A Rare Paragraph or Two About Making Successful Sales Presentations

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Understanding the Sales Force by Dave Kurlan

Geoffrey James contributed a terrific piece to Inc.com in May. I’ve criticized some of Geoffrey’s articles in the past but this one, 3 Reasons Why Most Presentations Fail, is really good.

Basically, Geoffrey says that salespeople wrongly:

  1. Provide too many details about too many things
  2. Talk about their history and clients instead of their prospects’ issues
  3. Fail to differentiate themselves

I checked and of the 1,000 plus articles I have written for Understanding the Sales Force, exactly two have been about presentations and presenting. Why? I want to help companies and their salespeople move from presenting, which anyone can do, to selling, which only some people can do well.

When everyone presents, salespeople and companies are perceived as commodities and the sale is driven by price. When salespeople take a customer-focused, consultative approach and actually become the value added, salespeople and companies are able to effectively differentiate, solve problems, and get paid accordingly.

There is a time and a place for a presentation and/or a demo and it should be much later in the sales process than when most companies and salespeople choose to do it. When that time does come, we can all do a much better job of articulating the solution to our prospects in a more compelling way. However, if we skip the selling part (listening and asking good, tough timely questions), there simply won’t be any leverage when it is time to present and our attempts to convert those presentations to sales will result in very poor success rates.

So yes, present more effectively but do it at the right time, after you have reached the required milestones that justify a presentation to a qualified opportunity.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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