9 Volume 3
Would you buy from a salesman who had a startled, rabbit-in-the-headlights stare? Or trust a presenter who kept scratching himself? Would you hire a team of consultants who interrupted their presentation to start debating with each other?
Probably not, because most of us judge the product, initially at least, by the packaging. If a sales presentation is poor, the product or service is automatically suspect.
Fortunately, giving a good presentation relies largely on following a few basic principles. Essentially, you need to be aware of the attitudes and needs of your audience and be positive, well organised and forthright. A well planned sales presentation is often a springboard to a prosperous and long term business relationship. So how do you present to improve the odds?
1. Make sure that everything has been confirmed and reconfirmed beforehand.
· Do your preparation ahead of time. Do a dry run of what you’re going to present; confirm the time you have available and details of the venue; ensure you leave plenty of time to get there so that you are not flustered before you start.
· Get straight to the point and grab the client’s attention immediately.
· Focus on the benefits to your client.
· Quantify those benefits where you can.
· Have a clear presentation structure outlined on cards or notes.
Following these tips, you could start your presentation with something like ‘Good morning. I’m going to show you how I can cut your inventory costs by 20 percent.’
2. Be clear on what each participant expects to achieve from the sales presentation. If you are presenting to someone who has limited use for your product, or who doesn’t believe that they need a long term partnership with your business, make sure that you tailor your presentation accordingly. Perhaps you could try to convince the person you are meeting with of the value of your product in the short term. As an aside, put yourself in the shoes of the people you are presenting to; if you can’t see why they would buy from you, why invest the time in presenting to them?
If you’re selling your services, or the services of your team, give some key achievements and outline what you can deliver.
Basically, you should present essential content in a simple, direct way, pitching to the self-interest of your audience.
At the same time, be aware of your manner. This means you should aim to look confident, relaxed and positive. The confidence will grow partly out of thorough preparation and the fact that you believe in what you are selling. If you don’t look like you believe in your product, there is no hope that your audience will either.
3. Be free of distractions that might undermine your persuasiveness. If you are not clearly focused on the benefits your business will deliver it will usually show and can detract from the power of your sales pitch. Concentrate on the fact that you want to be making the presentation, and let this energy shine through.
4. Spend some time on your personal appearance. A professional appearance is likely to add weight to your presentation and increase the appeal of the product you are presenting.
5. Prepare for the tough questions. As well as preparing a strong structure for the presentation itself, ensure that you have anticipated any questions or queries your client may have. While a good initial presentation is vital, it is just as important to follow up with a convincing response to any difficulties the person you are meeting with may have. If you prove from the outset that you can solve problems when in a tight spot, chances are people will be even more attracted to your product. Think about how you will answer any tough questions before you go into the live presentation.
6. Structure your sales presentation and stick with the format you developed at each presentation you make. In this way you’ll be able to ensure consistent delivery every time. And you’ll soon notice which parts aren’t working and be able to alter them.
7. Trying to sell a product or service purely to increase your own profit doesn’t work – people will see right through this approach. It is important that your presentation explains that your service or product will contribute to your client’s bottom line. Try to make it clear that you are seeking to establish a long-term relationship and are willing to invest time into getting to know your client’s business to ensure you can deliver them a service or product that best suits their needs.
8. Take along a comprehensive list of contacts and testimonials that vouch for the quality of your company and its product. It is important to have this resource to make your presentation even more convincing and to demonstrate that what you are selling really works.
9. Be prepared to deal with follow up questions in the weeks after the presentation. By showing that you are the sort of person willing to go the extra distance you are more likely to foster a successful business relationship.
10. Finally, be yourself. Endorse what you are selling as strongly as possible. But also make sure that you have a strong belief in what you are saying, and that the presentation matches the objectives you have for your own business. By projecting a positive image of your own operation you are certain to attract the attention of others.
Deliver Your Presentation With Confidence
You will be more relaxed if you can make the presentation conversational. That is:
· Work from notes rather than a full script, since written language often sounds stiff and dense.
