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sales presentations

How To Create a Better Relationship With Your Sales Manager

Is your company expecting more from you lately? Maybe they’ve raised your quota? Or expect you to have more activities or appointments in your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager)? Do you feel like the micromanaging is out of control?

Create a Better Relationship With Your Sales Manager

Something that I have found helpful, as more and more sales managers manage more and more through CRM,  is to make sure you are communicating with your sales manager other than through your CRM.  Even if you don’t always feel like they’re actually listening to you. 

Is there a prospect you are having a difficult time closing? Is there an important sales conversation you have coming up this week? Why not create a plan in advance and bounce it off your sales manager? 

This helps them to feel involved, allows them to set guidelines around discounts or strategy before you meet with the prospect, and may give you some valuable insights into an idea you hadn’t thought about before.

Creating an open-door relationship with your sales manager goes a long way in these days of micromanaging through CRM.

Another newer tool I see with my CRM is automated tasks being completed for me. Because of the better communication between the sales programs I use, I am finding that presentations and sales are logged in for me in my CRM. 

In the most recent Salesforce State of Sales report, a trend I see is that top sales performers are more likely to look at this “interference” for more sales data as having a positive impact on their sales. 

When you change your mindset to understand that these upgrades to sales automation and CRM as a good thing to help you sell more, and you use them to your advantage to help increase your sales, your sales will increase.

Do you feel like your company is implementing more changes faster? 

It’s not your imagination! 71% of sales leaders say they implement changes faster than they did in 2019. It can be a bit overwhelming to keep up with, right? 

I’ve been taking more notes during our weekly meetings, and dating them. I take notes right on my cell phone, and I find I go back and review them more often.

For one, because there’s so much new info every week and

Two, because it changes all the time.

I also see these changes happening right in the sales tools I’m using. My point is that we as salespeople have to learn to be more adaptable and more able to decide what’s important .

Thirdly, does your sales manager review your results with you monthly?

What if you reviewed your results yourself before you had that meeting? If you’re not getting that review every month, you can learn to understand your results yourself and how to use them to improve your own sales.

And, instead of having a one-sided “this is what you did” meeting, you can turn that into a conversation. 

For example, over the past few months, my “activities” have doubled, my appointments have increased 30%, but my closing ratio has not increased in relationship to my efforts. But my average sale amount has increased 10%, ultimately increasing my monthly sales by about 10%

While a sales manager might be confused by this info at first, because I keep an open line of communication, including my current sales cadence and sales process, it all makes sense. 

It takes more touches to close a sale. 

The days of 7 sales touches before you close a sale are gone. I’ve adapted by using more email communication, text, and increasing my follow-up between touch time from 3 to 7 days to 1 to 3 days, resulting in more “meetings” with the same prospect. This helps to build more trust and results in larger sales.

It allows me to have more flexibility in creating my prospect’s experience, while not trying to explain to my manager why my closing ratio has decreased. It hasn’t, I just spend more time nurturing each prospect to make sure I am providing them with the best possible solution tailored to their needs!

In Phase Two of the 5-figure Paycheck Sales Mentorship, there is a module designed to help you create your perfect sales cadence, including a suggested timeline and roadmap to help you move your sales through the pipeline faster. 

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3 Tips for How to Improve Your Virtual Sales Presentations

How to Improve Your Virtual Sales Presentations

There are lots of similarities between business-to-consumer sales and online sales, as I found out last year when suddenly Zoom calls were all the rage and my two worlds collided.

I’d already been using Zoom, Calendly appointment scheduling and email marketing strategies for my Made Simple Business Learning sales coaching, so it was an easy transition, but some of us are still struggling and perfecting our virtual and online sales calls.

I thought since we are still doing virtual sales presentations a year later, and will probably continue them moving forward even after the covid-19 epidemic is over, it would be a good time to revisit them again, and share with you my observations and give you my favorite hacks to improve your virtual sales calls.

Let me just say this, way back in August of 2020, before covid-19, when I had the Sales Made Simple Facebook group, I was encouraging people to just “going live” because even back then I knew this was going to be so important in sales.

I had the advantage, with my Facebook group, Instagram videos, and a few virtual events, of feeling comfortable with the “live” part of being on video.

Going live and virtual sales calls have so many similarities, and your success in either is based on preparation and practice.

Let’s talk about preparing for your virtual sales presentations.

Know what you want to say or discuss. Will you need to do a screen share? Or maybe even turn your presentation over to someone else? Can you do that comfortably and seamlessly – barring any gremlin tech glitches like the internet going out?

1. Start your virtual sales meeting off right.

Get into the virtual room 10 minutes before your prospect. Or, at the very minimum, have something on your screen that shows your prospect that they are in the right place.

 And please make sure you are in the right room you invited them to.

These tips sound so basic. But I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve been invited to where I got on their video on time, and no one was in the room – for another 5 minutes. I had no idea if I was in the right room.

 Was it me? No, it was them.

 Make things as easy as possible for your prospects, because things are tough enough right now, aren’t they?

You may even want to text or email the link to your prospect again, 5 or 10 minutes before the meeting so they don’t have to search for it. The easier you can make this process for them, the more likely you are to close the sale.

