10 Biggest Mistakes Sales People Make in Their Presentations
Listen to the Audio File
1. Take a Breath: Many times when we are demonstrating a product or a solution, we get excited and we begin talking in earnest. Slow down, and watch and listen to your audience. Imagine a piece of music with all of the notes jammed together without any rest, without a pause. Instead of battering your audience with an onslaught of sound, ask questions that will draw them out and then respond to their questions. Give your audience time to think and digest what you are telling them. Their questions can actually change the entire course of your presentation.
2. Uhm’s, Ahh’s and The agape mouth syndrome: Try this, video tape your presentation. Listen for all of the lovely Uhm’s and Ahh’s as you speak. This is a nervous/self-conscious habit. We feel that if we have an audience, we cannot look like we are pausing to think. Trust me, a moment or two of silence is not as long as you think it is. A pause does not mean that you don’t have a complete understanding of the topic; it merely means you are gathering your thoughts instead of rambling. Also, do not hold your mouth agape, practice a light smile, pull your lips together and breathe through your nose.
3. What are your hands doing? Once again, record yourself or have your friends watch you. I had a habit of patting the side of my leg when I was nervous. A friend of mine made a strange clicking sound with his tongue before answering questions. Later we found out he had swallowed a watch...I believe it was a Timex. Practice a few small hand movements that can be used in your demonstration. Too much hand movement can become an annoying distraction. However, properly integrated hand gestures and body language can actually be extremely powerful tools when used properly.
4. Congruency: You must connect with your audience. If your voice, your body language, your physiology are out-of-sync, your audience will not believe a word you are telling them. You need to believe in your product, you need to believe what you are saying will be truly beneficial to them. Align with your customers or audience; speak from their points of view rather than yours. This is also known as pacing and leading. If you must convey a great deal of information break it into chunks. After each chunk of information, wait a few moments, allowing your audience time to digest the information. A great way to describe something complex is to relate it to something they already know, or give them visual cues or comparisons. Use familiar terms when explaining something new.
5. Clarity: Have a clear road map of your objectives and how you plan on getting there. Your audience will need to understand your directions. Make sure you explain things in a clear concise manner that is easy to follow.
6. Yeah Right, OK, Am I Right? I’m not sure where or when these precious jewels were unearthed, but unfortunately they have become a part of everyday spoken language…Am I Right? When you speak to an audience, it is great to emphasize certain words, but emphasizing superfluous endings such as Am I Right?, or OK? gives you a grade of “C” in public speaking. Make the ending words of your sentences powerful words that do not require a “Am I Right?” appended to them.
7. Strong start and finish: Begin your speech with a great story, usually a story about an experience your audience can relate to. This not only builds congruency, but also works on the strong emotional law of “familiarity”. Close with a great moral building story, close with something that will add meaning and value to their lives.
8. Customer Success Stories: Include one or two success stories about your product or service. Pick a couple of clients that greatly benefited from using your product or service. Weave the benefits into a short story. Remember to focus on the benefits your clients received. Let them know that these benefits still continue to this day.
9. In a Rut: Many sales people have sold their product or service for so long, that the get into a verbal rut. Make sure that you understand your audience. Tailor your presentation so that it addresses their core wants and needs. Try to align with their values and beliefs when selling your product or service. Not everyone buys a car for the same reasons. If you are talking to a large group about your product or service, try to blend multiple values. If you are marketing a car, what are some of the values that are important to the consumer? A value is separate than a benefit. A value is a belief. A value is a feeling or a psychological/physiological destination. Without going into a lot of detail, here is an example:
“I want an expensive car”
“Because they are built better and perform better”
There are numerous cars on the market much less expensive, and that have actually performed much better according to research groups.
“Yes but this car demands respect, people look at this car and look at me and know I’ve done something right to be able afford this car.”
Oh, so it’s not so much that the car is built better or that it may perform better than other cars… so it’s not really just the benefits is it?
“No, this car actually makes me a part of a group, it is unspoken really”
Oh, so you value acceptance, and belonging, but most of all you desire connection.
“Yes, when it comes down to it, yes”.
The previous dialogue was an extremely simple example…but it is truly how our mind works when making a buying decision.
10. You are not a machine: Why do actors make millions of dollars? Actors make millions of dollars because they have the ability to change our emotional state. We can go to a theater and disappear. Within seconds we can run an emotional gamut of feelings. We can be scared, then sad, and then happy again, just by music tonality and by the actor on the screen. Truly, how powerful can this be? Many individuals present their product or service via power-point or even a great flash presentation. The presentation may be slick, but what your audience wants is connection. After a while the paint wears off, and exposes the metal below. Make sure that the metal below is flesh and blood, and that you will do what is necessary to make an emotional connection with your audience.
This article was written by Stephen K Knight. You may use this article on your website, or email copies to friends as long as the article remains in its completed form and you acknowledge the author on your page.
This article is copyright © 2006 FMWebschool, Inc.