· Make periodic eye contact with each listener.
· Ask questions occasionally so as to keep the audience involved. This will ensure you gauge how well your audience is ‘with you’ and interested in what you have to say.
And you will look more positive and energetic if you manage your own attitude positively. Treat a presentation as an opportunity. Tell yourself, ‘This is my chance to win new business. Something really good can come out of this.’
You also need to manage your body language. Try video recording a trial presentation or have someone watch you so you can pick up on such presentation disasters as:
· Monotonous delivery,
· Fidgets or nervous tics,
· Poor posture, or
· Repetitive phrases and ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’.
And when you make the presentation, check the body language of the audience. You need to keep in contact with their reactions to what you are saying and change pace if they look bored, or ask them what’s on their mind if they look querying or concerned. You can keep people more attentive by running a presentation that has audio-visuals to give context, and slides that are punchy and well focused.
If you have control over the surroundings, make sure the presentation area is well lit so as to discourage daydreaming or snoozing, and ensure that there won’t be any distractions like a noisy meeting next door. Don’t run a presentation for longer than an hour without a break for some beverages. Research shows that our peak attention span is just 45 minutes and even then most people retain only 30% of what they have heard.
Take advice on your presentation before you get up in front of an audience. Discuss your outline with someone who understands your business. You could even do a trial presentation and get feedback. GNS GROUP can help you develop a sales system to ensure that you are consistently putting your best foot forward. Ask about the Businesses Getting Results seminar topic on ‘Creating A Sales System’ that covers more sales tips and presentation skills
Does your advertising really boost sales? Or is it just lining ad agency pockets? Are you getting the best returns from a slim advertising budget by targeting your media and audience? Or are you taking a blunderbuss approach and hoping for the best?
Do you know which advertising strategies work best for you? Are you sure, or are you guessing?
If you don’t have procedures to measure the results of your advertising, then you’re probably relying heavily on guesswork. And you probably aren’t getting the best bang for your advertising buck. You’ll only know for certain if you measure and track the results of your advertising.
Remember the adage ‘What you can measure you can manage’. If you can measure the results of your advertising, you can assess just where advertising is really boosting your sales - that is, where you earn multiples of each advertising dollar you spend.
‘Too hard! Too much time and effort!’ you might object. And with some justification. You run a small business, and you don’t have a lot of time or resources to operate complicated measurement or tracking programmes. But fortunately there are some simple techniques for assessing your advertising return on investment.
These rules vary according to whether you measure advertising that has been focused on a particular product and designed to get a sale in the short term, or whether it was designed to work long term, influencing buyer attitudes towards your business and building a certain image.
You can test immediate response advertising through:
· Customer enquiries,
· Hidden offers,
· Split-runs in newspapers,
· Sales monitoring,
· Monitoring retail store traffic,
You can use coupons that correspond with product sales or customer enquiries and then get an estimate of ad response by tallying up coupon numbers. You can test ad response through hidden offers of the type, ‘Mention this advertisement and get 15 percent off’, or ‘Call this number for more information.’ If you record the number of enquiries you can get some idea of how successful the ad has been.
You can also get newspapers to run two versions of the same advertisement through a ‘split-run’ arrangement. Each version would carry a slightly different offer and you could record which one got the most responses. You could also keep records of sales of advertised and related items in the days or weeks after an advertisement. And you can monitor store traffic after ad campaigns or have people carry out surveys for you.
Measuring attitude advertising takes a little more stamina. This advertising works long term and you need to track the results of a number of advertising campaigns over a period of months. You need to do a bit of analysis so you can tease out the results of one campaign from another, and you need to keep accurate and long term sales records. This allows you to compare sales year-on-year, and judge the individual and cumulative effect of ad campaigns.
If this sounds a little complicated, don’t worry. GNS GROUP can help you design a marketing plan, set up Key Performance Indicators to measure results, and assist in data analysis. They can also show you ways to actually improve the conversion rate from initial enquiry to your ads, to a sale so as to further increase the return on your advertising investment.
