Sales Advice for Entrepreneurs
Written by Chukwuma Asala for Gaebler Ventures
One of the biggest skills to develop in sales is giving effective presentations. Most people will buy a product because the individual left a big impression on them, and presentations are a good way to leave and make an impression on customers.
What are some aspects of a good presentation? What differentiates an average sales pitch to a contract-maker? In this article, we highlight some tips on giving effective presentations and essentially closing the deal.
A common myth often heard among inexperienced sales people is that "if a product is good enough it will sell itself."
This statement could not be any further from the truth because products don't sell products. People sell products.
No matter how good a product may be, there still needs to be a strategy to inform customers on the benefits, pros, cons and the ways in which the product differs from its competitors. As a business owner and entrepreneur, if you have the capital to do so a marketing strategy involving advertising is always effective. However if your business or company is still in its nascent stage, you might be forced to break out a board and easel, grab some magic markers and give presentations for potential customers.
It is a fact that public speaking and presentation skills are terrifying to most people but in sales this is a prerequisite. So if you're an entrepreneur and find that you break out in hives or feel like puking your lunch before a presentation, it is time to get over this fear once and for all. You will find that the more you give presentations the easier they become and the better you get at giving them.
Here are some quick tips on giving effective sales presentations.
Prepare and know your material
It is vital that you know what you will talk about, focus on, and communicate to your audience.
It doesn't matter if your audience comprises two people or twenty. If you don't sound like you know what you're saying, they will quickly lose interest and grow frustrated with your lack of seriousness about your own product. They will not take you seriously if you do not take yourself seriously.
Take some time to sharpen your axe before looking for a tree to cut. In other words, always be prepared with your material and sales pitch memorized and perfected. As the saying goes, "If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready". Opportunities are always available. Most people are just not prepared for them and miss them as they go by. Don't miss the chance to bag the big fish because your bait isn't enticing enough.
Speak with conviction and enthusiasm
Enthusiasm about your product will be contagious. Enthusiasm is the simplest way to communicate passion.
People are attracted to passionate people and will buy into you first before they buy into the product you are selling. If you are not the type to speak with boldness and excitement, just act like you are and eventually it will become part of your personality. Most people if given the option to listen to a boring lecture by a professor or listen to a dynamic speaker on any topic would obviously choose the latter even though the professor is more valuable in the knowledge he or she can impart to them. It doesn't so much what the message is as long as the messenger is convicted about his or her beliefs.
Interact with the audience
Be sure to continually through the presentation make eye contact with everyone in the room and ask for participation when possible. This will make the prospective clients feel like they are having a conversation and not just sitting in on a boring meeting. They do enough of that already during the week at work or at other engagements.
Figure out ways to relax them and let them know the presentation will be informative but also a lot of fun. Relate the product to their everyday lives and relate to some of the stuff and challenges they have to go through and experience because they don't have the product. This will create the value they are looking for and bring your presentation full circle.
Nothing irritates people more than a salesman who is not straightforward about what he is looking for. Do not sugar-coat the price and definitely be honest about the value of the product.
Exaggeration of any type is not necessary and will only give the potential customer the impression that the product is not as good as you make it out to be. Less is always more. Let them ask you questions so you can slowly help them understand why your product is the best on the market.
This is very important and probably the toughest thing to do for people who are not proficient in the skill of presenting. People will generally reflect the posture and attitude of the person they are communicating with. If you are relaxed, your audience will be relaxed. If you appear uncomfortable, rushed, hurried, or unsure of what you're doing or saying your audience will become very uncomfortable and will stop listening.
Take a deep breath before proceeding and remind yourself that they are not there to try and make you feel stupid; you'll do more of that yourself. They are just there to listen to what you have to say. They have never heard the presentation before and as such will not know if you mess up or not. Relax and have fun and it should be a breeze.
People can smell a phony. Do not pretend to be anything or anyone but yourself.
Your audience will be most uncomfortable if they can tell you are putting on an act. No one really wants to be impressed. They just want to know if they like you before they even consider your product. Put your best foot forward but make sure it is your own foot. If you're not funny, don't try to be funny. Be genuine and let them know your honest opinion about the product.
If you are the owner of the product or business, then you really should have nothing but enthusiasm to share, and this is always a winning formula in sales.
Chukwuma Asala is an international student from Nigeria who is studying to earn an MBA from the State University of New York in Albany. He has analyzed more than 20 industry case studies throughout his education thus far, and hopes to bring some of his business knowledge to Gaebler.com.
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