By Erick Simpson
This is part three of a five-part series. Click here for part one and here for part two, here for part four, and here for part five.
The sales presentation is the fourth step of the Seven-Step Sales Process. This step focuses on the presentation of the technology solution to the potential prospect and usually occurs during the second visit with the prospect.
The second appointment should occur with all decision makers present and no later than seven days from the date of the first appointment. Before presenting the solution to the prospect, the sales professional should try to reduce any tension in the room as quickly as possible with a few minutes of warm up during this second visit, since the prospect will be anticipating a pricing discussion. Successful execution of the presentation can help the prospect understand how their specific business issues and pain points will be addressed through the proposed solution and can help eliminate most objections.
During the presentation phase of the Seven-Step Sales Process, the sales professional should follow three basic steps when presenting the proposed solution:
- PowerPoint Presentation
- Proposal Presentation
- Cost Savings Analysis/ROI Analysis Presentation
It is imperative the sales professional present in a clear, concise, and logical order to eliminate any customer misunderstandings that can lead to sales objections. When presenting to one sole decision maker the sales professional may present the PowerPoint presentation on a tablet device, and the proposal and cost savings analysis as a printed booklet or handout. This single printed handout should be controlled by the sales professional at all times to ensure value can be properly conveyed at the correct time and pace.
The PowerPoint presentation should generally consist of no more than 12 slides and not be overly wordy or technical. The slides should be a combination of bullet points and images that correspond to the information presented. As the sales professional is moving from slide to slide, they should incorporate a short story or analogy with each slide that relates to the information provided.
For example, if the proposed solution is an “all you can eat” flat rate deliverable, such as managed IT services, the sales professional can begin the slide by describing an all-inclusive vacation — where the vacationers pay one fee which includes everything, reducing incidental, nuisance costs, and providing the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge everything is covered.
The sales professional should also take note that while they will be doing the majority of the talking during this part of the sales process, they should allow the prospect to interact in the story when possible (allowing them to share a story relating to an all-inclusive vacation before the sales professional begins their story, for instance). The use of storytelling will allow the prospect to visualize the information that is to come.
After the story or analogy helps set the stage for the slide, the sales professional should still tie in relevant bullet points on the slide that correspond to the prospect’s specific needs that were discussed in the first meeting. For example, if one of the business issues discussed in the first meeting was the pain of unexpected it costs and if the proposed solution was a managed IT services solution, then the sales professional might spend most of their time on that slide and its corresponding bullet point.
Not every bullet point on every slide needs to be covered, only those that relate to the prospect’s specified needs. The sales professional should also make it a habit to confirm the prospect’s understanding of the information presented on each slide before moving forward. Tie-down questions such as, “Does this make sense?” are commonly used before transitioning to the next slide.
After the PowerPoint slides have been presented to the prospect and the value proposition has been successfully conveyed, the sales professional should provide a visual depiction of any infrastructure changes that need to take place, as outlined in the proposal. The proposal should be written as simply and clearly as possible and include before and after network drawings or other such images that clearly and easily illustrate changes to the environment.
The sales professional should not include pricing anywhere in the body of the proposal itself, as it should simply serve as a visual aid or tool to help the prospect visualize changes (a concise quote as an addendum to the proposal is employed to reflect pricing for the solution, which is only revealed during the Close – step six of the Seven-Step Sales Process). After confirming the prospect understands the proposed changes, the sales professional should proceed to the cost savings/ROI analysis presentation.
The cost savings/ROI analysis should provide the data to strengthen the prospect’s emotional buying decision. At this point in the process the prospect’s curiosity around the proposed cost should be very high. The prospect should be thinking, “This is perfect for me, but it sounds like it will be very expensive.”
The cost savings/ROI calculation tool should either be an Excel spreadsheet or a purpose-built calculator that can be adjusted if necessary, during the demonstration. This tool should be able to incorporate hard costs such as existing IT maintenance and other costs and allow for the consideration of soft costs such as downtime or existing unacceptable production time that will be improved through the proposed solution.
The goal for the sales professional should be to get the prospect to agree to the sum of both soft and hard costs, so that when the proposed investment amount is inserted into the equation during the close, a yearly savings can be computed. In many cases the sales professional will encounter a few minor objections after the solution’s proposed cost is laid out. These objections can be easily overcome if the sales professional adequately positions the value and cost savings data with the qualified prospect.
To ensure that the information presented to the prospect about the solution is properly received, the sales professional should always practice their presentation so they can easily adjust it to align with their prospect’s personality type. The sales professional’s duty during this phase of the sales process should be to clearly and effectively communicate to the prospect a full and complete understanding of what the proposed solution is and how it addresses their specific needs.
To achieve this, the sales professional must be able to interpret the prospect’s body language and verbal communication style to determine if they like to talk and not be rushed during the presentation, or whether they are a “cut-to-the-chase” personality type, where idle banter is looked down upon in favor of facts and figures for a quick decision making process. The sales professional should employ the following strategies to ensure the highest probability of a close after the presentation:
- Before presenting, ensure all decision makers are present.
- Arrive on time and in professional attire.
- “Warm up” the prospect before presenting the information.
- Keep the conversation as simple as possible (the less technical the better) to ensure complete comprehension in the prospect.
- Never email the Proposal and Cost Savings Analysis to the prospect — these must be presented in person or shared during a Web conference when an in-person meeting isn’t feasible.
- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
Next Time: Overcoming Sales Objections
About The Author
Co-founder of one of the first Pure Play MSPs in the industry and creator of the MSP Mastered™ Methodology for Managed Services business performance improvement, Erick Simpson is a strategic technology business growth and transformation specialist and one of the most prolific, recognized, and sought-after business improvement and transformation experts, authors, and speakers in the industry. Learn more at www.ericksimpson.com.
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