Taking risks is a necessary step on the path to entrepreneurial success. But, as with all aspects of your company, even the risks you take need to be accompanied by a contingency plan. In a situation of difficulty, would your business have a strategy to rely on that would get it out of trouble? When you really think about the possible consequences of even short delays in production business insurance might well be worth the cost of the premiums.
Before selecting an insurance policy it is a good idea to make a thorough assessment of the needs and possible weaknesses of your business. Your particular situation will determine which type of business insurance is most suited to you. There is a wide variety of insurance packages available that can protect not only the obvious assets, such as your vehicles and offices, but the less obvious, though no less important things, such as loss of critical team member skills.
So what are the different options when it comes to protecting your business? First, there is insurance that covers business owners, partners, and team members. Here, a life insurance policy can be a wise move, especially if you are the sole proprietor of your company. This is because, as a general rule, a business owner is responsible for all the debts of his or her company. Life insurance offers good protection to the policyholder’s family.
Another option is disability insurance. Since your business’ profitability probably relies on you being able to take an active, continuing role in the company, a policy that insures you in the event of disability is an excellent idea. Many disability insurance packages provide cover for as long as one year, with the plan also covering expenditure made in relation to an injury or disability suffered at work.
Other possibilities include partnership insurance, which would provide financial support for your business partner, and the business itself, if you were no longer able to participate in the company’s operations. Critical illness insurance can provide cover in case of certain debilitating or life threatening illnesses.
Business insurance can even allay that ever present fear that you will lose a valuable team member for one reason or another. Policies that fall under the heading of Key Person Insurance can compensate for the departure of a team member who played an important role in your small business. Such cover can also apply to situations in which a valuable team member is temporarily unable to work due to injury or ill health, though it won’t cover loss as a result of resignation.
Of course, business insurance extends beyond protecting your team members. It is also an important way of making sure that your business assets and property are covered. Vehicle insurance, for example, means that the car you use for business purposes will be covered in the event of an accident that occurs in the course of business. Often, personal vehicle insurance does not cover mishaps that are business related, so additional protection is important in this regard.
To compensate for theft or damage to your property, business premises and content insurance is essential. Sure, you can opt to not take out a premises and contents policy, but the canny business owner knows that accidents do happen. A comprehensive property insurance structure will give you peace of mind, and that added degree of protection in the event of damage.
Before you decide on the right business insurance for you, make sure that you develop a strategy that takes account of the risks that your business is likely to face. Also, try to implement a risk management programme, which will reduce the likelihood of you needing to rely on insurance at all. A contingency plan can also be helpful in case loss does occur.
And once you have a good understanding of the areas of your business that most require protection, speak to an insurance professional. An expert will be able to make an appraisal of your business and tailor a solution to your needs. Shop around, too – insurance policies can vary widely and each small business has its own nuances. Only when you find the right business insurance, and receive expert advice to go with it, can you feel fully protected.
Customers are often surprised to discover that a business they've dealt with over a period of time actually offers products and services that they weren’t aware of, but would have purchased from it if they had just known.
When you introduce a new product or service, how do you get the word out to your customers and prospects?
Here’s a couple of simple way to spread the word. You can list new products and services on your fax cover sheets, your invoices, and your emails. Or you can design a postcard that you mail to your customers, or include with outgoing correspondence or packages.
Talk to us at GNS Group about the importance of branding as a key component of your overall marketing plan. We can also help you develop a tailored Menu Of Services or product list for your firm.
“The golden rule for every business person is this: Put yourself in your customer's place. ''
– Orison Swett Marden (1850-1924)
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Be sure to read each article with the mindset "How could this apply to our business?" Thinking of it that way will guarantee that you get value. Better yet, take notes as you read and commit to having the ideas implemented by the time the next edition arrives. Also, make copies for each team member. To really make sure something positive happens, work with your business development specialist to talk your team through the ideas and how to set a schedule for getting them implemented. We're here to help you get started.
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