Today's post is by Amy Appleyard, vice president of sales for the Communications and Collaboration business unit at LogMeIn, Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based connectivity and one of the world's largest SaaS companies.
If you search “how to be a better presenter,” you’ll find pages and pages filled with articles, books, and recommendations on the topic. Presenting is a difficult skill to master as it not only involves public speaking (a common fear), but also, on some level, requires the presenter to sell.
When a presenter just talks through the benefits of what it being sold, however, the end result is a dry sales presentation that leads to a lack of engagement with the audience.
Why? No connection can be made when the conversation focuses squarely on the attributes of a product. Only by making a strong connection can the product be sold.
To get started, here are a few ways to create the often-elusive connection that is so essential for every successful sales presentation:
- Turn on your video. People are constantly being sold to and bombarded with messages, resulting in shorter attention spans. According to The American Marketing Association, “Studies show that the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day.” In-person meetings have long been a chance to cut through the noise and create more personal (and less transactional) experiences; however, time and cost constraints require most meetings to be conducted remotely. The good news? Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to build the level of rapport with prospects that was once possible only with in-person meetings. Although there will always be a place for in-person meetings, don’t be afraid to encourage your prospects to turn on their video cameras and utilize technology to create that “face-to-face” experience.
- Stop talking about yourself. I don’t mean you should create a conversation that is void of any personal anecdotes. Showing a more personal side – whether by incorporating humor or recounting a personal experience – is important, but make sure you also take the time to understand what need the prospect is looking to fill so you can tailor your presentation accordingly. I also often coach people not only to tell personal stories, but to ask about the prospects’ business and challenges they are facing. It’s a great way to get to know a customer and understand if what you are selling will help them solve issues. A successful presentation is about telling a story where your prospect is front and center so you ultimately make them look like a hero to their boss. Who doesn’t like that?
- It’s all about the follow-through. Like in golf and baseball, what you do after you hit the ball is just as important as what you do before. If you don’t follow through with your swing, the ball will always fall short. Taking a page out of the athlete’s playbook, what you do after your presentation is often just as important as the preparation and the actual presentation itself. This means having a recap, recording, and/or transcription of the conversation in order to follow through on promised action items and reference specific topics discussed.
At the end of the day, all successful presentations start with a connection between the presenter and the audience. Sparking those connections through technology and remembering what makes for an engaging presentation is key. That connection (or lack thereof) between you and your audience is often the difference between losing and closing a deal.