Modern Sales Presentation Techniques
Different Sales Presentation Styles
It is stating the obvious that a particular style of sales presentation cannot appeal to all categories of prospects in equally satisfying manner. While some prospects would find certain sales presentation methods very attractive, others may find it unimpressive and inconsequential, based on their perceptions, religious inclination, value judgement, social status, investment expectations, and etcetera.
“One man’s meat,” they say, “is another man’s poison.” Some prospects would yet prefer a short, direct-to-the-point and value-oriented sales presentation method, while others would prefer a more detailed sales presentation speech. This simply affirms differences in taste and style.
Obviously, the aspects of a service or product that appeal to certain categories of customers may not necessarily appeal to others customer segments due to differences in culture, value judgement, perceptions, needs and investment priorities. I observed, for instance, that business people respond more favourably to sales presentations that focus on security of funds, value, sustainability of service, delivery on promise, customer relationship management, return on investment and professionalism, depending on the nature of the product or service.
On the other hand, civil servants and certain categories of professionals look out for professionalism, security of funds, improved status, customer relationship management, family financial protection, happy retirement life and delivery on promise. While the business community emphasise more on gains, the civil servants place emphasis on delivery on service, satisfaction and customer care.
I have had several instances in which change in sales presentation style led to change of heart even by the same prospect. When I presented life assurance service to a medical doctor using value and detailed presentation, he ignored me for four years as if I was talking trash but when I used needs and solution approach in presenting the same service, he invested immediately and also prevailed on his wife, a pharmacist, to invest as well.
In designing sales presentation, these factors that have to do with individual traits and perceptions should be taken into consideration. This way, the salesperson would address such difference and by so doing prevent loss of businesses that could emanate from inability to recognize individual tastes and characteristics. Email letters and face-to-face presentation, for instance, cannot be the same in content and sequence. Telephone presentation and hard copy correspondence cannot be the same in content and delivery, although each would seek to convey the same idea or message.
In order to address differences in individual traits and perceptions, I have designed different sales presentation styles for each segment of my target markets, taking cognizance of their characteristics and needs. What I do most of the time is to alternate these presentation styles based on the characteristics of each prospect or audience, employing the language, words, tone and style considered most appropriate in the circumstance.
Certain sales presentation methods such as telephone and email presentations, for instance, may not afford the salesperson the privilege of observing and adjusting instantly to prospects’ gestures and needs, while face-to-face sales presentation would allow you the opportunity to evaluate on the spot, the impact of your utterances on your prospect, mirror his gestures and utterances and adjust as may be appropriate in order to achieve result.
Paramount is the need to learn the skills for designing sales presentation styles in a manner that would be appropriate for the taste and perceptions of each of your market segments, taking into consideration their social status, needs and religions inclinations. Such approach will also address investors’ peculiar challenges and motivations. It is only by so doing that your utterances or sales offers would sound meaningful, invaluable and attractive to prospects.
For the purpose of variations and in order to serve the interest of various market segments of different classes, perceptions and needs, you could design different sales presentation styles on the basis of the following methods:
- Value presentation;
- Story presentation;
- Testimonial presentation;
- Friendly presentation;
- Detailed-benefits presentation.
As a guide for coming up with effective sales presentation styles, I have provided below, processes for designing and steps for adopting different sales presentation styles, but in doing so, you should take cognizance of the nature of your product or service.
- Firstly, write out the features of your product or service in a brief manner;
- Secondly, list out the benefits and values represented by your product or service;
- List out the values and benefits again but this time in a compressed form, but retaining the basic message focus;
- Explore the possibility of compressing the entire message further in more concise but richly loaded powerful words;
- Now write out three different introductory statements for introducing your service or product in a manner that would gain immediate attention, ever before you begin to explain the benefits;
- Ensure that each of the introductory statements focus on summarized solution using your product or service;
- Telephone presentation requires thorough study of selling points in order to avoid sounding unintelligent and incoherent;
- Telephone presentation should be very brief and straight to the point since you do not know the mood of your prospect at the other end at the time of your call;
- Email letters and correspondence should comprise of carefully chosen words and points that would convey your intended message. Unnecessary details that do not add value should be completely avoided.
- Your next further step is to rehearse the various presentation styles and techniques.
- Write out the major points and memorize the values, key words and focus of the message;
- Read these presentations over and over again until your could tell compelling stories about them.
While avoiding memorisation of presentation word for word, it is of essence that you should memorise the core benefits or values represented by your product or service since they represent your major selling points which must be perfectly enumerated. You should have these major selling points at the tip of your fingers.
