by David Duford, author of “The Official Guide To Selling Insurance For New Agents“
If you’re a small business owner, chances are you persuade your clients on some level.
If you’re looking for a strategy to sell in an ethical, low-pressure way that produces results, then you’ve found the right article! In this article, I discuss how small businesses can craft the perfect sales presentation to convert more of your prospects into clients.
Specifically, we’ll discuss:
- How to conduct client- and prospect-focused research to better design your sales presentation.
- How to create a persuasive presentation without using hard-pressure tactics, and,
Conducting Research To Design A Successful Sales Presentation.
Your first step is to conduct preliminary research with past prospects and current clients.
Don’t avoid this step. While it’s tempting to jump right in, resist the urge. Instead, taking time to research what your clients and prospects think will go far in creating a strategy that produces better results.
Why Did Prospects Not Buy From You?
When developing a sales presentation, figure out why some prospects did not buy from you.
There’s a few ways to do this. First, conduct follow-up calls with prospects you prosed business to but did not purchase. Ask them why they didn’t buy. You’ll be surprised at the answers you’ll get, which in turn will help improve your sales strategy.
Make sure you survey enough of your prospects. Surveying one prospect is great, but more is better. With more prospects surveyed, trends develop, making it easier to identify the most pressing issues to resolve.
Survey Your Current Clients, Too.
Also, survey your current clients. Ask them why they chose you over the competition?
This provides clues as to what your clients valued most from their purchase, and helps you determine where to focus your value-proposition in your sales presentation.
For example, I train and recruit people interested in selling insurance. There’s lots of competition in my business. What I have found surveying my clients is what I think sets me apart is different than what my clients think sets my business apart from the competition.
In response, I’ve altered how I sell my service, opting to promote my business based on what my clients value.
Bottom line, assume nothing! Let your clients tell you what they value and appreciate. With that knowledge in hand, you’ll do a much better job presenting your services to future prospects.
Shadow Your Top Performing Sales Rep.
If you have sales reps, you likely have one or two that sell the most of your product or service.
My advice is to monitor their processes. What do they do that gets them results? Shadow your top producing sales rep, listen to several of his sales presentations, and call on deals he’s called to get feedback on what the client thought of him. It’s likely you can duplicate many of the strategies he’s doing into other sales reps.
Doing your preliminary research will uncover vital information to help you craft a successful sales presentation.
Steps To Creating A Strong Sales Presentation.
Now we’ve discussed conducting due diligence, let’s describe how to put together a sales system that builds trust, creates value, and closes more prospects.
Good Presentations Overcome Objections Early.
My father owned a chemical business in the 2000s. He was very successful, retiring at 49, and selling his business to a well-known publicly-traded chemical manufacturer.
When I first started my business, I asked him about his thoughts on sales. And he told me that the best sales presentations automatically overcome objections.
When crafting your sales presentation, you need to design it to overcome the most common objections to buying your prospects give. In my experience, most business experience three to five common objections that sales reps must be ready to overcome.
For example, most businesses will experience price objections. If you do, too, then your presentation must demonstrate why price should not be an objection. Perhaps you sell your product or service’s high value. Or maybe you describe how you get what you pay for, explaining why paying less means more problems and possibly more money spent over the long term.
Regardless of the objections you hear, think about them thoroughly, and devise how overcome them upfront, early on in your sales presentation.
Use Your Clients’ Language To Sell.
When presenting your product or service, purposely use the words uncovered in your research to extol the benefits of your business’s offerings.
Your preliminary research should show patterns of common language and phrases used to describe why your clients bought from you versus the competition. Capitalize on this trend as much as possible.
For example, when I survey my clients, they use words like:
- No BS,
- A straight shooter.
So, when I consult with new clients and create promotionals about my business, I make sure to use that language frequently. Doing so makes a better connection with my best prospects.
Don’t Forget Testimonials.
Include testimonials throughout your sales presentation. You must embrace the concept of “preponderance of proof.”
There’s a great story that I like to tell my new salespeople that drives this point home.
There was a defense team preparing for their trial to defend their client against murder charges. The junior lawyer said to the senior lawyer, “I think we have enough information to defend our client.” In shock, the senior lawyer ran over, grabbed the junior lawyer by his lapels and said, “We have to have more than enough. We have to have a preponderance of proof beyond the point of any question that our client is innocent of the charges.”
