It happens to the best of us. You think you’re prepared to give your presentation to your prospect. Until now, you’ve been dealing with one or two contacts who have been friendly to your suggestions and ideas. You might have even confirmed who will be attending your presentation. Despite all that groundwork, you suddenly find yourself standing in front of a panel of 10 people, including the CEO who has a reputation for eviscerating salespeople. You feel completely out of your depth. If you’re going to perform well in this situation, follow the advice of coaching experts like Angie Morgan.
In a recent Fast Company article, Stephanie Vozza summarizes the recommendations of Angie Morgan who writes about and coaches leadership skills. You can easily apply these recommendations to difficult sales situations, because they are all about working on your confidence. Encountering the unexpected leaves many of us feeling vulnerable or unable to concentrate. Once you get rattled, it’s hard to get back on track and save the sale.
The single most important tactic you can employ is to give yourself a pep talk. If possible, step away from the situation or out of the room for a moment to collect your thoughts. Mentally review the things you know you’re good at when giving presentations. Maybe you have the ability to pace your speech so people can easily follow along. Maybe you’re good at explaining complicated product features. Remember these strengths, and tell yourself you can succeed by drawing on them.
Research conducted at the University of Toronto indicates this strategy truly works. The Toronto study assigned participants specific tasks before they went into a negotiation. The people who practiced positive thinking and who wrote about “their most important negotiating skill” had a more successful outcome when they entered the negotiation.
Whether it’s a tough negotiation or a nightmare presentation scenario, don’t let a case of nerves and insecurity take you off track. Remember your proven strengths, tell yourself you can do this and then go into the room and kill it.