On the virtual sales meetings that I’ve attended as a prospect where the host showed up late, the salesperson was lucky I patiently stayed on, even though I wasn’t even sure if I was in the right place.

2. Familiarize yourself with the tech.

If you need to share your screen, make sure you have each tab you need to share already opened up on your computer before you start the meeting. You are the professional, so be professional.

I know things happen that are out of our control – do the things you can control. If you aren’t sure if you understand screen share, ask a manager or friend to do it with you, before your meeting. Pretend they are the prospect, and quickly run through your presentation process, share the screen when you need to, until you feel comfortable with it.

You really don’t want to add any extra stress for yourself to deal with during your sales presentation. But if something doesn’t work quite right, during your presentation, that’s okay. Just keep moving forward as best as you can. At least your prospect knows they’re in the right room.

Personally, though, I can tell the difference between a tech glitch and someone that didn’t prepare.

On a quick side note – my daughter, who is not in sales, had to quickly move to online teaching back last year. She hated it at first, but now she’s really good at it and loves it. If you don’t think virtual video selling works for you, maybe it’s just because you’re not comfortable with it, like my daughter at first. I helped her practice and prepare, even though we live 2 hours away from each other. She was forced, by circumstance, to go virtual if she wanted to keep working.

Are you limiting your sales opportunities, or losing sales opportunities because you’re not as comfortable as you need to be on a virtual sales presentation? Many people don’t like something because they aren’t good at it. If this is you, step outside of your comfort zone and figure it out, because it really is limiting your sales opportunities.

3. Your background and lighting.

If you want to see how you look to your prospects, hop on a zoom call meeting with yourself, and hit record. 

Then watch the recording. Is your background clean and uncluttered? It doesn’t have to be picture perfect. But if you find you are doing a lot of virtual video calls, find the best spot to set up, and do it there all the time. It may be a corner of your office or your home.

If you are using a laptop or an iPad, you have the benefit of being able to move. Whereas if you are on a desktop, just clean up the area behind you. Some programs allow you to get around this by creating a background screen, and some companies may even provide a background screen.

I’m not talking about a physical screen, although if you’re really fancy you can buy a green screen and create any background you want. I’m talking about a setting on the program you’re using for your virtual call. You don’t know unless you ask. And the more professional, knowledgeable, and confident you are in presenting virtually, the more confidence your prospects will find in you and your presentation.

I also want to talk about lighting. There are lights you can invest in, like a ring light, for about $85. But if you don’t want the bulkiness, or the expense, you can get a smaller one for about $35 that is easy to move around, or even to attach to your phone. Remember to practice your virtual call and recording. The point is, there are things you can easily do to give your prospects confidence that they are working with a professional.

I would also recommend being completely dressed, top and bottom. No pj bottoms or sweatpants, in case you need to leave your screen and go get something. It happens. While your prospect may get a chuckle, they will also know you’re only half in. You need to be all in to get the best results.

So there you have it, three simple hacks to help you with your virtual sales calls. Sometimes the little things make the biggest difference.

Here’s a bonus tip for when you are able to meet with the prospect face-to- face. Because one question you are all telling me lately is, “it’s so hard to understand what they are really thinking behind a mask”.

Is mask-wearing throwing you off your sales game?

Back in episode 19 of the Sales Made Simple podcast, I talked about body language and nonverbal communication skills. You can read my blog article here – How to use non-verbal communication skills to increase your sales. 

I share eight different types of nonverbal communication skills that I use everyday to better understand my prospects – and only one in eight was about facial expressions!

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How to Use Non Verbal Communication Skills to Increase Your Sales

Body Language or Non Verbal Communication Skills in Sales

Let’s focus on the top nonverbal communication skills and the eight types of body language that you can use in sales to see what your clients or potential clients are saying to you.

Obviously this works best with this face-to-face meeting, but it also works with a virtual video meeting, like Zoom and FaceTime. As long as you can see them.

Non Verbal Communication Skill Number One — Eye Contact. 

When you are reviewing a physical written proposal with someone, and you have two or three suggestions, place them side-by-side on a table in front of your prospect and watch your customer’s eyes. They will linger longer on what they like. 

Their eyes may dilate when they look at the one that really excites them, if you can get that close to them. People’s eyes will go back to what they like the most. Remember to give them time. Present and be quiet. 

Let them think and speak first.

Also, when a customer is lying to you, and yes, they lie, their eyes will become small and their pupils will get tiny.

 Another way to tell if someone is lying is if they are a perpetual “yawner”. Someone that just can’t stop yawning. I don’t get them very much, but when I do I know they are lying. It’s a long story, but it’s true. So beware of The Chronic Yawner.

Non Verbal Communication Skill Number Two — Facial Expressions

These are the most obvious and the easiest to read. Are they smiling, or scowling, or sleeping?

Some people are easy to read because they wear their heart on their sleeve and can’t help but give a facial expression reaction.  Either good or bad.  

Other people have more of a poker face, and no matter what you say, it’s hard to get a reaction.

Non Verbal Communication Skill Number Three — Head Movements.

When someone is in agreement with you, they will nod their head and smile when you do. This is also called Mirroring.

Try it. Nod your head “yes” when you want your client to agree with you and watch what happens. See if they mirror your behavior, including head movements, facial expressions and body posture. That’s a good thing!

