The Three Biggest Mistakes in Sales Presentations
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The sales presentation is the
ultimate purpose of every sales process, of every sales call, and of
every sales system. The job of the sales person revolves
around the point in time when he offers the customer something to buy.
The sales presentation can take a
variety of forms. If you demonstrate a product, for example,
that is a sales presentation. If you use a hard-copy brochure
or a CD Rom presentation on your lap-top, that is a sales
presentation. If you deliver and detail a sample, that is a
sales presentation. If you respond to the customer’s request, and
provide a price, deliver a proposal, or submit a bid, each of these are
Without the sales presentation,
there can be no sale. It is, then, the foundational step in
the sales process. Everything that happens before is in
preparation for the presentation, and everything that happens afterward
is a result of the presentation.
You would think, then, that every
sales person is extremely well-trained in the science of making an
effective sales presentation.
Alas, that is not the
case. Left to learn on their own, many sales people make the
same mistakes over and over again. Here are the three most
commonly made sales presentation mistakes.
1. Lack of
In my very first sales position, I
had to endure six weeks of sales training. In those six
weeks, the entire training class had to memorize two four-page sales
presentations, and give them to the training class. We were
videoed and critiqued, over and over, for the six weeks. At
the end of that time we were thoroughly prepared to give that sales
Now that may have been a bit of an
overkill, but the point remains: Preparation is the first
step towards an effective sales presentation.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that
you memorize the presentation. But it does mean that you
organize it, that you secure and check your collateral (the sample,
brochures, price quotes, etc that form the basis of what you are
selling), and that you practice the presentation several times until
you are comfortable with it and confident in your ability to deliver
Unfortunately, preparation is a
discipline that seems to be fading from the routines of many sales
people. The world is full of sales people who either have
little respect for their customer’s time, no particular interest in
doing their jobs well, or an over-inflated view of their own ad-libbing
abilities. Any of these produces the sense that they don’t
need to prepare, that on the spur of the moment, they will come up with
the most persuasive things to say, in the most effective manner.
That’s too bad.
Preparation is the first step toward a better sales presentation, and
lack of preparation is endemic in the world of sales.
This occurs when a sales person
thinks his/her job is to relate everything he/she knows about the
product, service or proposal.
I was deeply into a training program
wherein we work with six sales people every day for a week.
Sales people role-played various situations, we videoed them, critiqued
them, and had them role play again, only better.
We were methodically working through
the sales process, and it was time to make the sales
presentation. The class was taught to organize the
presentation on the basis of what they learned about the customer in
the previous “find out what they want” role play.
One particular sales person never
got that message. He thought a sales presentation was like an
oral exam in school. It was his opportunity to spill
everything he knew about the product. What should have been a
20 minute presentation dragged on and on for 45 minutes. Even
though it was a role play in front of the class, even though it was
being video recorded, the person playing the customer began to fall
asleep. The hapless sales person continued on, purging
himself of every bit and morsel of related information. I had
to finally step in and put an end to the tedium.
While that may have been a dramatic
example of this mistake, it occurs in smaller ways thousands of times a
day. It occurs when sales people feel the need to tell the
customer everything they know about the product or service they are
presenting, whether the customer cares or is interested in that feature
The problem is greater than just
“too much information.” Sales people who do this disrespect the
customer, as they don’t take the customer’s interests and requirements
into account in the presentation.
As a result, customers are turned
off and tuned out, and sales people leave shaking their heads, unable
to fathom why the customer didn’t buy all the incredible features of
his sales presentation.
to include the customer in the presentation.
This occurs when the sales person
thinks that the presentation is all about his product, service or
proposal. The truth is that effective sales presentations are
always about two things: the offer, and how it can impact the customer.
When sales people simply talk about
their offer, and ignore the second half of the equation, they make one
of the most common mistakes.
Customers are far more interested in
how the thing being presented impacts them, than they are in the
details of the offer.
The sales person may be impressed
with all the neat details and features, but that reflects his/her
values, not necessarily those of the customer.
The best sales presentations
describe the salient features of the offer, and then relate them to how
they impact the customer. Remember “features and benefits”?
This third most common mistake
occurs when sales people emphasize the features, and forget the
If you are guilty of any of these
mistakes, or, as a manager, if your sales force is guilty of them,
their sales presentations are not as effective as they could
be. You are leaving money on the table. Fix these
mistakes, and watch your sales rise.
About the Author
Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written ten books, presented in 47 states and eight countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine. Check out our Sales Resource Center for 455 sales training programs for every sales person at every level.
You may contact Dave at The DaCo Corporation, PO Box 523, Comstock Park, MI 49321, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-05-23 13:20:32 in Marketing Articles