Intelligent consumers influence sales, marketing tactics

You will have difficultly finding an organisation that gives you a non-biased story; they are not going to tell you the negative points about their product or service, only the positive points.

Being interrupted by a brand so that they can give you their sales or marketing pitch is a pet peeve of many consumers. Online media platforms, such as Facebook try and resolve this by offering advertisers contextual advertising, whereby consumers only see adverts that are relevant to what they are currently doing. And on the personal engagement front, how often do you have to tell a store assistant that you are “just browsing” when they interrupt you in a store, resulting in you being able to avoid the one sided sales pitch.

Let’s face it, people do not want to be sold to anymore, they want to feel like they are in control of their buying decisions. Even if you see a contextual ad on Facebook, you probably still feel irritated with that brand and may make a subconscious decision not to buy from them, like I do.

Online research

For most purchases, both for individuals and for businesses, the average buyer conducts a fair amount of research online to narrow down their choices and allow them to make an informed decision. This is why, so often, when you are approached by a sales person, and you ask an intelligent question, they then need to refer you to the product specialist to answer it, because they are not ready to deal with your intelligent questions.

The fact that buyers now turn to the internet and become educated before they begin looking at potential suppliers means the job of the marketer has changed. Marketer’s need to educate potential buyers through content that can be trusted, they need to add perceived value to the buyers and they need to capture the buyers attention way before they begin evaluating suppliers.

Marketing strategies need to evolve from incumbent outbound marketing whereby messages are pushed out that interrupt people, hoping to find someone wanting to buy, to inbound marketing strategies whereby buyers find brands through the outstanding content they have provided.

Likewise, sales strategies need to evolve from the outbound approach whereby potential consumers are approached in-store and hurled with the standard sales pitch, or randomly cold called and also flung a sales pitch.

Larger responsibility for revenue generation

With an inbound sales and marketing strategy in place, marketing teams take a much larger responsibility for revenue generation. Not only do they take care of creating awareness and generating leads, but once that lead is found the marketing team can nurture that lead until they are ready to purchase, and only then hand over to sales to conclude the deal.

Globally, inbound strategies are being adopted by marketing teams and in many cases the separate functional areas of sales and marketing are being merged to form a single powerful revenue-generating unit.

For these new content driven strategies, and particularly for those brands adopting them in Africa, special consideration needs to be given to mobile platforms. A large portion of research would take place on a mobile device, and so awareness building, lead generation and lead nurturing content must be mobile device friendly.

Sales rehab: how to make targets and rest easy

A lot of B2B companies are using the truculent economy as a scapegoat for many of the ills that plague them. At the end of the day, they’re not making as much money as they used to or perhaps they’re even running at a loss. The fact is, though, that an economy resembling a wounded sloth only serves to highlight and magnify the problems that already existed.

And every company has problems.

It’s no secret that, in times of plenty, companies are protected by the fat but when times are lean, there’s little lard buffering the harsh realities of retrenchments versus the unbounded joy of swelling coffers.

It’s also no secret that it’s then that sales managers begin to bald prematurely, wake up in the dark of night in a cold sweat, and quaff one consecutive coffee after another while chain-smoking like a legionnaire.

Needn’t be the case

The reason for their accelerated ageing is that they don’t know what to do to remedy the situation. But that needn’t be the case.

The causes for lacklustre revenues range from misalignment of sales people with sales management to few sales people meeting their targets, poor forecasting, underused vendor relationships, poor closing ratios, non-existent or ill-defined sales methodologies, and no or poor differentiation, or a poor sales strategy.

What sales and business unit managers in complex sales environments must do is gain visibility into their sales processes because it is then that they can start to take appropriate, relevant and effective actions to do something positive for sales.

They will know, for example, which leads offer immediate potential – if any at all – based upon factual metrics derived from accurate sales data, and distinguish them from those that will not be closed in the immediate future.

