HARDISON’S TIPS – January 15, 2021 – How to Present a Presentation to a Guest
It’s a good idea to visualize this outcome before going into the meeting. Review your precall objectives. What will it look like to achieve these objectives? What steps will you and your prospect have to take? How will it feel when you both have achieved your goals? This isn’t just about calming your nerves; visualizing the outcome you want is actually a powerful tool to help you achieve that outcome. For one thing, it’s another form of planning. If you mentally run through a “movie” of the sales presentation, allowing yourself to picture your reactions and the steps you will take to close in on your objective, you will be better prepared when the meeting takes place.Richard White, “Déjà Vu,” Pro Excellence, http://www.pro-excellence.com/html/resources.html (accessed May 16, 2010). Each step of the presentation will come naturally to you because you have already mentally rehearsed, and you will be better positioned to sell adaptively because you have already imagined a number of possible scenarios and customer responses.
For another thing, mental rehearsal fools your subconscious mind into believing you have already achieved your goals. Sales trainer and CEO Brian Tracy says, “Your subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one that you vividly imagine,” so if you imagine a successful presentation and its outcome several times before your actual presentation, you will be as calm and confident as if you had already closed the sale. You will smile more easily, you will speak more slowly and clearly, and you will command attention. In addition, if your subconscious mind believes you have already been in this situation before, it will direct you to say and do the things you need to achieve your objective.Brian Tracy, Advanced Selling Strategies (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 80.
The Power to Adapt
The sales presentation is where adaptive selling makes all the difference. Up until this point, you have researched and prepared and developed a solution that you think will meet your prospect’s needs, but walking into the presentation and delivering on that preparation requires a different set of skills. Among other things, it requires flexibility and the ability to think on your feet. The best salespeople adapt their presentations to their prospect’s reactions, and they go in knowing they may have to adapt to surprises for which they were unable to prepare (maybe the building has a power outage during the slideshow, for instance, or maybe one of the people from the customer organization decides to send another employee in his place at the last minute). These top-performing salespeople know that keeping a customer-centric focus, visualizing a successful outcome, and mentally rehearsing your presentation before you deliver it will give you the power to adapt with confidence and ease.
Adapting is all about listening. As Paul Blake noted in the video ride-along at the beginning of the chapter, your sales presentation is really a compilation of all the listening you have done to this point. And listening doesn’t stop there. It’s impossible to adapt if you’re not listening. When you are creating your presentation, keep in mind that it is not a one-way communication. Presentations are for listening, adapting, and solving problems.