Non Verbal Communication Skill Number Four — Hand and Arm Gestures. 

Are their arms open or crossed? Welcoming or defensive? Are both hands under the table like they are hiding something from you or are both hands resting gently on the table and open to you and what you’re saying?

Non Verbal Communication Skill Number Five — Body or Torso Position.

Are they leaning into you and engaged, or are they turning one of their shoulders away from you? Hence the term the cold shoulder. 

If you want to change the vibe in the room, get them to go with you to look at something. Just stand up and say “Come with me”. Don’t ask, just do. And most people will follow you! 

It gives them a chance to stretch their legs, become more interactive with you, and change a boring sales presentation into something more interesting to get their attention back on you.

I also find that walking and talking breaks down barriers and gets people taking again.

Non Verbal Communication Skill Number Six — Leg and Foot Position.

Are their legs stretched out with your feet pointed towards you, or are they crossed and away from you?

When there legs are comfortable or relaxed and pointed towards you, they are open to what you are saying.

Crossed and away from you, they are closing you out.

And legs crossed, with them learning back can mean they are just listening because they are polite, but they obviously think they know more than you do and are not necessarily impressed with what you are saying.

Non Verbal Communication Skill Number Seven (my favorite) – The Bouncing Knee.

Have you ever had one of these people? Where you just want to grab their knee and say “Stop !” 

This can have two meanings. They are engaged and excited and can’t wait to work with you, or they can’t wait to get away from you. The best and worst you can have in one body language.

Which leads me to our last Non Verbal Communication Type:

Non Verbal Communication Skill Number 8 — Mixed Signals.

Like the bouncing knee. What does it all mean?

Ultimately, even with being armed with this helpful Understanding Body Language skill, it’s still up to you to decipher what they mean — good, bad, or indifferent. 

With your verbal communication skills combined with the nonverbal communication skills or body language, you are better equipped to really understand what your customer is saying. 

● Do their words match their body language? 

● What are they saying and what are they doing?

Are they engaged and conversational, or are you doing all the talking? 

Remember, actions speak louder than words. People can usually think and control their words better, whereas body language is usually more of an abscess of a subconscious level, and will actually show you what’s going on inside their head.

Now for Part Two — what Non Verbal cues are you sending? 

Are you tired and frustrated, or energetic and engaging? No one wants to meet with a grumpy salesperson.

Here are some Non Verbal Communication Skill Tools You Can Use to Create the Sales Environment You Want:

✔︎ Use your mood to look serious, happy, somber, or overwhelmed.

✔︎ I use my reading glasses as a tool. When I want to show I’m relaxed and listening, I take them off and put them on the table. When I want to make a point, I put them on and look them right in the eye. 

Sometimes I need to use the school teacher approach and look at them over the top of my glasses, as in “Do you really think that what you just told me is a good idea?” 

Even if you don’t wear reading glasses, you may want to invest in an inexpensive pair of glasses.  I find that wearing glasses help to create a feeling of authority.

Actions, like pictures, can be worth a thousand words.

✔︎ Plan your nonverbal communication sales skills just like you planned your presentation. They can double the effect of a great presentation and make it foolproof.

 ✔︎ Use simple authority and control techniques, like raising your seat up just an inch or two in above their level.

✔︎ Make eye contact with your potential clients, even if they look away from you. When they start to engage with and trust you, they will return your eye contact.

That’s body language 101. These examples of Non Verbal Communication Skills are the ones that I use in sales every day. My goal is to get you to start to think about this and how you can use it to help improve your sales this week. 

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Your Sales Communication Style (with free quiz!)

Discovering Your Sales Communication Style

This week I want you to think a little differently and twist the focus of this article from your client to you, at least for a minute.

Way back in episode 22 of the Sales Made Simple Podcast, I talked about selling to different personality types.  Today, I’d you to think about what your sales personality type is. More specifically your sales communication style, and how it relates to how you sell.

Be sure to take the quiz to learn your own Sales Communication Style!

Are you a Director, a Socializer, a Thinker or a Relator, or a combination of some or all of the sales communication styles?

If you learn what your personal sales communication style is, you can learn how to use it to relate better to your prospects. Even if your prospect has a different communication style than you do, so that you can adjust your approach and be more relatable.

You may find yourself using different communication styles for different phases in your selling process.  

For example, when I am prospecting, or in the “discovery stage”, I definitely become a Socializer, Most people love Socializers. They are fun to be around, always make others laugh, and they thrive on being the center of attention. Charismatic and energetic, they always want to be where the action is. They are eternal optimists who are good at selling others on their vision and goals.

As a Socializer, take time to build a relationship and socialize with a new prospect. Create a fun, lively atmosphere with new and diverse elements. Help them make a list of priorities, but try to skip the unimportant details and boring material until later. After a meeting, be clear about who is going to do what and by when. Put everything down in writing. Make them look good in front of others. Motivate them with praise.

Or I take on the role of a Relator. Relators are warm, nurturing individuals who value interpersonal relationships above all other things. They are very loyal, devoted, and excellent team players. Peacemakers by nature, they often avoid conflicts and confrontations. They are also ideal team players since they are always willing to build networks and share responsibilities. 