Where to focus sales effort

That will tell them where to focus their sales effort to get the maximum returns. They will gain the ability to differentiate their service or product.

It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Sales environments become increasingly complex as organisations grow in size. The larger the business, the more territories in which it operates or offices it maintains, the more sales people it employs, the more divisions it spans, the more products or services it offers, the greater the complexity. It can be an epic task to drill down into the data and learn what’s really happening.

And when managers do try to look into the reasons for poor performance, they are often stymied by the poor forecasting that runs riot through most businesses. Forecasts are typically based on past performance; they’re based on supposition, they’re an enigmatic brew of science and art, thumb sucks, bum covering, and the whole gamut of corporate ethics, mixed as they are.

The plan

So how is a sales manager or business unit manager (BUM) supposed to come up with a plan? And while they’re at it, how do they come up with a plan they’re pretty sure will succeed?

First, they need to know what’s going on. Without a sales methodology, process and proper tools in place, they cannot even begin. Those three components give them a common language and qualification that leads to qualitative selling. But not without coaching that will allow sales managers and BUMs to put the three components to proper use.

Take those steps and sales people ultimately end up with clear differentiators and compelling reasons why clients should choose them, which means they don’t have to resort to the unsustainable business practice of discount selling. Sales managers and BUMs gain visibility into where to maximise impact through focused, appropriate, and effective actions. Sales people cannot fudge forecasts and activities.

Sales people become more productive and more effective – or they leave. It’s the ugly side of sales performance management but right-sizing can cost companies an inordinate sum unless the situation can be reversed.

Clear and factual metrics

Clear and factual metrics will identify under-performers and top performers without prejudice, and under-performers without the will to change typically leave of their own accord once it becomes clear.

Those that do wish to remedy the situation, however, will know precisely where to make an effort and how to do so and sales managers will be able to support them as they become more productive for the business. It’s the most attractive option for everyone because, ultimately, companies exist to make money and any working person, particularly a sales person, is no different.

Six simple test cases to help increase online sales

Test everything, assume nothing! This is one of the core values that I live by, especially when it comes to generating online sales. The reason being is that I have learnt that after all these years on the internet, you just never know what strategy or angle is going to work best for you until you test it. This applies even to your star-performing strategies, because there’s always room for improvement.

The bottom line is, testing is the only way to discover what works and what doesn’t on your website, and it’s the best way to start increasing your sales exponentially. And if you take the plunge and use just one of the following tests, you’ll learn just how true this is, especially when you start seeing a dramatic improvement to your bottom line.

Test #1: Rethink your headline. Adding in different benefits of your product / service in your headline has a huge impact on your sales ad it’s often the first thing visitors to your site will see so it must grab their attention and compel them to read on.

A successful headline should highlight a problem your target audience faces and stress the main benefit of your product or service in solving this problem. Let’s look at an example that illustrates how a headline can be changed for maximum impact: “PuzzBox – The Amazing Toy Storage Box For Puzzles.” The problem with this headline is that it tells you what the product is, but not what it does for you. It doesn’t give a visitor any good reason to continue reading the rest of the page.

Contrast that one with this: “Finally! Discover the Secret That’s Got More Than a million Puzzle-Crazy Kids Worldwide Actually LOVING Clean-Up Time!” This headline presents a major benefit of the product and a solution to a problem – in this case, how to get kids to clean up after themselves and actually enjoy it.

Relating to your audience

Test #2: Establish a problem and solution. In the first few paragraphs on your home page, you need to go into more detail about the problem you highlighted in your headline – showing your audience that you relate to them. (Only when your audience feels you understand their problem will they feel confident that you can solve it.)

Once the problem is established, you can then begin introducing your product or service as the solution to this problem. By emphasising exactly how your product or service will solve your reader’s problem, you’re guaranteed to see quite an interest in your product or service and this will lead to a boost in sales.

