible objections?
- Are you clear about the emotional journey you plan to take your stakeholder on?
- Do you know structure a presentation with your audience’s needs in mind?
- Can you design your presentation in a minimum of time?
- Do you deliver your opening in a way that builds rapport and motivates your audience?
- Do you prepare for and manage objections?
- Do you deliver compelling facts, figures, and data in a way the audience can comprehend?
- Can you use a variety of modalities to hook their values?
- Do you tell stories that link to your content and help bring your data to life?
- Do you use a variety of presentation aids such as whiteboard, PowerPoint, video, handouts, props?
- Can you present with limited use of speaker’s notes?
- Do you rehearse?
- Do you eat well and rest yourself before presenting?
- Do you warm up your body, voice and mind before presenting?
- Do you create a friendly positive environment?
- Do clients enjoy spending time with you?
- Are you confident and self-assured? People buy from people they trust.
- Is your clothing smart and appropriate?
- Do you groom your hair and nails?
- Do you smell great?
- Do you stand tall with a straight back?
- Do you remember to explain the boundaries for the presentations (agenda, timings, questions, phones)
- Do you allow your natural facial expressions to show?
- Do you look at people – in the white part of their eyes?
- Do your hands emphasise your words?
- Do you move around in the space to emphasise your points?
- Do you stand still at times with your hands by your sides, your brace muscles engaged and your legs under your hips to anchor your message?
- Do you allow a variety of pitch, speed, and volume through your voice to convey the right message and emotion?
- Do you sound the same presenting as you do when you speak normally or might you be described as ‘forced’?
- Do you speak clearly?
- Do you manage your accent if you have one?
- Do you minimise rambling? Can you say it clearly and in a minimum of words?
- Are you careful about whether you go up or down at the end of your sentences at the right times?
- Are you able to stay on track with your message or are you easily distracted form your point?
- Are you able to avoid filler words like “um”, “ahrr”, “you know?”
- Do you completely engage your audience? Are they hanging on your every word?
- Do you tell stories?
- Do you know how to ensure you encourage honest, two-way communication?
- Are you able to present with PowerPoint as an aid instead of letting the PowerPoint take over your presentation?
- Do you summarise key points towards the end?
- Do you remember to call your audience to action? Every time?
- Can you manage a Q&A session effectively or do you sometimes get aggressive questions you can’t answer or weird silences?
- Do you know how to manage ‘difficult’ audience members so they become your ally or would you just ignore them?
- Do you stick to the time allocated or are you known for going over time?
- Can your client repeat your key messages to their stakeholders once the meeting is over and you’re gone?
These are just SOME of the things you should be doing every time as a persuasive presenter. So how did you fare? Be sure to congratulate yourself on the things you’re good at. Good for you! Then work out what you need to learn, improve or just change altogether.
If you’d like to improve in any of these areas, I can help you right now. I offer personal one-on-one zoom coaching, I have an internationally published, best-selling book called How to Present (Wiley) that will help you a lot (you can gift yourself this from my website), or maybe you need to get cracking and maximise your effort by registering on one of my upcoming public masterclasses in Sydney. Numbers are limited to ten (10) people so you can drill-down into the skills and receive minute by minute assistance from me in relation to your specific pitch. Importantly, please be sure to make a development plan for yourself. Even if you just learn one thing a month from my LinkedIn posts it’s better than where you were when you first started reading this article. I’m excited to hear how you grow your business with awesome persuasive presentation skills.
Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), co-creator of the PRSI (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best-selling internationally published author (Wiley), and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media. Www.michellebowden.com.au