You can see how these two communication styles would work for getting to know someone quickly.  As a Socializer, I try to be upbeat, energetic and charismatic – someone that my prospects might want to meet and learn more about me and what I can do for them.

As a Relator, I try to find a common ground and show interest in a prospect as a person – really get to know them.  Who they are, what makes them tick.  While being inviting and non-judgemental.

Once I get to know them a little, and they feel comfortable with me, I may adopt the sales communication style of a Thinker. This communication style is very analytical and geared toward problem-solving. Methodical and detail-oriented, I am prepared to help guide them towards their goal and purchasing decision. I am ready to overcome any objections they might have. 

And when we get to the part about closing a sale, I move to the sales style of a Director.  This communication style is driven by two things: the need to get things done and the need to control. They are most comfortable in settings where they manage others and take control of situations. Fast-paced and goal-oriented, Directors are focused on bottom-line results and achieving success. Because a Director can come across as impatient and insensitive, you want to make sure you are not overwhelming your prospect and that they feel in control of the final decision-making process.

Once the sale is closed and the deal is made, I revert back to that Socializer again, fun and friendly.

Learning and understanding your prospect’s communication style, in a “meet and greet” stage, will help you to know how to relate to them as the conversation continues.

By knowing your own sales communication style, you will be able to identify the prospects that may be uncomfortable and turned off by you.  Your prospects send you signals about how they prefer to communicate.  Do you hear them? It’s just a matter of learning to listen. 

Prospects will tell you, with their words and their actions, (check out my podcast episode on Body Language), what they are interested in learning from you. Including what they want to buy from you. They will tell you if they are interested in the value, the cost, or in being the first or the best.  

Our job a salespeople is to learn to pick up on the signals they’re sending and to respond in a way that makes a personal connection easy with that person.

I thought it would be fun to give you something so that you can find your own communication style.  So I’ve designed a quiz for you!  Click on the picture and learn your communication style today!

It is important to understand your prospects and how they think. But when you learn about yourself and your strengths, you can use your unique self to provide that personal experience to your clients.

Some people think that their sales communication style is determined by our individual personalities.

However, there is a lot more to it – like using what has worked for us in the past and other life experiences.

The words we choose, how loudly we speak, and the way we use sales strategies to guide prospects in making a sales decision.  When you make poor choices in your communication approach, prospects may feel unheard, frustrated or even disrespected. The communication channel is quickly closed, even if your solution would be the best one for them!

Ultimately, understanding the communication style of the prospect and how they feel comfortable communicating will make you more successful in your sales.

Here are the four communication styles, and how to work with them

The Director

This communication style is driven by two things: the need to get things done and the need to control. They are most comfortable in settings where they manage others and take control of situations. Fast-paced and goal-oriented, Directors are focused on bottom-line results and achieving success. This go-getter mentality makes them innate leaders, but it also means they can come across as impatient and insensitive.

How to Communicate with a Director – Be clear, brief, fast, and precise. Be well-prepared to provide solutions to their problems. Skip the small talk and get down to business. – Highlight key points. Avoid going into too much detail. Find out their goals and provide options with clear costs and benefits. Supply concrete data to back up claims of progress. Show how goals have been obtained. 

The Socializer

Most people love socializers. They are fun to be around, always make others laugh, and they thrive on being the center of attention. Charismatic and energetic, they always want to be where the action is. They are eternal optimists who are good at selling others on their vision and goals. Although their enthusiasm and charm make them influential people, as leaders, they can sometimes be impulsive decision-makers who take risks without verifying information. They listen to their intuition–which can be a good thing–and what their “gut” is telling them. On the downside, they have short attention spans, and they find it hard to be alone.

How to Communicate with a Socializer – Take time to build a relationship and socialize with them. Create a fun, lively atmosphere with new and diverse elements. Help them make a list of priorities, but try to skip the unimportant details and boring material. After a meeting, be clear about who is going to do what and by when. Put everything down in writing. Make them look good in front of others. Be slow to criticize them. Instead, motivate them with praise.

The Thinker

This communication style is very analytical and geared toward problem-solving. Methodical and detail-oriented, Thinkers are usually slow decision-makers who are very deliberate about the choices they make. Before taking a specific route, they do their homework by weighing pros and cons and looking at problems from every angle. Their high expectations of others and themselves can make them come across as overly critical and pessimistic. They are perfectionists by nature and can easily fall into the trap of “analysis paralysis.” Since they tend to be skeptical, they usually want to see promises in writing.

How to Communicate with a Thinker – Avoid too much small talk and socializing. Go slow and give them time and space to think things through. Be well-prepared to answer their questions thoroughly with precise data. Put everything down in writing. Make good on your promises.

The Relator

Of the four communication styles, this one is the most people-oriented. Relators are warm, nurturing individuals who value interpersonal relationships above all other things. They are very loyal employees, devoted friends and excellent team players. Peacemakers by nature, they often avoid conflicts and confrontations. They are also ideal team players since they are always willing to build networks and share responsibilities. Like Thinkers, they are thorough planners and highly risk-averse. They value reliability, balance and sincerity.