Test #3: Adding credibility to your copy. This will enhance your visitors’ trust in you. It’s through this process that your visitors come to trust you and feel comfortable enough to buy from you. There are several ways you can do this effectively and we’ll talk about two of the quickest and easiest ones here.

One of the best ways to establish your credibility is to include customer testimonials in your sales letter. These should be excerpts from genuine emails or letters from customers expressing how your product or service helped solve the particular problem they faced.

Please note that a customer testimonial that states how your product benefited them is much more effective than one that just says something like, “Your product is great!” or “I love your product.”

Secondly, also enhance your credibility by adding a section to your copy that outlines your credentials, experience and any background information that makes you qualified to solve your target audience’s problem. Your aim should be to effectively convince readers that you are the best person to offer them a solution to their problem.

Creating a sense of urgency

Test #4: Instill urgency in your copy. Achieving this will convince readers they need to buy now. The best place to do this is towards the end of your sales letter, near your call to action (where you ask for the sale). Here are a few of the most effective ways to create a sense of urgency:

Offer additional bonuses for free if visitors buy within a certain time frame, eg: a free service for a month or a free eBook containing tips and advice.

Offer only a limited quantity of your products or services.

Offer a limited quantity bonus.

Offer a limited-time price discount where visitors must buy before a certain date in order to qualify for the discount.

Test #5: Reposition your opt-in offer. Your opt-in offer is your tool for gathering your customers’ email addresses and building your email list, which allows you to regularly keep in touch with your subscribers, build relationships of trust and loyalty, become a credible source and sell them your products or services.

But did you know that where your opt-in offer appears on your site can have a huge impact on how many subscribers you attract? Yes, it’s true; you can boost your opt-ins and build a bigger list of loyal subscribers.

Test by placing your opt-in offer in as prominent a position as possible on your home page. According to usability studies, the top left of a page is where visitors’ eyes are often drawn first. At the very least, test placing your opt-in in the “top fold” of your home page – the area of screen first visible to a visitor before they scroll down the page.

You should also test placing your opt-in offer on every page of your site so it’s always in front of your visitors. Remember, the more sign-up opportunities you provide, the more subscribers you’re likely to get.

Less products, more detail

Test #6: Minimise your product or service offerings. Try offering just one product or service on your home page and if you sell a number of products or services on your website then I’d strongly recommend you test whether or not this is the best strategy for you. I’ve found that offering fewer products in one place with more copy describing those products always translates into higher sales.

Instead of trying to please everyone who visits your site by offering a large range of products with minimal detail about each one, offer just one product, or one set of related products or one key set of benefits and answer all the possible questions and doubts your visitors might have about that product. You don’t have to stop selling your other products as you can always offer them to your customers from your other web pages or by using follow-up offers.

Of course, the only way to find out for sure if this will work with your target audience is to test it! Write a sales letter for your lead product, and put it on your home page. Then run the test for a week or two and watch the numbers.

Sales and Sales Management

Sorry, Buddy, But Your Best Just Isn’t Good Enough

I have received several email responses to my recent The Value of Fear post that have been very critical of my position that fear not only is a great motivator but that sellers need to experience failure in order to learn to fear it.

A good many of the emails chastised me for suggesting that sales leaders should allow sellers to experience failure.  Rather their position is that the sales leader should be doing everything possible to help sellers avoid failure in order to help them grow their self-confidence and that they should never criticize a seller’s failure but in all cases be encouraging and supportive.

The implication is that if one criticizes then by definition they are not supporting the seller.

That position, I believe, has more to do with Political Correctness than reality—and does far more to destroy the seller, the sales leader, and the company than whatever good some mushy soft hearted encouragement in the face of failure can ever do.

I’m not saying encouragement is bad.

I’m not saying that helping a seller to find some positive in failure is bad.

What I am saying is that protecting sellers from the consequences of their failure is bad.

Sellers need to feel the pain of failure and if we try to soft-pedal their failures into some weak, fictional success we’re setting them up for even more profound failures in the future.