One of the effective techniques for developing effective different sales presentation styles is to engage in regular practice of the various sales presentation styles you may come up with even with your colleagues, friends or your wife as if they are your prospects. At the end of such presentation demonstration exercise, you should ask them for an unbiased assessment of the effectiveness of each presentation style based on these premise.
- Point out to your observer, the areas you need critical assessment: such as language, accuracy, delivery, emotional feeling, composure, confidence level and clarity of message;
- Based on the outcome of the assessment, re-structure your presentation styles as to make them more concise, memorable and compelling;
- At this stage, you should rate the presentation styles by yourself based on their wordings and effectiveness;
- At this point, look for a mirror and conduct sales presentation while you observe yourself;
- You should repeat the presentation rehearsal until you begin to admire what you hear or see in the mirror;
- Experience has shown that whatever impression you make of yourself through the mirror is the exact impression your prospects will have of you as you conduct formal sales presentation.
In every sales presentation, there are indispensable attributes that ought to be present in order to make it effective and compelling. They include but are by no means limited to the following strategies:
- Adopt a delivery strategy that would touch the emotional feeling of your prospect;
- Learn to highlight reasons why prospects must buy and what is in it for them; this requires thorough rehearsals to make your utterances a perfect and compelling package;
- Learn to discover gaps in your prospect’s socioeconomic situation through questioning and then demonstrate to him the likely enhanced future status he or she would attain, using your product;
Kevin Hogan states that for the sales presentation to be effective you must “… paint a vivid picture of the future resulting from acceptance of your proposal… How your proposal is the solution to their problem?”
In presenting your service or product to your friends and relations, for instance, you should adopt strategies that would not give them wrong impression that you are intent on exploiting the relationship, but that you are instead desirous of doing them a favour, by assisting them to improve their socioeconomic conditions through investment in your product.
Also, in presenting your product or service to a large audience, you should first evaluate their commonly shared characteristics and needs, and subsequently emphasise more on your discoveries in order to make enough impact and meaning as to attract their interest and desire for your product or service.
The following proven sales presentation styles are therefore, designed to give you far reaching insight on strategies for developing and conducting compelling sales presentation styles to your different market segments. While you may not adopt them word-for-word, they are meant to guide you in constructing your sales presentation based on the nature of your product or service, and as well enable you to conduct the presentation in a manner that would produce desired objective.
Value Sales Presentation
The major objective of every business transaction, both B2B and B2C, is to add value to the buyer or customer. Such value could be in form of profit, leisure, status elevation, invaluable assets, fulfilled life, prized jewelleries or other possessions.
Value perception, in most cases, would however depend on the investment desires or characteristics of a target prospect or audience, and the ability of the salesperson to highlight and capitalise on such values represented by a product or service in convincing prospects of what it would accomplish for him or her.
However, you should take cognizance of the fact that in all sales situations assessment of values and benefits attached to any particular product or service would depend on the following factors:
- Nature of the product or service;
- The purpose or motivation for embracing investment plan;
- The status and characteristics of the target audience;
- The value judgement or perceptions of the target audience;
- Investment expectations and priorities of the prospect.
In the main, value-sales presentation should be able to highlight values as promised by salespeople, or the status investors stand to accomplish, either now or sometime in the future, in the event they invest in your product or service. Put the other way round, such approach demands of you to emphasise more on the immediate or future status that would be actualised by a prospect upon acceptance of an investment proposal.
In most sales situations, prospects would want to first of all ascertain exactly what is in it for them, as well as the processes through which such values would be actualized on the basis of initial promises and assurances made by a salesperson. It is the ability of the salesperson to effectively highlight these values in a persuasive and effective manner that would convince prospects of the possibility of realising their investment objectives.
In order to acquire the appropriate skills for conducting effective value sales presentation, you should learn to adopt word-pictures, logics, valid selling points, physical demonstration where applicable, figures where necessary, references and testimonials in order to drive home your points.
It is of strategic importance that you should learn the following strategies which would equip you with the requisite techniques for adopting and conducting effective value sales presentation.
- Firstly qualify your prospect as to determine his financial status and most suitable investment plan for him or her;
- Where the values derivable from your product could not be determined in financial terms, you should use elevation of status, leisure derivable from your product or other type of benefits to drive home your points;
- In using value sales presentation, enumerate the anticipated growth in either assets or value in sequential manner as to convince your prospect that your promises are tenable and achievable;
- While adopting value sales presentation, employ strategies that would demonstrate exactly what you have in mind through illustrations, depending on the nature of your product or service;
- Learn to cite satisfactory experiences of your customers as a tool for convincing prospects of the possibility of actualising investment desires over a given period, using available data;
Presentation of certain products such as life assurance services, for instance, should focus on highlighting the maturity value, death and maturity claims, interests and bonus accruable to the investment accounts and other facilities, as may be contained in the policy provisions, such as waiver of premium, tax incentives and loan facilities.