How to Communicate with a Relator – Be patient and show sincere interest in them as a person. Build a relationship and learn more about their personal lives before getting down to business. Reduce their fears by clearly explaining how a certain change will benefit them and those around them. Be predictable and follow through with your stated promises. Be warm and inviting. Focus on their feelings. Don’t ever push them into a corner to get what you need.

Do you recognize any of these communication characteristics in yourself?  Take the quiz. Then evaluate how you can use your strengths and weaknesses to become more efficient in your sales.

If you would like to learn how to use your Sales Communication Style with Non Verbal Communication Skills to improve your sales communication skill even more, check out my articles about How to Use Non Verbal Communications Skills to Increase Your Sales, and Using Listening Intelligence to Increase Your Sales.

The more you understand about yourself and your sales communication style, the more successful you will become in your sales.

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What Are Non-Negotiables In Your Sales Presentations?

Non-Negotiables in Your Sales Presentations

or Every Customer, Every Time

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Non-negotiables – what you do for every customer, every time, and why that is so important in your sales process. To your success, and your sanity.

You may not even recognize that you already have your own non-negotiables that you use in your sales presentations, but you do. Think about that. Because once you recognize your non-negotiables, you will be able to keep your client presentation “fresh” every time, while making sure you always fit in those non-negotiables in your sales presentations.

Non-negotiables are the things I do or say every time with every client.

There are two reasons I do this. 

👉🏻 Number one is because I want to know my clients are getting the best possible, consistent information from me.

👉🏻 And number two is, I hate to say this, but to cover my butt. How many of you have heard “Well, Nancy told us that , or “Nancy said this”. I’m talking here about what happens after the sale and during the delivery of your product or service, when you might not be in the room. 

I never promise things I can’t deliver. I increase the delivery time (or stretch it out) so that when it does arrive before the promise day, they love me. 

Keep Your Sales Presentations Fresh and Effective
Tips for Effective Sales Presentations

For example, when someone asks for a “ballpark” quote, I always put a little high, so when they get the actual quote for me, it’s lower than the number in their head and they’re happy. I guess you could call this “wiggle room”

I was taught to give your customer more than they expected. Better delivery, better benefits, better quality, better pricing. And the “wiggle room” helps me to do this without backing me into a corner. And it’s a great way to make the client happy, and get referrals.

Certain non-negotiables I used in my sales presentations —

Always give the customer what they asked for and told you they wanted when they meet you. Whether it’s a review of their files, a piece of literature you’ve promised them, … whatever they originally requested.

Do what I promised them within the time frame you promised, or call them to let them know that you haven’t forgotten, but you don’t have any answer yet. (that goes a long way).

Give the same sales presentation to every customer, every time.

You can reword the questions a little, and tailor it to the customer’s needs, but once you find what that is, make sure you explain all the benefits of your company, how they can use what they are buying from me to accomplish their goals, pricing, payment plans… Every customer, every time. 

You can keep it fresh while still covering what you need to.

I’m in no surprises kind of girl, and I actually say that to my customers. “Once you do this, I want to help you set everything up so there are no surprises”. And I will go to the ends of the Earth to make their experience the best possible experience for them.

I make sure I give them all of the information they need to complete as well. I even call it homework! Just like on my podcast. 

Giving homework in your sales presentations makes them interactive.

It keeps them thinking about me, and gives me a reason to contact them after the sale. “Have you completed your homework I gave you the last time we met?” “Do you need any help getting that information?”

Now, don’t ask them to write an essay or anything. Just something simple to help you help them better, and to reinforce that what they are creating with me is important, to both of you.

Non-negotiables keep yourpresentation, or demonstration, consistent. They allow you to come across as knowledgeable and an expert as what you do. Because you are.

And if someone comes back later and says you never told me that or you never told me this, you will know in your heart what you really did and said. Because it’s what you do every time!

Another way to do this is by having an agenda for each meeting.

This allows the customer to know what to expect from your meeting and keeps you on task, while making sure you give the same information, consistently, every time.

The art comes in saying it every time with the enthusiasm as if you were saying it for the first time.

The more you practice this, the better you will get at it, and the more “fun” you will be able to add in. Yes I actually have something I call the “game show portion of my presentation”. 

It sounds crazy, right? But it’s fun, I learn about the customers, and they learn a little bit about themselves. We laugh and have a good time, and they buy.

How To Create An Effective Sales Presentation
How To Create An Effective Sales Presentation

Another non-negotiable to have in your sales presentations,

Actually three more —

✔︎ be engaging, 

✔︎ interactive, 

✔︎ and entertaining. 

That’s why people call it “the art of sales”.

If you do it right, it’s an art.

I’m not saying you won’t ever sell without doing those things, because trust me sometimes people sell despite themselves.

But if you want to sell consistently, month after month, follow me…

What “non-negotiables” do you practice? Do they lead you closer to your sale, or down a bunny trail where the customer leaves informed and entertained, but not one step closer to a sale?

Which leads me to my next non-negotiable. Always ask for the sale. 

Three times at least. 

Your sales presentation should be peppered with “mini close” questions.

● Which product do you think would work best for you, this one or that one? 

● Which one do you like better, this one or that one? 

● What would you  like a price on, this one or that one? Which color do you like, this one or that one? 

