In response to requests from Plumbing Manufacturers Intl. (PMI) and its members, as well as from other supporters of the U.S....
Tips for an effective sales presentation
What has the greatest impact on sales—is it low price, convenience, saving time or low environmental impact? What is going to get consumers’ attention and inspire them to spend their money? Any or all of the above factors impact sales; however, none are effective without proper presentation. Sales are often made because of a presentation.
An example is the presentation of a meal. The picture on a menu and the narrative or description by the wait staff influences what is ordered. The same is true when buying clothes. How the mannequin looks or how the clothes are coordinated on the shelf either entices people to stop and shop or carry on. The presentation of a home from a picture, writeup or view from the curb will motivate the prospective buyer to either want to see more or pass. Attention is captured, impressions are made and decisions are influenced by presentations.
Society has become conditioned to expect more than a stranger’s say-so, and will not believe an item is the greatest simply because the advertisement said so. People are ever more cautious, requiring evidence and endorsements before making a decision to buy. Additionally, the majority of people are tactile or visual learners; subsequently, it has become more important than ever that presentations are interactive, tangible and fast paced.
Consumer attention is captured and kept by those who do the best presentations. When presenting a concept, product or service, there are guidelines that should be considered. Although some of these are rather elementary, these points are often missed and deals are lost, particularly in water treatment sales.
Everything counts. Everything done, said, shown and implied
will either help or hinder sales. The presentation must be relevant to that particular customer’s specific desires and needs.
1. What is the objective? The objective is to help a family receive all the benefits of conditioned water. This is achieved by identifying what benefits a family wants and presenting those benefits to them. This is done one family at a time. The only customer you have is the one in front of you. The presentation is done for that family, not to that family. It’s all about them and for them.
2. Who is the prospect? To help customers get what they want, it is first necessary to know what they want. Discovery is an essential process to understanding how the customer makes buying decisions, what they do now to receive the benefits of conditioned water and how that is working for them. This is the pertinent information you will need to make the connection and relate with your customer.
3. Think it through. Plan the presentation from concept to completion, including the timing, setting, type of customers, visual aids, questions, follow-up answers, potential problems and the outcome. Planning and preparation are critical to success. Use and follow a well-planned presentation. As an example, having the customers wash their hands to compare the feel of conditioned water only works properly if you have a mini that works, the ability to hook up the mini to a tap and use real soap; furthermore, you need to be in a hard water market. You need to plan each section and segue from one section to another following a logical order.
4. Break it down. Presentation content should be broken down into specific segments or points and benefits relevant to that specific audience. Ask questions and confirm understanding or agreement after presenting each point or benefit throughout the presentation. If you are presenting water that smells better than their tap water, ask if they can smell the improvement in conditioned water. If you present a difference in taste, ask if they can taste how conditioned water would be a benefit. If you present the difference in how the water feels, ask if they can feel how conditioned water would be a benefit. These are small, clear and easy decisions for the customer to make. It is important to close or confirm one point before moving on to the next. This process opens, confirms and closes each point before segueing to the next point, which makes the summary obvious and clear.
5. Plant seeds. The subtle things you do not say or do are as powerful as the things you do. Consumers are informed and intelligent. They do not need to know everything you know about water. Nor do consumers need to be reminded of the many disparaging things they may have heard or seen in the media about tap water. Stick to the aesthetics and let the customer experience the benefits firsthand so they can make an informed decision based on the positive benefits presented.
6. Use visuals. Present or demonstrate facts, data and evidence using the senses that the customer can relate to and that will stir their emotions. Ask questions to gauge the customer’s understanding, agreement and experience. When presenting savings, demonstrate how they will save money with conditioned water and a drinking water system and, more importantly, demonstrate the savings for them, so their decision will be based on their experience from your interactive presentation. Then ask if they can see how conditioned water will save them money. Utilize tangibles and their senses.
7. Impressions. Consider the entire presentation—look the part, dress appropriately for the audience and come prepared. Visual aids such as a demonstration kit and flip book must all be professional. Everything said, done or brought is part of the presentation and either adds or diminishes credibility.
8. Practice and rehearse. Nothing makes perfect like practice. Once the presentation is laid out, practice presenting it. Practice the flow, emphasis and pauses. Practice the questions and answers. Practice how to use the test kit and each of the tests. Practicing and rehearsing creates quality and the opportunity to improve before anything is presented, when it counts. Know what to do, say, ask and when to be quiet from the beginning to the end of your presentation.
9. Why you and your company? Credibility is either earned or lost based on the knowledge, relevance and connection made with the customer. Demonstrating an understanding of the problem and experience in delivering a solution suited to the customer wins their attention and earns their business. Knowing the issues pertaining to the water in their particular market brings you closer to them and the whole point of the presentation is to help them make a decision that is right for them.
10. Outcome. Every good presentation follows a logical flow, identifying points and benefits relevant to the customer’s interest and wants, with a result. The objective is to provide the customer with knowledge and first-hand experience to help them make an informed decision best suited to their needs. Ask the customer if, based on their experience, this is the kind of water they would like to have.
A professional presentation such as a television commercial can tell a story with a call to action in 30 seconds. A live presentation should certainly be able to make a point in 10 minutes. A comprehensive presentation with multiple points such as an in-home sales presentation should be less than an hour, allowing the customer time to ask questions, make a decision and look after the paperwork. Keep it short, concise and to the point. As you can see, a great presentation is not an impromptu show, it is a tactical process.
In many cases, it is beneficial to have a “leave behind” for the customer so they have a reminder of the highlights or key benefit points of the presentation to refer to afterward. My preference is their copy of the sales agreement.
Finish the presentation with a summary of what was presented, highlighting the key benefits and points that were relevant and of particular interest to the customer. Confirm with the customer that these are the benefits they want and then help them get it.