This story exemplifies why testimonials are so important. Assume our clients are suspicious of our intent. Your presentation must overcome all suspicion for prospects to buy, and utilizing testimonials overcomes a lot of prospects’ worries.
Tips To Getting Strong Testimonials.
Best practice is to get the testimonial in your client’s words, either on paper or on video. Don’t write it for them. You can if you want to if that’s the only way, but push to have them do it. If you can get a picture of the client using your product or service, even better. The more visual proof, the better emotional connection your clients will have.
Ask Open-Ended Questions.
Make sure that you ask open-ended questions, especially early-on in the sales presentation.
An open-ended question is a question that solicits a detailed response. For example:
- “How do you feel about this?”, or
- “What’s your thoughts on this?”
These are not yes/no types of questions. Open-ended questions require thinking and expressing their feelings on what matters to the prospect. We hear what their emotions are without assuming what they are. And when we know our prospects’ emotional drivers, we know where our presentation must focus to win the deal.
Nothing turns me more than when I’m being sold and the salesperson never really asks me what I think and what I feel. It shows me doesn’t care what I think and has no curiosity. Don’t be that guy =).
Your clients appreciate it when you ask good questions. They feel like you’re a good conversationalist, are considerate, and think their opinions are important.
Ask Questions Early.
Ask open ended questions near the beginning of the presentation as you pre-qualify your prospect. A few examples of strong open-ended questions include:
- “Why are you here today, Mrs. Jones?”
- “How do you feel about your current situation?”
- “What would you like to accomplish today?”
- “What do you like about it the best?”
These are powerful questions that will help you get inside of the prospect’s mind and figure out what’s most important to her.
Tastefully Position Your Product.
I like the concept of “tell and show” when presenting benefits of the product. I don’t want to just tell my prospect my product’s great. I want to show them proof.
This is where testimonials come in handy. Insert stories of satisfied clients as you explain the benefits of your product. Make sure you also share stories of prospects who did not follow your advice, and how that was a mistake.
Address Your Competition.
Don’t be afraid of addressing your competition. This day in age, most prospects are doing preliminary research online. Some salespeople or small businesses are concerned about addressing the competition. If you have a good product or service, don’t be. It’s likely your prospect is thinking about other options, so you might as well cover that concern in your presentation.
For example, in selling life insurance, I teach agents to address our biggest competition by name. I even go so far as to have them show their clients actual sales material our competition uses. Because our product is superior in many ways, we openly compare and contrast what we do to better sell our product. This endears our clients to us, and builds their trust in us.
If anything, openly discussing the competition and explaining why prospects choose you over them will increase their confidence in you. Also, it helps overcome the “Let me shop around” objection in advance, too.
Ask For The Sale.
In sales, you must be bold! You must ask your prospect to buy. And if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Luckily, you can ask for the sale without being a jerk. Here’s how I teach my agents how to do it:
- First, I present two options. Too many options leave prospects confused, and confused prospects don’t buy.
- Second, I give them my recommendation and tell them which option most people buy. Your prospects are looking to you as an assistant buyer and value your recommendation. Plus, most people follow the herd, and want to do what’s most popular.
- Third, I close by asking, “Which one do you want to get started with?”
Not too pushy, right?
Of course, you’ll hear objections. The way I teach small business owners to handle objections is simple. If you receive push-back from buying, ask your prospects:
“No problem, Mrs. Jones. And when you say ‘I need to think about it,’ how do you mean?”Okay. So how do you mean when you say, ‘I need to think about it’?”
This script allows you to dive deeper into what the real objection is so you can rebuttal effectively.
Sales Is A Performance Art.
Like sports and acting, sales is a performance-based process. Like an actor who must memorize his lines, you must rehearse your presentation to improve.
A good sales presentation isn’t static. It’s something that needs refining and improving. Otherwise, it’ll become stale and ineffective. Like any skill set, you must work to get better.
David Duford owns DavidDuford.com, a virtual insurance agency helping new and experienced agents nationally become top producers in final expense, Medicare, and annuity sales. He is the author of 3 best-selling insurance sales and marketing books, including “The Official Guide To Selling Insurance For New Agents“, “The Official Guide To Selling Final Expense Insurance” and “Interviews With Top Producing Insurance Agents“. David is also a YouTube Influencer in insurance sales with nearly 14,000 subscribers and more than 1.5 million total views.