While introducing a real estate, for instance, you should be able to demonstrate a projected value which the estate would appreciate to over a given period, based on available evidence from previous transactions with your clients or the present market value of similar property in the same location.
It is on the basis of such projected values, more than anything else, that you could convince prospects of the possibility of accomplishing their investment desires in the future. I bought an empty plot of land in 2002 at a cost of N250,000.00 but as of today, the market value of the same plot of land in the same location stands at approximately N10.5 million.
I invested in four different life assurance policies since 2003 and by maturity, the estimated investment accounts show a total figure that would double my principal investment figures – the sum assured. This is notwithstanding the fact that the policy is funded through a convenient instalment payment arrangement staggered over the term of the policy.
In adopting value-sales presentation, you should take cognizance of the following necessary steps:
- Firstly, analyze the value represented by your service or product in specific terms and enumerate them one after the other;
- Secondly, spell out the logical processes by which such values would be actualised by investors, using your product;
- Justify your facts with past performances and systematically structure them in a persuasive, logical and concise manner so your prospects can easily comprehend your points.
In a situation where techniques for conducting value sales presentation was not part of your induction-training programme, it becomes your responsibility to study your services or products by examining its values, benefits and the processes for actualising them, and on the basis of such information, design your value-added presentation speech.
Value sales presentation facilitates buying decision because it embodies points and figures that basically insinuate appropriate solution to need-situations and investment expectations of prospects. It appears to demonstrate concrete evidence of the possibility of prospects actualising their investment objectives, and as well the ability of an organisation to deliver on promise.
In designing value sales presentation, you should address these pertinent questions which are meant to guide you in discovering inherent values and benefits represented by your product or service.
- What specific values and benefits are derivable from your product or service?
- What investment objectives or personal desires can be accomplished using your products or services?
- What are needs that can be solved with your product or service and what are the processes;
- What status, leisure or fulfilment can be actualised, using your product or service and how?
Value sales presentation brings realism to the table during sales interviews, and has the potential to neutralise doubts, apprehension and pessimism usually shared by prospects at the initial stage of a business relationship. More importantly, such values and evidence of the possibility of actualising investment objectives go a long way in encouraging favourable buying decision.
Needs Sales Presentation
Needs sales presentation is a selling process that focuses on providing practical solution to identified needs and investment expectations of target prospects or organisations, relying on inherent benefits and values of a given product or service.
Every product or service is basically designed to solve certain specific needs, problem situations or investment expectations. Such solutions form the basis upon which investors would embrace any investment plan in the first instance. In most cases, some prospects may not be aware of the existence of certain needs in their lives or the importance of certain products or services until guided by a competent salesperson to discover such needs.
The significance of needs sales presentation emanate from its ability to demonstrate absolute solution to the prevailing situation of a prospect or target audience since it is usually based on needs and investment expectations as established by a salesperson either prior to or during sales interviews.
You could discover or create a need during sales interview through intelligent questioning, proper qualification of prospects’ need situations and by insinuating investment objectives in relation to future status or benefits that can be realised using your product or service. Such benefits could come in form of profit, fulfilled personal desires, leisure, priced assets, status elevation and etcetera.
The best method of discovering needs that can be met using your products or services is to outline the core values and benefits represented by them through thorough analysis of the following points:
- What needs does your service or product accomplish for customers based on your opinion?
- What needs, in your opinion, would prospects want to solve based on your questioning and qualification of such prospects;
- What solution do your customers actually acquire when they invest in your product or service?
- Based on the utterances and expressed desires of your prospect, what solution would you recommend using your product or service.
Take for instance, new couples, middle-aged couples and elderly couples share different investment expectations, family needs, priorities and preferences. With increase in age, growth in sophistication or elevation in social status, these groups of individuals evolve into different social beings that would naturally develop different needs, priorities, perceptions and investment expectations with time.
It is stating the obvious that wealthy individuals, organizations and governments equally have different categories and types of investment expectations, desires and needs due to their peculiar investment priorities, goals, responsibilities and objectives. Government’s needs differ remarkably from individual needs both in nature and scope. In the same token, organisations face entirely different challenges or needs to that of individuals and governments, depending on the nature of their business activities.
Part of your primary functions as sales professional is to learn and acquire the skills and intelligence for carrying out proper qualification of need-situations of different segments of your target audience, relying on customer profiling, research, experience and intelligence. Such attributes require of you to engage in regular intensive capacity building designed to equip you with the necessary skills and intelligence.
Proper qualification of prospects will solve eighty percent of the challenges encountered during sales activities. The remaining obstacles would be solved relying on your ability to adopt suitable and effective selling techniques, which include compelling sales presentation, appropriate response to objections and effective closing techniques conducted in a manner that would convince prospects that your service or product represents suitable solution to their needs in the circumstance.
