There are many factors that go into generating as much sales revenue as possible – some are personal selling skills, personal drive, a fertile territory, high demand, and effective marketing, to name a few. An additional factor – one we don’t often think about – is how efficiently we operate.
Efficiency is getting the most out of a given asset. In this case, that asset is time. And since there is a finite amount of working time in a day, a week, a month, and a year, it behooves us to get as much as we can out of those hours, and to waste as little of that precious asset as possible. One area where many sales people operate less than efficiently is in presenting their solutions to prospects. That’s because they fall into the trap of providing more information, and more detail, than the prospect needs in order to be persuaded to buy. Doing a “data dump” can stretch a 40-minute presentation into an hour or more. Multiply this by the number of presentations you deliver each year, and it adds up to a lot of time – time that could be spent on working and closing other opportunities.
Contrary to what many of us think, the goal of a sales presentation is not to convey every bit of information about your offering. It’s to persuade a person, or group of people, that your solution meets their needs and wants, and does so better than any competitive solution. This is difficult for most sales people to accept, because most of us are gregarious, outgoing, showmen by nature, we’re excited about all the things our product or service can do, and we want to share all those things with everyone we talk to. But the fact is that only a handful of features of your product typically need to be presented and demonstrated for people to be persuaded to buy it. The rest are not. This means you need to determine beforehand (during your discovery questioning) what’s important to your prospect, and then decide what to include in your presentation/demonstration, and, by corollary, what to exclude.
For example, I’m selling high-end outdoor grills (the kind that sell for over two grand). A prospect shares with me why he’s not happy with the grill he’s been using for the last two years. “I can cook all the food I want with this thing, but my guests are constantly complaining that the food is overcooked, or undercooked, or not charred properly. It seems the temperature varies widely, and that heat isn’t being distributed evenly to all parts of the grill. All I want is a grill that will ensure that when I cook, my guests come up to me and tell me “this is perfect!” I don’t care how easy it is to clean, or how easy it is to move around, since it’s not going anywhere. I want one that cooks food the way my guests want it cooked.”