One of the challenges I have is that I am often giving a presentation as an evangelist for my company Tigerpaw Software. The simple fact is, that no one wants to listen to a vendor give a sales pitch in a presentation – including and especially me!What I’ve learned to do is provide value to the audience in the form of education – while highlighting my product in the process. If you take the role of teacher rather than “sales guy”, people pay attention! When you see heads vigorously bobbing up and down and people quickly reaching for their notepads, your presentation is resonating with the group and you are doing something right! When you get off the stage and people earnestly thank you for your presentation, you nailed it!
The ultimate goal of my presentation at James Kernan’s event was to get people interested in Tigerpaw. To do that, I created a 60 minute presentation that taught 9 business techniques that successful companies have used to grow during the recession. These techniques are wrapped around our Four Pillars of Success model (three techniques for each pillar). For each technique, I presented a problem that audience should be addressing in their own business, explained techniques to solve the problem, and then I showed just a bit of our product to highlight an example of solving the problem using a business automation tool. The audience became aware of important issues that they needed to be addressing, they discovered techniques to solve their problems, and they learned that I have a great tool to help them out and make their life easier. I even mentioned my competitors a few times by name in my presentation, saying things like “you might already be using a tool such as x or y, and if so make sure you are using this feature if they have it”. This can be tough to do, but it creates a level of sincerity and shows that you really are there to educate and help the audience. If you do this once or twice, it becomes perfectly acceptable to say things like “Now here’s something that’s unique to my what we do…” – without sounding like a sales guy! :)
This may not sound like a sales presentation, but it was! When I was done with my presentation, people were thanking me for my time, requesting my slide deck, and asking me questions on the 9 points. These conversations further established me as an approachable expert, and paved the way for further dialog and a deeper relationship.
Some ideas to help you get started on a killer sales presentation that isn’t a sales pitch:
- Start by identifying the value your product or service provides. If you’ve ever taken Sales 101, you know it’s all about the value, not the feature list.
- Once you’ve identified the value, create a list of 6 to 9 problems that are solved or addressed by the value provided by your product or service. Your presentation will need to convince the audience that these items that are important to them.
- For each problem, identify things that audience members should be considering when addressing it. The trick here is this can’t just be what your product or service does, but must include “higher level” items for the audience to consider. Remember, you need to be wearing a teacher’s hat; show the audience that you are an expert and that you are there to share your wisdom with them.
- For each point, demonstrate solving the problem using your product or service; you need to be showing your product without pitching your product. Be open to criticism, and pay attention to the body language of the audience when giving your presentation – it can reveal whether or not they are engaged or simply present. This takes a bit of finesse, and you will get better at it over time.
While this technique doesn’t create the “ultimate close”, and may not work well for selling laundry detergent or super-absorbent towels, it works very well in relationship-based selling. It will also help ensure that you get invited to give a presentation at other events! :)
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