Sales Presentations For Dummies
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Logic is never enough in sales. If it were, closing ratios would be through the roof. You must also present your case in a way that triggers your prospect's emotions. The most persuasive cases are a combination of logic and emotion.

Although salespeople may give emotion some attention during the opening and closing of their presentations, they often forget about engaging their prospect on an emotional level during the middle of their presentation. This long, dry trek through the Sahara quickly loses your prospect's interest — and along with it any emotional connection you worked hard to establish in your opening.

Emotions are powerful aids in gaining your prospect's interest and increasing her ability to remember your message. Like attention, engagement isn't something you do once and then you're done. Especially in longer presentations, you need to continue to find opportunities to engage your prospect on an emotional level. Here are some ways to ensure your prospect stays engaged during the body of your presentation:

  • Tell a story. Stories aren't just for openings and closings. The body of your presentation offers many opportunities to tell a quick story or anecdote about your features and benefits. Often you're tasked with talking about or showing processes or features that don't rank as blockbuster material, yet they're necessary to prove value or reassure your prospect that you're capable of performing them. Giving a quick story about a feature — how it's used, why it's important, and so on — gives it some much needed color and context that can help your prospect connect to it more easily. You can also use a personal story or an anecdote to illustrate your point and make an idea stand out in a sea of facts.

  • Show a day in the life. When you introduce a feature or process, place your prospect — or someone within your prospect's organization — in the shoes of a product user and take her through the process of using your product or feature. For example, if you're presenting a medical device to a team of nurses and physicians, you can tell the story from a nurse's perspective. For example, "When a patient's chart indicates that he needs to be tested, you simply touch the display and enter your code."

  • Interpret statistics. Talking about facts and figures is sometimes necessary, but if the middle section of your presentation is simply one graph or pie chart after another, even the most analytical members of your audience may beg for mercy. Connecting with cold, hard facts is difficult for most people. Make numbers more than an intellectual exercise by interpreting those stats for your prospect. Why are those stats important to your prospect? What do those numbers mean?

  • Use metaphors. Metaphors or similes are especially useful when discussing features and processes that may be complex and difficult to grasp for your prospect. Comparing a lesser known item to something that is more familiar to your prospect makes it easier for her to understand and promotes memory.

    For example, "Think of this feature as a Swiss army knife. Instead of having to collect all of these tools from multiple sources, you have everything you need right here in one spot."

About This Article

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Julie Hansen, who is recognized as the "Sales Presentation Expert," redefines the typical sales presentation and helps salespeople apply best practices. She leverages the power that performers have been using for centuries to engage and move audiences.

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