Worse, we could be setting them up for the ultimate failure of getting hit out of left field with the disturbing news that they no longer have a job.

Let me relate a brief email exchange from the past week:

Me (to a sales leader who had emailed me with his disagreement with my post on fear): So all of your conversations with you salespeople are 100% positive even when they have failed?

Sales Leader: You misunderstand.  They never fail.  When they don’t succeed they learn something.  There is no such thing as failure.

Me:  How can you not discuss their failure with them so that they understand the real meaning of it, that is, that it is more than a learning opportunity, it is a missed sale that hurts them, the company, and even the prospect?

Sales Leader:  It is never about failure.  It is never about pain or hurt or missed opportunity.  It is about a positive experience—they saw a prospect; they made a presentation; they learned something new.  Talk of fear and failure and pain and missed opportunities kills the spirit and I want my people to experience nothing but good, to feel good about themselves and what they are doing.

Me:  What happens to those salespeople who don’t have enough successes to meet quota?  What do you do with them after they’ve missed quota time after time?

Sales Leader:  Well, certainly there are some that we have to part ways with, but that’s just one of the unfortunate parts of business.

Me:  So you’re giving these people positive feedback, telling them to continue doing their best and all will be good, never letting them know failure, and then out of the clear blue one day you say, “Hey, buddy, your best isn’t good enough.  We have to let you go?”  Is that fair to the seller?

I haven’t received a response yet from the sales leader.

Sellers need to experience the consequences of their actions—both positive and negative.

Sales leaders need to communicate honestly with their charges and that includes letting them know when they failed, why they failed, and what their failure means.  Trying to sugar coat failure, trying to protect the delicate feelings of sellers will eventually do far more harm than good.

We grow through our experiences–all of our experiences, good and bad, success and failure, those we are proud of and those we aren’t.

Overly protective sales leaders need to learn to let go and let their salespeople know the real pain of their actions, as well as the success.

And ultimately maybe the desire to protect sellers from experiencing the consequences of their failure says more about the sales leader than the seller.


Absence Makes the Heart Go Wander

For all the talk of relationship selling being dead, I am still long human relationships. Your best relationships are based on your ability to create value, no doubt. But they are relationships nonetheless, and relationships require proper care and feeding.

Other than an inability to create value, nothing destroys relationships faster than your absence. A lack of presence is a liability when it comes to relationships. It’s neglect.

Absence does not make the heart grow fonder. Absence makes the heart go wander.

If you don’t invest in your client relationships, know that someone else will. If you aren’t willing to have a presence, to give the relationship its proper care and feeding, and continually create value, you can bet that your competitor will. Here are three commands for preventing a wandering heart in your client contacts.

Maintain a Presence: Long periods of absence are felt as neglect. Long periods without communication make your client feel that they are being ignored. The maintenance of relationships requires an investment of time. Relationships require your presence. The best way to maintain a presence is by using your calendar to plan your relationship building. Make a list of the relationships you need to maintain, and schedule the sales calls you need to make at least one quarter in advance. Then make your presence felt.

Prove That You Care: Your clients need to know that you care about them. They need to know that you are thinking about them and their business. Proving that you care requires an investment of time, but the unexpected follow up call to ensure that things are going well (or the unexpected thank you card) indicates that you care. It proves you are thinking about your client. Make the calls. Send the thank you cards. Do something. Prove that you care.

Move From Value Creation to Value Creation: Relationships are based on value creation. It’s not enough just to have a friendly relationship with your clients. You have to bring business results. You have to bring them new ideas. Preventing your clients from having a wandering heart means moving from value creation to value creation, never becoming complacent, never resting on your laurels. Sales is the fashion business. Make a list of ideas that you and your clients can implement together over the next four quarters. Share these initiatives with your clients during your meetings. They give you a reason to have a presence, and it’s a reason based on value creation.

Work to make the heart grow fonder, not to make the heart go wander.


