The old adage is, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Wrong. In sales it’s both. Making a great sales presentation is a marriage of “what you say” and “how you say it.” Today, we’re going to concentrate on how you say it.
Your first responsibility as a great salesperson is to create an atmosphere where information can flow naturally. Much is said about sales techniques to coerce or persuade the prospect to buy. Not much is said about sales presentation skills and fundamental communication competence, combined with public speaking adeptness to blend a symphonic (sales) pitch.
How do you say it? If you deliver the greatest sales pitch in the world with no enthusiasm, sincerity, or belief, you’ll lose the sale.
Your skills must be used throughout the entire presentation, but they’re critical at the start, because they create an impression and sets a tone for the rest of the meeting.
I’ve compiled a list of essential skills and definitions for implementation.
Here are the strategic elements of how you say it…
Speak clearly. Sounds simple, but if the prospect doesn’t understand you, (accent, dialect, speak too fast, jump around) your communication won’t be understood. You also won’t get the sale.
Lean forward. Lean into the presentation to give the prospect the sense of importance and urgency.
Don’t fidget. Knuckle cracking, pocket jingling or other nervous habits detract from the presentation.
Don’t fumble. Fumbling around means you’re not prepared. It makes the prospect on edge and impatient. It also makes him unsure of you and, therefore, unsure about your company, your product and your service.
Don’t “um,” “ah,” or “er.” Vocalized pauses, hesitations, and repeated words are so irritating. They make the prospect focus on the flaws rather than the message. The biggest cure for this is practice.
Be animated. Wide eyed, as though you just had the most fantastic thing just happened to you.
Use lots of hand gestures. Not wild handwaving, but pointed, compelling gestures. Pantomime (act out) the words as you speak.
Use a wide range of vocal variety. Loud and soft voices. Not singing, but close. Go from high to low tones. Punch the critical words. Compel the prospect to listen. Say it with style.
Whisper some important stuff like it’s a secret. Get the prospect to lean into your words. Make him or her feel special to get this message.
Stand up when you present. It adds impact to your gestures and to the story (even if you’re on the phone).
Stand up (sit up) straight. Posture determines the direction of your words. If you’re stoop shouldered, your words are spoken to the floor, instead of to the prospect.
Look them in the eye. Your eye contact is a telltale sign of credibility to the prospect. Use direct eye contact. Looking the other person in the eye is a confidence builder.
Take presentation risks. Don’t present in a shell. Say new things. Invent new methods of presentation on the spot. It may mean that you get a bit uncomfortable, so what? That’s how you grow.
Stay within the range of the prospect’s personality. If the prospect is stuffy/conservative, don’t get too wild.
Say it with conviction. The prospect must buy you before they buy your product or service. Your self-belief will account for a large portion of the sale.
Select the right words. Sound intelligent. You don’t have to quote Shakespeare, but you do need to be a wordsmith. Use the prospect’s industry buzzwords. Build ten new words into your vocabulary every week. No swearing, no matter what. (Even if the prospect swears, you have a professional standard to maintain.)
Emphasize important words. When you come to a critical word or phrase, punch it and pause to let it sink in.
Use your entire body to sell. Gesture with your hands and arms. Stand, get up and walk around.
Nod yes. This small subliminal body language technique is among the most powerful in sales. It sets a mood of “Yes” throughout the presentation.
Smile. This isn’t brain surgery, it’s helping other people. It’s fun. Your smiling facial expression makes the prospect feel good inside.
Relax. High anxiety makes the prospect nervous too. The main reason salespeople are nervous is they are unprepared or they need the money they’re about to make when the sale is completed. Calm down. Never let them see (or feel) you sweat.
“Business owners, executives, managers and salespeople fail to realize how much of their success is dependent on the way they speak. Poor speaking habits can destroy credibility,” says Ty Boyd founder of the Excellence in Speaking Institute (Charlotte, NC). “Most people don’t realize how weak their presentation skills really are and how easy it is to reverse the process if they just focus on the fundamentals.”
Great advice from a master. How many of you will take the challenge to raise your skills? Need a push? Next week, I’ll share the best methods to put fire in your throat, without being perceived as a dragon.
Want to combine speaking with leadership? I’ll be glad to send you the 8.5 qualities of a (sales) leader. Go to www.gitomer.com, click Access GitBit, register if you’re a first time user, and enter the words “LEADER” in the search box.
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