69. How can you prepare the customer for your presentation?
Use the first few words of your presentation to prepare the prospect for what they are about to see.
Lets look at your presentation as you unfold it step by step, from another angle, that part which should come first. A presentation is like any good show. The opening of the first act must be unusually good or your audience will walk out before you get underway. And the first few lines of any play are used by the writer to prepare the way for the action which follows. Therefore the first few words should fit the prospect with a pair of "spectacles" so that he will see what you later display.
You might say, for example, "now I am going to show you the new marketing program which will begin next month". Before I take it out of my brief case I want you to bear in mind that a good marketing plan is one which moves, which has brilliant color, which carries a headline to stop the customer." Then when you bring out your new program, you force him to see it through "spectacles" of your own making, enhancing its value to him.
Never dump a sample, or a prospectus, into his or her lap without first preparing his mind to see what it is. Even a monthly flier should not be shown without first holding it back for a moment until you explain what you are going to show. This move brings into play one of the strongest of his mental attributes ...Curiosity.
Your presentation should be looked upon as a good teaching job. Keep technical terms and discussions out. Don't describe how it is made, what it is made of, what its construction advantages are over a competitor's... unless you do so in terms of what these advantages will mean to the buyer when he uses it. You cannot transport the prospect to this better tomorrow until he or she understands what you are selling. Hence the next step in your presentation is a straight forward teaching job, simply one of downright instruction which must be finished before you can talk about the value of your merchandise.
In going through a prospect's ear to the seat of his imagination in order to help him "take off" to an ideal "tomorrow", you should use all of the known principles of effective speech. Keep the voice low, modulated, which conveys the impression of reserve power and gives casual emphasis to important points when you raise your voice.
The finest check you can use to avoid making this common mistake is to keep in mind constantly your objective, to build a picture of the prospect - seeing him or her using your product. No one is interested in the exact mixture of a product, or the percentage of this or that ingredient, unless they view it from the standpoint of how it will be a benefit, making more money and bringing in more customers.
Here is a good example: I got on the plane and just as I settled in, the woman next to me asked where I was from. I told her, trying not to encourage a conversation.
She not only told me where she was from, she volunteered that she had brain surgery – twice! I tried to look interested but I was tired. She kept going on and on and the next thing I knew, I fell asleep while she was talking.
It was a good reminder on how our customers feel most of the time. Sales people call on their customers and talk about their "brain surgery" while the customer has a hundred things on their mind and a hundred things to do.
What is the solution? How do we get our customers to listen?
Pinpoint relevancy: asking well thought out questions to find out what future pictures your customer has in their mind, and then positioning your product or service with surgical precision to help turn those pictures into reality.
Here's how David Vize, a real sales pro and friend of mine, describes it:
"One thing I learned over the years is the most powerful tool to use in a presentation is the customer's own words or their own understanding of what they wanted. At the point of giving a presentation I will have already gathered all the needed information. I start my presentation with,
“Early on you told me…”
“Now I want to make sure I understood you to say…”
“You told me you wanted to achieve…”
"I will use their name in place of the word, you. “Mr. Smith, early on you told me….”
"Using the person name will wake them up to you a little, and using their own words will tie them to your presentation."
"It’s easy to say no to you or to your offering but it’s hard for one to say ‘No’ to what their own words have said. "
Selling isn’t brain surgery, or is it? Selling is psychological brain surgery and pinpoint relevancy is when the sales person asks specific questions about what the prospect is interested in.
If the woman sitting next to me on the plane would have asked me a few questions and used my answers to set the stage for her "brain surgery," I would have felt more engaged and would not have fallen asleep.
However, "where are you from let me tell you about my double brain surgery" just didn't cut it.
The key lesson is simple - engage and set the stage before you tell your story.