Quick! What is the best sales presentation you’ll ever give?
Were you stumped for a moment? Don’t feel bad. It was a trick question.
The best presentation that you'll ever give is actually the one that the prospect never sees.
It is only natural that you would look forward to delivering that killer presentation you’ve been working on. You’ve spent hours on it. You’ve picked the perfect music for key slides. You’ve chosen magnificent pictures, included a couple of cool animations, and you have great transitions popping in and out. It looks awesome. But there is one big problem.
The problem is that your prospect knows what is coming.
They know – and you know – the only reason for the PowerPoint is so you can close. And no matter how great your PowerPoint deck looks, you will not be interacting with the prospect if you just keep clicking forward to the next slide. That is what we call showing up and throwing up.
What we are going to suggest is that a presentation, as most salespeople use the term, is not what you need. It does not compell people to spend more than they want to. It does not shrink the sales cycle to the length of time you would like it to occupy, either. As a matter of fact, that great PowerPoint is going to have quite the opposite effect. It is going to cause prospective buyers to be more likely to stall, to ask for time to “think it over,” and to elongate your sales process.
Instead of you even thinking in terms of a presentation – with or without a slide deck – we would like to suggest that you instead use the time allotted to you to ask questions. In other words, forget about the presentation. The best one you could possibly deliver is the one that is not even necessary … because you asked the right questions and facilitated the best close of them all: the close where the buyer does all the closing.
There are lots of questions you can ask, of course, and Sandler specializes in helping salespeople identify the best ones to ask at any given point in the sales cycle. The big point we want you to remember, though, is that the more questions you ask, the better off you are going to be.
Why? Because the value you deliver in the role of salesperson is always determined by the questions that you ask, and the information you gather … not by the information you dispense.
Use the time that you would normally devote to “delivering a presentation” to deliver your very best questions. That will build credibility and trust. You can also share appropriate, relevant third-party stories that will deepen credibility and trust.
So instead of launching that cool PowerPoint presentation you have put together, start the meeting with a great question. Say something like this:
“When I speak to your counterparts in other organizations, I typically find that the top three issues that they may be experiencing are (issue one), (issue two), and (issue of three). Do any of those sound familiar to you?”
Congratulations! You’ve started a conversation – one that will give you the opportunity to pose more questions. If you make a habit of taking full advantage of that opportunity, you are going to see for yourself that conversations beat presentations every time.
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