Get the idea? Have them whittle their choices down until they’ve made the decision just by answering your questions.

And my last non-negotiable today,

when all else fails because they can’t possibly make the decision today – set the next appointment. “I understand you need a little time to sleep on this. Can you come back Friday at 10? Or would 2 be better?”

Let them know the next step! It seems so simple, but if you don’t tell them, they may not know. 

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How to Influence Sales in 7 Simple Steps

How to Influence Sales in 7 Simple Steps.

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Sales is about influencing others to make a decision to buy what you are offering. So how do you influence sales? This needs to be very intentional on your part. Set your intention and carry it through using this simple 7-step process.

But before we start, let’s look at my intention statement. The one I just stated for this blog post. I do that for almost every article. 

In my mind, I already know the outcome of each article. To teach you one technique or new skill every article. That’s my secret to staying on topic, not adding too much fluff (unless it’s intentional) and sharing that technique or skill with you in as simple and as easy a way for you to understand as possible. 

That’s my intention. To influence you to take the new technique or skill and use it to increase your sales. To influence you, not manipulate you. There’s a big difference.

When you influence someone in sales, you are showing them why your solution will work and is the best possible solution for them.

That is why it is so important to spend time with your prospect and learn about them. How can you give a  stranger a good solution if you don’t know what they are  trying to achieve? The level of importance that this outcome is to them? Or how emotionally attached they are to the outcome?

Sales Influencers don’t manipulate.

When you influence people in a sales meeting, you guide them through a journey, learn about them and their needs. You help them close the gap of where they are now and where they wish to be. And you help them achieve their outcome as quickly as possible. 

Boom. Not to be glib, but sale made.

Yes, I am proudly and unapologetically a sales influencer. I find and create solutions for problems.

 

Sales Influencers Don’t Manipulate

So today, I am going to share with you the 7 steps to influence sales. If you would like to know more about becoming an intentional salesperson, which is the mindset you need to be an influential salesperson, check out this article, too.

Okay, so we know you must have the mindset of being intentional. Both in your sales presentations, and in the intentional mindset that you are going to make a sale, right?

Now you’re ready to talk about how to be an influential salesperson – let’s go with the seven simple steps: oh, and one more thing, do these in order. Don’t skip any of them. No shortcuts.

The 7 steps to influence sales.

One – Be Fearless.

Don’t be afraid to ask those sometimes difficult questions that you need to ask to close the gap between where your prospect is and where they want to be. You are not being nosey – you really need to know this so you can help them.

And don’t be afraid to say that – “I know it seems like I’m asking you quite a few questions, and you are probably wondering why”. Expose that elephant in the room. It’s okay – and it’s probably what they’re thinking anyway.

Expose the elephant, expose the objections. 

Earn their trust. Here is my go-to trust-builder statement for you to use and tweak. You’re welcome. 

After I listen to them for a few minutes I say “I’ve been working with my company for about 11 years, and I’ve helped many people with exactly what you are explaining to me. But because every situation is a little different and unique, I’d like to ask you a few more questions about you, is that okay?”

Another way to address that elephant in the room before it even appears. Trust-building statement and permission to ask questions.

Two – then, Create the Need. 

Repeat back to them the need you have just uncovered by asking your possibly difficult questions. Confirm that you understand where they are, confirm the problem, and confirm where they want to be. 

Listen to the tone in their voices – what part do they seem more excited about when they speak? Where they show excitement is where their emotion is. 

Three – Show Them The Way.

Present your solution to their problem. Include emotional points and facts. People buy based on emotions and justify their decisions with facts.

Four – Create Urgency.

One of the difficult questions you should ask in Step One is, “When are you looking to make a change?” or, “When are you looking to have this done by?”. Now, take their answer and repeat it back to them in Step 4.

“If you are looking to have this done by ___________, you will need to take the next step by________. “

You don’t need to say what the next step is. In fact, most people will ask you what the next step is which leads to …

Five – Help Them Feel Involved.

Allow them to feel involved in the decision-making process and in control of their decisions. One way to keep them involved and interact with you is …

Six – Gain the commitment.

As you go through this conversation with them. I say conversation, not sales presentation, because a sales presentation, in my opinion, is really better explained as a conversation, don’t you agree?

Each conversation, when you have your prospect interacting with you and involved, is really just a series of mini – closes, where you are asking questions, confirming their answers, pivoting where necessary, and gaining mini – commitments. So that when you get to the end of the conversation, you’re both already in perfect agreement.

Another way to keep things interactive is to have your prospects take notes with a pen as you are talking. Say to them, “You might want to write this down” or “You might want to take a picture of this”, if you are giving them a demonstration. Get them writing and interactive.

This works really well when you show them a dollar figure of a proposal, too. Give them a pen and let them interact.

 My final step on how to be an influential salesperson is …

Seven – Show Them R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Through this series of steps, you are learning about your prospect. You may not like everything they tell you, and you may even find their ideas, how do I say this gently… Stupid.

But, they have a right to their opinions, no matter how much you disagree.  With their ideas, opinions, and answers to your questions, they are giving you the framework of what you have to work with. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if you can work with what they are giving you.

Actually, if I can determine this early on, before I even offer them a solution – it’s even better. Because the last thing you want to do is offer them a solution and have them take your expertise to a competitor, right?