The power of using someone’s name

Why is it that when someone uses our name, we instantly jump to attention, our ears prick up, our antennae switches to high alert, and we pay a bit more attention? It’s because it’s the one thing that we totally associate with ourselves and no one else.

Yes there are many people with the same first name as you in the world, but when someone actually says the word in your vicinity, you instantly respond and pay more attention – they are talking to you.

Last week, I dropped my car off with the valet at the airport to get it cleaned whilst I was away for the day. Nothing special there, but when I approached the kiosk and handed my keys over, the gentleman behind the desk asked, “hi, can I take your business card please?” I handed over my card, and he said “thank you Linda, and how is Blue Banana treating you today?” Huh, my name! Instantly I thought “how on earth does he know, and how cool is that?” Of course, my business card followed by my Visa card gave him all the information he needed, but because so few people take the time and effort to actually use your name, it really stood out for me, he made me feel important, not just another number at the deli counter of life.

The taxi driver on the same day greeted me by name as the firm I was working with that day had booked him and filled him in with my name and where I was going. Nothing new there, but after we chatted during the journey, he wished me a safe flight home and once again used my name at the end in farewell. Nice.

People like to feel important; it’s human nature and by using someone’s name at the right time and in the right manner, it goes a long way to achieving this. It’s easy to do, and yet so few of us do it.

I was waiting in the reception area of a possible client recently, and noticed another chap waiting too. A staff member came out, approached the chap and inquired “Andrew?” “Paul” came the reply, and off they went together. At no time did the staff member apologize for getting his name wrong, and poor old Paul must have been thinking “if he can’t be bothered to get my name right, my interview / pitch is doomed from the start, I may as well leave now!” That’s an insult in anyone’s book.

So how can you use someone’s name just a little more and make them feel important?

Here are some everyday examples of how you can do just that:

Jot down the telephone callers name as soon as they introduce themselves and say “hello (insert name here)”. Make sure you say good-bye (insert name here) at the end of the call, even if it’s a telephone marketer that has interrupted you.

Use it at the beginning of your email rather than just launching into your message.

Why not add it into the beginning greeting of your text? With predictive text and an ample keypad, many people don’t use text language anymore, but full and proper words.

Replying to tweets or comments, you are still communicating person to person, just virtually so use their name here too.

Use the person’s name that you have just met by saying “hello (insert name here) good to meet you”. Saying it quickly after they have introduced themselves is a great way of remembering it.

So stand out a little from the crowd and be remembered because you remembered to use their name. It’s the single thing we all so love the sound of.

How do you use people’s names easily, do you have any comments to add?


Client said I was Priced too High, how do I Save the Deal?

What do you do when your client tells you that your proposal is twice the price of your nearest competitor?  My client just called me and told me that my quote was 2X more expensive than the highest bid received from other companies.  What do I do next?

First, don’t panic.

At least your client is talking to you.  They could have just as easily thrown your proposal in the trash and never contacted you.

This could just be a ploy by your client to get you to lower your price or it could be a legitimate question about why your price is so high.  Either way, your next move is to contact the client as soon as possible.

Your client is theoretically trying to make the best decision possible for their business and that is how you should approach this problem as well.  Be a resource to truly help them figure out the best course of action.

If your price is 2X your nearest competitor, either:

A.  You misunderstood the requirements.

B.  Everyone misunderstood the requirements except you.

C.  You are offering something of additional value that your competitors are not offering.

D.  You are priced too high for your market.

If you have a great relationship with your client, I would ask to meet with them and help them compare the competitors proposal to your own to make sure it is a fair comparison.

I would do the following:

1.  Review the specific issues that the client said was important to have addressed in the proposal.  If you can get the client to rank the issues in order of importance, that would be even better. (See point #8.)

Doing this exercise should tell you if you and your client are in agreement on what all of their issues are that should be addressed in the proposal and help you identify if the problem with your client is A, B or C above.

