I don’t know about you, but I’ve sat through dozens of sales meetings and appointments and in many cases—if not most—have been bored to death. A few years ago, during one particular sales call, the salesperson fired up his laptop and walked me through a 38-slide PowerPoint presentation. Thirty minutes later, he still hadn’t answered the question rattling around in my mind: How can you help me?
Obviously this guy believed that “telling was selling,” but I had tuned out by the tenth or eleventh slide. It took some effort to not to snore in front of him, although I was very tempted. Here are four ways to bore your prospects:
1. Start your pitch by talking about your company. Your marketing department might think it’s important that you tell prospects about your company’s roots or heritage, the clients or organizations you work with or how innovative you are. I can tell you from first-hand experience that those points will never make their radar. They don’t care. Hurts, right? I know. But here’s the reality: All they want to know is how you can help them solve a pressing problem.
Skip the mindless chatter about anything else. Get to the point and show them how you can help them deal with or eliminate a problem.
2. Talk endlessly about your product, offering or solution. After the above point, there is no quicker way to bore a prospect or customer. Contrary to popular belief, people don’t want to know everything about your product. They only need to know about the aspects or features that are relevant to their specific situation.
Highly analytical or technical people—especially engineers—struggle most with this because they love detail, data and information. However, it is critical to understand that most people don’t need this level of detail. It is far more effective to present highly relevant information and have backup documentation ready (just in case your prospect is also a detail-oriented person).
3. Make the conversation one-way. Remember the salesperson with the PowerPoint presentation? The sales guy used all the air-time for the full 30 minutes. Snore… Telling is not selling!
I have found that it is much more effective to have a two-way dialogue during any type of sales meeting or presentation. Even if you have a pre-planned presentation, you should still get your prospects involved by asking questions or encouraging them to comment.
4. Use jargon, techno-speak or corporate mumbo jumbo. I remember my first sales meeting with a new employer. We spent an entire afternoon talking about products and SKU numbers and corporate acronyms. I frantically wrote down everything until my brain had liquefied and was leaking from my ears.
The best salespeople present everything in simple terms and easy-to-understand language.
If you’ve ever been bored by a salesperson, you may have your own “don’t” to add. But if you can avoid these boring blunders, you’ll be half way to landing your next client.
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