So, if in steps 1 and 2 you are realizing that, for whatever reason, you and your company are just not a good fit, be ready to walk away.

Apologize, explain that you don’t feel you’re the best fit for them, and let them walk – respectfully and nicely.

You can say, “We have some really great options that I think would work for you, but based on the information you’ve given me, I don’t feel we’re a good fit at this time”.

This will either allow them to leave, or become more interactive and possibly more reasonable. And allow you to help them by offering a solution and making a sale.

The 7 Steps to Becoming a Sales Influencer

 

The 7 Steps to Becoming a Sales Influencer

To review: How to Become a Sales Influencer in 7 Simple Steps

  • Be Fearless
  • Create the Need
  • Show Them The Way
  • Create Urgency
  • Earn Their Trust
  • Gain Their Commitment
  • Show Them Respect

 Until we meet again, go out and start being a sales influencer, and happy selling!



 

Just For Fun –

As I was writing this article, I found myself singing songs related to each of the 7 steps. Corny, yes. But just because it’s a blog about sales doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

Here are the song’s that came to mind:

Step 1 – Roar, Katy Perry

Step 2 – I’m So Excited, The Pointer Sisters

Step 3 – We Can Work It Out, The Beatles

Step 4 – Whatever It Takes, Imagine Dragons

Step 5 – Just What I Needed, The Cars

Step 6 – Sandy, Bruce Springstein

Step 7 – R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Aretha Franklin, of course!

Let me know a good song for step 2 in the comments below. Thanks for playing!

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Why Understanding The Forgetting Curve Is Important In Sales

The Forgetting Curve Theory

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Do you ever let your customers try to do your job for you?

How long have you been doing your job? You have probably have been there for at least 6 months. Getting product training, learning how to write a contract, learning all about your company, right?

Some of you may even have years of experience with the same company… You could probably even teach the company training program.

Yet, when you meet with a prospect, and they are not the actual decision-maker, you go on to share with that person all of the benefits of your products and services, and how it can help their company.

You may even spend 30 to 40 minutes with that person. Only to send them on their way to share what you just shared with them, with the decision maker.

And yes, they are doing your job.

Selling your company to their company – and, it’s not their job.

You are expecting, or hoping, that someone can take all of the information you just gave them and effectively present it.

Meanwhile…

You are the one with the sales skills and the experience.

You are the one that can answer objections, and maybe even address them before your prospect raises them.

You have the experience, the training and the knowledge.

But you are asking your prospect to take the information that you give them, in just 45 minutes, and do your job. Asking them to explain all of the value and benefits, and do the job of selling for you.

That would be like your company asking you on the first day of your new job, to meet with a prospect and make a sale.

That sounds crazy, right? But we do it all the time.

Whether the decision maker is someone else in the company, or a spouse or child, if all the decision-makers are not in the room, your chances of making the sale through this third-party are significantly reduced compared to if you were making the presentation.

And today I’m going to share with you the reason why this is a true…

The Forgetting Curve.

It’s a real thing! And it was discovered by the same person that discovered the learning curve, Herman Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist around 1885.

The Forgetting Curve is the steady decline in the retention rate when you are not being continually exposed to the information.

Ebbinghaus says that in the forgetting curve – while you are learning something, you have 100% retention. 20 minutes later, you only remember 58% of what you just learned 20 minutes ago.

After 1 hour it’s down to 44%. After nine hours, it’s down to 36%. After 24 hours it’s down to 34%. After 6 days it’s down to 25%. And after a month, it’s only 21%!

From a salesperson’s perspective this affects us in two ways.

The Forgetting Curve in the steady decline in your retention rate when you are not being continually exposed to the information.

1- Our own training and learning.

According to the chart, 60% of the information we learn is lost within one day after we are trained. And 80% within 30 days. How do we ever even remember anything?

The best way to reinforce our learning is by doing and putting it into action.

Because the more you do something, the more likely you will be to remember it in the future.

Another way to improve attention is to

Break down the learning into even smaller parts.

and work on each smaller activity during the week until it’s completed.

Take into consideration how we learn –

The more senses that we can engage why we are learning, the more likely we are to retain the information.

So if you are listening to a class and writing notes, two senses are involved. Throw in a visual slide presentation – that’s three senses. And video is known to improve retention, too.

On top of taking notes, I need to go through later on and highlight the important things. I am then much more likely to remember those things. So don’t just take notes, go back and review them within 24 hours and you will retain more of it.

And when you’re learning under a stressful circumstance, forget it! Because stress will lower retention even more.

So, the first way this forgetting curve affects you as a salesperson is your own personal learning. Can you guess what the second one is? Let’s think for a minute …

2- Your prospects and customers are not immune.

You can see that when you are asking a prospect to do your job for you, to present your product or service to the decision maker, even just one day after your meeting, they have lost about 70% of what you shared with them the day before.

In a perfect world, we would be allowed or invited to directly share our expertise with the decision maker. Try to always ask if this is possible.

But we all know that we do not live in a perfect sales world. As sales people, we have to learn to adapt. You can help your prospects retain the information we need for them to retain so that they can present our information effectively.

