If you’ve been selling for more than a week, you’ve already heard plenty of excuses from buyers: I need to think about it. I can’t afford it. You’re too expensive. The details may vary, but the reason buyers aren’t anteing up typically boils down to this: Frankly my dear, they don’t give a damn because your presentation is boring.
Clark Gable delivered this famous parting line after finally getting fed up with Scarlett O’Hara’s self-absorption. (You can only talk about yourself so much — I don’t care how good you look in a hoop skirt.) So what does that have to do with you? Surely you’re not a self-absorbed sales person…but could you be coming across as one to a prospective buyer?
Shifting your conversation from an I-focus to a You-focus in the following ways can put you squarely back in the game:
5 Reasons your presentation is boring:
Your opening sucks.
Opening a sales presentation with a credentials slide or a long-winded story about your drive in and your beef with Google Maps are just two examples of Scarlett O’Hara style mistakes. Wait…You don’t have an opening?! You just go in and “wing it” hoping to engage in some playful banter or be struck by instant genius? You must be one heck of a good improviser! Those first few seconds are critical; they set the tone for your entire presentation and are best not left to chance — unless your first name is Robin, and last, Williams. Settle on a buyer-focused opening and practice it until it is second nature to avoid a presentation that is boring from the open to close. For more tips on creating a memorable opening that drives sales, click here.
You’re a sales clone
Your buyer has a problem. You have a solution. So why aren’t they embracing you with open arms? Odds are you are not the only solution in town. For most sellers, the difference between their own and their competitor’s product or service is getting smaller, while the decision-making process is growing more complex. Buyers get overwhelmed and confused with the many moving parts and players. Make sure you are presenting your solution in a way that differentiates you quickly from your competitors – or be prepared to compete on a feature/function or price. And that is anybody’s game.
You don’t cut to the chase.
You know all that stuff you say before you get to your value proposition? Cut it in half. And then half again. Too much prologue is the wrong tactic with today’s busy decision-makers. Sure, give your value proposition some context, but get to the point quickly. Remember the old saying, “Buyers don’t care who you are until they know you care?” A more accurate statement for today would be: “Buyers don’t care who you are until they know what you can do for them.” So tell them. Fast.
Ouch. This one hurts. But I don’t mean you as a person. I mean you as a salesperson presenting your solution. It’s not your fault. You’ve been trained to follow a certain agenda, speak in a certain range and not color outside of the lines. So you and all the other sales birds are flying in the same flock. Well, it shouldn’t shock you to hear that you can’t do what everybody else does and expect to stand out. Unless you’re wearing really cool shoes…OK, not even then.
“Not true!” I hear you protest. “I know my product. I’ve researched my prospect and their industry. I’ve practiced my presentation.” Yes, that’s all very important. And it’s also nothing your competition isn’t doing as well. What about preparing the vehicle that is delivering your presentation: your voice and your physicality? According to research these factors significantly influence how your audience listens to you. If you want your buyer to listen with rapt attention and an open mind, invest a few minutes warming up before your presentation. Click here for resources for a quick and effective sales warm-up.
Now, imagine Rhett confronting a more you-focused Scarlett O’Hara. Instead of going on about herself, suppose she said:
“Oh Rhett, I notice you’ve been feeling a bit blue but I’ve got some ideas on how we can get through this 50% quicker and be ten times stronger for the experience.”
Perhaps like your buyer, he would have given a damn.