Here’s the scenario: You’re about to make a sales presentation. You have the right experience, the right products/services and competitive pricing. You’re an ideal fit for your prospect’s needs. This should be a winning sales formula. But all too often, it isn’t. Vendors end up making dumb mistakes during presentations and lose business.
As a marketing consultant, I often source professional services, so I’ve seen a lot of sales presentations. Some are great; most are not. I’ve watched many fully qualified vendors (even ones I was rooting for) miss the mark during their presentations and walk away empty-handed.
Here are four more things to guard against when making your presentation:
1. Bungling the Q & A. The customer asks a question, and the sales team is confused about who should respond or gives a weak, unfocused answer. Anticipate questions in advance, have answers teed up and be sure the entire team knows who’s supposed to take the lead on each topic.
2. Checking smartphones. Never, ever let any member of your sales team pull out a smartphone during a presentation (unless you’re showing your customers how great their new website will look on a mobile device). Being unable to resist the use of your smartphone during a presentation shows a lack of interest and self-discipline. The prospect deserves your full attention. Don’t even check the time on your smartphone—wear a watch.
3. Dressing down. Some sales teams think it’s fine to dress casually for a sales presentation. You may have a very casual workplace, but the dress code is almost certainly more formal at your prospect’s place of business. When you’re asking your prospect to pay for your professional services, you need to look professional, not like you’re on your way to Home Depot.
4. Lack of preparation—the greatest of all fails. The sales presentation is your best opportunity to demonstrate to your prospect how sincerely you want to become his partner. If you’ve been given the chance to make a face-to-face presentation, you owe it to him to be ready for a serious, meaningful discussion about a relationship. Take the time and make the effort to be fully prepared so you can avoid costly mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes. But if you’re lucky enough to get your foot in the door, you’ll want to avoid these tragic sale presentation errors.
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Jean M. Gianfagna is a marketing strategy expert and the founder and president of Gianfagna Strategic Marketing which provides marketing strategy and creative services to leading business-to-business and consumer marketers. Read her blog for more marketing tips at http://www.gianfagnamarketing.com/blog.