Typical example of the essence of proper qualification of prospects is the fact that the moment a medical doctor is able to diagnose the exact ailment of a patient, the problem is half-solved; but until then, it is doubtful that the medical doctor would be able to prescribe or administer any effective medication on the patient. Until the ailment is diagnosed, all attempts to provide medical solution would be based on guess work or trial and error.
Major objectives of needs-sales presentation should focus on exposing prospects to their present or future needs and at the same time recommending or positioning your service or product as appropriate solution to the identified gaps in the personal, family or investment goals of your prospects. In other words, the ultimate goal of needs sales presentation is to create a need and subsequently demonstrate in unmistakable terms how your service or product would serve as appropriate solution.
In order to fully exploit inherent benefits of needs-sales presentation, salespeople should acquire the skills for implementing the following necessary steps during sales interviews.
- Learn how to use questioning to discover immediate and future investment needs of your prospects;
- Learn the techniques for insinuating needs during questioning, to which you would introduce your product or service as appropriate solution;
- Learn to highlight needs in a manner that will arouse emotional feeling and urge for urgent solution;
- Learn to discuss needs with prospects in a sincere manner as to ascertain their frank opinion so you could determine the extent of additional effort you should put in to make them change their mind;
Certain needs are fundamental to some age brackets, social class, professionals or groups of individuals. Young couples need homes, a car at least, family investment plans and acquisition of domestic and other essential property. On the other hand, middle aged and elderly couples think more of retirement plans, health and family welfare. Young and middle-aged women need certain domestic goods and property as a matter of necessity.
Through study of their demographics and proper qualification of other traits, you should be able to determine the peculiar needs of each segment of your target markets or strategic business units. It is on the basis of your findings that you could determine appropriate solutions which you should recommend to them, depending on the needs solved using your product or service.
Needs-sales presentation tends to open up numerous investment opportunities because it seeks to demonstrate that a particular product or service could serve as solution to various need-situations, depending on the nature of your product or service, and the target audience. For instance, a real estate can be acquired as a residential building or for commercial purposes: for lease or to be re-sold at a future date.
One can invest in stock as a long term asset or for immediate financial gain through speculative trading. In the same vein, some set of individuals use certain product or service as consumable item while others yet use the same product or service as raw material.
On visiting one of my clients, I met his colleague who works in another department. After introducing ourselves, I thrilled them with jokes, to the delight of all of us. At a point, I requested for an appointment from my client’s colleague so we can discuss my service. Rather than agree to a date, he requested to know my purpose for seeking for an appointment with him, saying that he was not interested in life assurance if that was my reason for wanting to schedule an appointment with him.
Left with no option, I decided to adopt needs-sales presentation approach and in a measured and emotion-laden tone, I presented one of my services in a manner that made him discover certain fundamental needs awaiting his immediate attention. I commenced by posing some questions regarding his children’s education, his retirement and cash accumulation plans, family financial protection plans and his feelings if I was able to assist him in attracting tax relief.
He was frank enough to admit that he had not actually given serious thought to such issues, at least not until our coincidental meeting, and offered an unreserved apology for his uninformed earlier reaction. He confessed that until our meeting, his major focus was on completing a residential building, assisting his relations and ensuring that his wife and children enjoy the best of life now.
It was then he agreed to an appointment, although I was convinced I had already planted a seed in him that would germinate someday in the near future. Two weeks to our scheduled appointment, I received a surprise phone call from him, inviting me to his office. On getting there, he informed me that during a recent travel to Lagos, they encountered near-plane crash, and while the harrowing experience lasted, what kept occurring to him were my words concerning financial security for his family and financial protection against disability.
He confessed that he momentarily felt guilty for failing to embrace my offer on the first day we met in his colleague’s office, because as at the time of that incident, according to him, he had little or no tangible savings that could sustain his family up to six months, in the event anything untoward happens to him. Of course, he is now my client.
Every desire, every wish and every expectation is automatically a need. Besides, the salesperson should learn the skills and techniques for inducing desires and urge for your product or service by insinuating the needs represented by what you sell, through strategic questioning and sales presentation specifically designed to achieve just that.
Needs-sales presentation should be structured around the values and benefits derivable from your product or service, depicting it as appropriate solution which the prospect stands to accomplish by its ownership.
I am currently a Senior Analyst/Training Instructor at IGI Plc, Chief Executive Officer, Training Consultant/Subject Matter Expert at Edcomm, Bankers’ Academy, Digital Marketing Consultant, and Author of Strategic Professional Marketing Solutions.
Do not miss subsequent parts of this article.