2.  If you have a unique service or offering that would be of value to your client that your competitor is not capable of matching, you can try to get that service included on the “important issues to address” list, though you should have done this the first time around.  I would just say make sure you keep your clients best interests in mind when making this decision.

3.  Once you are certain you and your client are in agreement on what issues need to be addressed in the proposal, ask to review the quotes.

4.  Compare your quote and the competitors quote to the ranked list of issues and point out the specific spots where the proposals differ from each other or the list.

5. If you have addressed issues in your proposal not on the list or that the client does not want it is up to you to offer to remove the item or convince the client that they need it and to pay the additional cost associated with it.

6. If your proposal has addressed everything on the list, but your competitors proposal has not, ask the client if the item the competitor left off is important.  If it is important, the competitor needs to add it, if it is not truly important, take that item off your proposal and adjust the price accordingly.

7.  If your competitor has offered a very low price to get the business that you do not think they can honor, explain your concern to the customer and offer a fixed price or a guarantee to meet the price you quoted to eliminate the advantage such a tactic might give your competitor.

8.  If the client did rank their issues in order of importance and price seems to be their ultimate concern, you might offer to remove the lowest ranking issues from the proposal and reduce your price accordingly.

9.  OPTION: Offer up a discount/rebate or refund if you are wrong.  You could offer to charge a lower rate if your actual costs are lower than what you are predicting in your proposal.

Good luck!


Why Your Sales Manager Wants You to Make More Calls

Short answer: Because you aren’t making enough calls.

It’s true that there is a difference between efficiency and effectiveness. It’s also true that way too many sales managers demand efficiency because it’s easier than helping their salespeople improve their effectiveness. But just like all sales problems aren’t efficiency problems that need to be solved with more activity, not all sales problems are effectiveness problems either.

Sometimes the reason your sales manager wants you to make more calls is because you need to make more calls.

You Tried It Your Way

Most of the time sales managers wait far too long to diagnose an efficiency problem. They want to allow the salesperson to do whatever works for them. If the salesperson is effective prospecting their own way, most sales managers want to support them. As long as what they are doing is working.

It’s when the email marketing, the social selling, and the waiting have produced no pipeline to speak of that sales managers start to ratchet up the pressure. When your approach isn’t working, it’s time to try another approach.

How Many Calls Is Enough?

I know a salesperson that can book four or five calls out of ten. She’s just that good. If you were new to sales, watching her would make you believe that prospecting is easy. You might allow yourself to believe that you can make a few calls and wildly succeed too. But you would be wrong.

You need to do whatever amount of prospecting that you need to do to build your pipeline. It’s personal to you. You might need to do much more than someone else, even someone in the same job, in the same company, with the same goals. If you are really effective, you might need to make far fewer calls than your peers. But if you aren’t effective, you just have to grind away and do the work. For now anyway.

Your Sales Manager Is Right . . . Now

Your sales manager is right. The right remedy for what is ailing you is more activity when you aren’t doing enough to give yourself a fighting chance.

But your sales manager doesn’t have to be right forever. Here’s the truth: The more calls you make, the more effective you become. If you make a lot of calls, you get better fast. If you never make the number of calls you need to improve, it will take you forever to build any real competence. Let’s say it takes 1,000 calls to improve one level (whatever that might mean). You can make those calls in a month or two, or you can make those calls in a year or two. But the sooner you make those calls, the sooner you can succeed in sales making fewer calls.

For now, give an increase in activity a chance, and give yourself a fighting chance. Just make more calls.


When is more activity the right answer to low sales numbers and a weak pipeline?

When is it time to give up a prospecting approach that isn’t working and try something new (or old)?

Why can some salespeople produce better results with their peers with less activity?

What’s the fastest way to improve your effectiveness at some task?


What is your prospect thinking?

Selling has become more difficult and challenging in recent years. However, if you think it’s tough to sell, try being a corporate decision maker.

