Nothing is worse than a long, drawn-out meeting that feels like a trip to the dentist. The last place you want to find yourself is leading a snooze fest or a presentation that has people checking their watches every other minute.
To be an effective salesperson, it’s important to master your presentation skills and learn to engage your audience effectively with highly targeted information that gets results in the shortest period of time.
1. Be prepared. Always be ready for the people you’re meeting. Never make anyone wait for you.
2. Sell the jockey before the horse. Every sale begins with your first impression. Demeanor matters. Be likeable, down-to-earth, and confident. Attract people with your enthusiasm, energy, and passion.
3. Say it in 30 seconds or less. Get to the point. Your prospects and potential partners have other things to do, so get them to say yes as quickly as possible. The more you say, the more you’re giving people to consider. Make it easy for them: Say what needs to be said, and not a single word more.
4. Fit the pitch to the person. Create the right presentation, not “your” presentation. Do research before any pitch to customize applicable portions and ensure that you have all of the necessary and correct information as it pertains to the person sitting across the table—or on the other side of the Internet.
5. Show, don’t tell. Whenever possible, keep your presentations interactive. Demonstrate your product or service firsthand to show off your results rather than just talk about them.
6. Make it visual. Don’t kill people with excessive text. Keep slides or videos simple and clean. Focus on creating visually appealing presentations using photos, videos, audio, and graphics with minimal body text.
7. The best presentations are conversations. Talk with prospects; never lecture them, put forth mandates, or tout ultimatums. Engage and interact with the people in the room. Always encourage discussion and questions as you go.
8. Speak plainly. You’re speaking to people, not robots. Don’t use jargon or clichés to make your points. Eliminate terms such as these from your vocabulary: innovative or innovate, out of the box, Web 2.0, next generation, original, and world’s greatest. Use the tools on gobbledygook.grader.com to keep your pitches in check and jargon-free.
9. Back up or shut up. You are asking someone else to invest his or her time and money into your product or service. Show them that you deserve it by supporting your expertise with relevant experience and real results. Avoid hypothetical arguments or unsubstantiated claims. If you can’t do or promise something, then find another way to sell your services until you can.
10. Know what you are talking about. Don’t say things to try to look smart or claim anything that sounds too good to be true to close a sale. Less is not only more—it also keeps you out of trouble. Remember, you’re accountable for every word that comes from your company. The smartest thing to do when you don’t know something is to admit that you don’t know—then figure it out within 24 hours and get back to the individual with an answer.
This article was excerpted with the permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., www.wiley.com, from NEVER GET A REAL JOB: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business, and Not Go Broke by Scott Gerber © 2011 by Scott Gerber.