Help your customers remember more of your conversation

Here are some ways that you can help them:

1 – Write it down for them. Even better, give them a worksheet where is she can take their own notes on. Maybe you can create an outline where they can add in their own notes. 

2 – Send reminder emails one time a day to review and bring yourself, and your information back to the forefront of their mind.

3 – Mix in a reminder phone call. “I’m calling because you told me how important this is to your company.”

 One more thing before I go, the more you revisit what you’ve learned, the more it you will remember it. So if you learn something on Tuesday, and look your notes over two times in the next week, you remember about 80% of what you learned instead of 20%.

If you go over your notes three times, you’ll remember 90% of what you’ve learned … even a month after you learned it.

This next part is for your kids, or you, if you’re taking classes. The more you review your notes, the less you will have to study before a test. You will retain more for longer, compared to cramming and trying to learn or relearn material right before a test.

So make you life easier. Teach your prospects, and your kids, good retention skills early on. 

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Value Selling vs. Benefit Selling – Is there a Difference?

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Value selling vs. benefit selling – is there a difference between value selling and benefit selling, or are they the same thing?  Someone asked me that last week, and I thought it would make a great topic to share with you.

Value selling.

Many sales people think it is giving someone the most they can give a customer – more services, or benefits, more products … for the least amount of money. 

Actually, it’s showing your prospect the impact your products or services will have for them or their business, compared to how much it will cost them. Even going so far as to showing them how much it can cost them to not use your product or service.

Benefit selling.

Telling prospects the benefits of using your product or services, and how it will help them. 

So, to answer the question of value selling vs. benefit selling, is there a difference? – you can use the benefits to help create the value, but you first have to know and understand your prospects’ goals before you just start presenting benefits.

Your products or services may have some great benefits that your prospect could care less about! They want to know how what you are offering fits into their ideas and goals. And every prospect is different. 

Value Selling vs. Benefit selling  What's the Difference quote

Buyers make decisions based on emotions, and justify decisions with facts
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Now that you know what value selling is, I’m going to share with you

8 tips on how to sell based on value vs selling based on price.

You can check out this article from Brian Tracy for more information about this topic.

1. Ask questions to find out what is important to them.

Don’t just assume that what would be important to you will be important to them, because it may not be important to them. So find out what’s important to them and give it to them.

Take your time, have a conversation with your prospect. Let them talk and you listen. Are they looking for something to save them time, increase their productivity levels? Find out their needs and fit your product or Services into their goals. Use their words and terminology.

2. Talk about what you know to show your expertise to earn your prospects trust, not to show off how smart you are.  

Keep it simple and meet them where they are. And ask them their experience with other companies like yours. What did they like? Where did the other salesperson fail them, and how?

3. Use stories and testimonials from your happy customers to help overcome their fears about making the wrong decision.

4. Be an educator – earn their trust and help solve their problems.

5. Highlight the benefits of your products or services.

This is where you show them how the benefits work, once you have learned about them, Then highlight the benefits of your product or services. Use the benefits that you have learned that would be important to your prospect.

If you know your competitors, and you should, you can explain to your prospects the things that your product or service will do – that your competitors’ will not do, without even mentioning the competitors name or bad-mouthing them. 

Use your competitors inadequacies to show the superiority of what you are offering.

If and when your prospect talks to your competitor again, they will ask if they can do what you promised you can do, which of course you already know, they can’t. 

Your prospects will notice this difference and it will be  important to them. 

I always like when my prospects talk to me after they have met with my competitor first. For one, if they are now talking to me, there’s a reason they did not buy from my competitor. I just have to find out what that reason is. Maybe the competitor was missing an important thing the prospect needed, or maybe they just didn’t trust them. 

When I can determine the reason and give them what they want and earn their trust, price may not even become an issue. 

You can see why it is so important to find out what is important to your prospect. Take the time and have a conversation and listen. 

Have I said that before? Yes, and I am sure I will say it again.

6. Emotions.

You can use stories here about how buying your product or service tremendously helped someone else. You can talk about how much money it’s saved them, or how and help them stand out from their competitors. Show your prospect how you can help them achieve their goals.

Unless you have asked the right questions and taken the time to listen, how will you even know what their goals are?

Buyers make decision based on emotions, and justify their decisions with facts.

If you geek out about stuff like that, here is an article by Gerald Zaltman, a Harvard Business Professor that you might like.

7. Add a bit of humor.

Ask the prospect what their savings would be by not buying what you are offering. They will probably laugh and repeat the dollar amount of your offer. For example, “Well, I’ll save $5,000!”. You can laugh with them and then say, “Seriously, how much more will it cost you in time, productivity (whatever they say was important to them) to not make this decision?”

Get them to think about the cost of their indecision.

8. Discounts.

How could we have a conversation about value without talking about — discounts? Include your prospects in “earning” their discounts. 

For example, are they part of an affiliate program that company you offer a discount to? 

Are they buying in quantity where they can “earn” a discount by buying more?  

Do you have a referral program where you can offer your prospect a discount if they give you a referral?

Find creative ways for your prospects to participate in the amount of their discount. 

Remember, value selling vs. benefit selling, is there a difference? – you can use benefits to help create the value, but you first have to know and understand your prospects’ goals so that you will show them only the benefits that will serve them.

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