Anyone who is responsible for making buying decisions experiences stress when they are faced with these decisions. Even if they like your product or service they will have questions and concerns about making a decision.

The problem is that many of these questions will NEVER be verbally expressed.

Here are just a few of the possible concerns and questions that occupy their mind space during your sales conversation.

1. How can this sales person or his company help me?

2. What’s in it for me? How will I personally benefit?

3. What happens if the company fails to execute or deliver what this sales person says they will do?

4. Are the claims about this product accurate?

5. How will this decision affect me and my position?

6. I’ve heard other sales people say that before, why should I believe this person?

7. What will happen if I do nothing?

8. How hard am I going to have to fight to get approval for this? Is it worth the fight?

9. Who is going to challenge me and oppose this decision?

10. How will this decision affect my boss’s perception of me?

11. What will my boss think about this decision?

12. We tried something like this before and it didn’t work; why should I consider it again?

13. How difficult is it going to be to implement this solution?

14. Is it worth the headache and hassle to make the change or is it simpler just to deal with the status quo?

15. Is the problem really big enough?

16. How much is this going to cost in terms of soft costs such as people, time, meetings, etc.?

17. What hasn’t the sales person told me?

18. What hidden costs haven’t been factored into this solution?

Not every decision maker is going to have ALL of these questions running through their head but I guarantee that ALL of your prospects will have several questions or concerns at the very least.

That means it is critical that you find out what questions your prospect has on their mind.

Unless you uncover AND deal with these questions and concerns, it is unlikely that your prospect will actually make an affirmative buying decision.

The next time you’re talking to a prospect about your offering think about the questions running through their head and figure out how you will deal with those concerns.


Are you winging it?

1 The other day I was reading an excellent blog post about the effectiveness of Steve Jobs’ presentations. The writer accurately suggested that part of Jobs’ success was the visual component because he knew exactly how to create a compelling presentation on Keynote (Apple’s version of PowerPoint).

A reader of the blog commented with the following statement…

“I have a presentation tomorrow morning to a group of new employees at our company. I have given it once before, about 3-4 months ago. I worked for a while on it them, and it went well. So I was going to wing it this time. But after reading this, I spent a few minutes reviewing it to ensure I bring the enthusiasm to it that our new employees deserve.”


Just because you delivered a presentation ONCE, several months ago doesn’t mean you should wing it. I don’t believe you should EVER deliver any type of presentation without first rehearsing it. And spending a few minutes reviewing does not count as rehearsal!

When a company hires me to deliver a keynote speech at a conference or sales meeting, I run through my presentation up to ten times prior to the actual day of the conference. I don’t memorize every word but I do make sure that all of the points flow properly together and that I remember the key points and examples I want to make.

Sales presentations deserve the same attention

Rehearsal helps to ensure that your presentation flows logically from one point to the next. You can ensure that the key points are properly addressed.

As you practice you can think of potential objections and address them directly in your presentation. You can also time your presentation to make sure that you finish ahead of schedule

Rehearsal also gives you the opportunity to run through your slide deck and update any slides that are outdated or no longer relevant.

Recipe for disaster

Winging a sales presentation is a recipe for disaster, regardless of how experienced you are.

I have conducted countless sales meetings and still make sure that I run through my presentation a few times beforehand to ensure that I am prepared.

But…I learned this the hard way…

Last year I was invited to conduct a sales presentation for several days of sales training. Because I knew the company and the people and had worked with them before, I didn’t rehearse my presentation. I figured I could wing it.

BIG mistake!

Shortly after I began I noticed a typo on one of the slides. Then, someone asked me a question I hadn’t anticipated (although I should have) and I faltered in my response. When I left their office I couldn’t help but shake my head at my poor performance.

Don’t wing it

The next time you catch yourself thinking, “I’ve done that presentation before so I can wing it” remember that your prospects deserve more. Plus, you also give a competitor who doesn’t wing it a better chance to capture that sales opportunity.