Was It A Comedy Or A Documentary?

Tim Connor

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Was it a comedy? A tragedy? A monologue or a documentary? A hit? Or was the show cancelled? We are not talking about the latest effort from Hollywood or New York, but your last sales presentation.

There are three ways to evaluate the success of any sales presentation. Let's continue for a moment with our movie analogy. Before the script finds its way to your local movie theater, there have been hours of planning and organization, preparation, a great deal of editing and execution; then the final filming. In every profession there are these same three steps, whether it is a doctor preparing for surgery, a builder building a house or a parent planning the next meal. There is always some degree of planning, preparation and then execution. The success of the outcome or finished product depends on the effectiveness of all three. The sales process is no exception.

The planning or organizing is the pre-call research, investigation and general information gathering. The organization, is deciding the strategy for the call, not planning the information that will be delivered, but the sequence of events. The execution is the what you say and do once in the prospect’s domain. The focus of this tip is on the execution. However, it is necessary to cover some of the necessary key points that should have been addressed in the first two steps, if the actual presentation strategy, dynamics and outcome are to be understood and successful.

The sales process is a series of relationships not just personal relationships, but the relationship between the elements of the process. The first element are your attitudes about, perceptions of, beliefs on, values and judgments and their impact on every aspect of the process itself. This element more than any other will determine your success and/or failure in selling. The next element is prospecting, that's where you get information, next is the sales presentation, where you give information and answer sales resistance, then comes the close and finally, servicing the client for repeat and/or referral business. The success of the sales presentation is a function of your effectiveness of managing your attitudes and the timeliness and accuracy of the information you receive.

Have you ever had a prospect say to you, you have fifteen minutes to convince me that I should give you any more of my valuable time. " Well if they don't say it you can bet they are thinking it. We are going to assume that you have what you believe is a good prospect, and you are now in the prospects office ready to begin. It's show time.

The goals or objectives of the first fifteen minutes are:

* To build a positive rapport.

* To establish an atmosphere of trust and respect.

* To gain control of the sales process.

* To fill in the gaps of specific prospect information that you have not learned to this


* To confirm the accuracy of previous information gained.

* To uncover prospect prejudices, needs, desires, attitudes, opinions, problems and

potential resistance.

* To discover the dominant emotional buying motive.

* To determine the urgency and their willingness to proceed now.

* To determine whether you are in the presence of the decision maker or to discover

who the additional people are that should be involved.

* To sell them on the need for additional time to deliver the balance of your


A lot in just fifteen minutes, yes, but there is one selling skill than can accomplish all of these in the time allotted. The ability to ask the right questions in the right way at the right time.

Remember, your prospect is constantly asking themselves, “Why should I give you more of my valuable time?" The ability to ask the right questions at the right time and in the right way keeps the prospect’s focus on his/her needs, problems, concerns and off of your products, features and selling style. It also shows the prospect you are more interested in them, than you are in just selling something to them. This is one of the best ways to build trust and rapport in any relationship. It helps get and maintain their attention by breaking through his/her preoccupation with the many other issues that he/she may have on his/her plate. There are a couple of concepts that you should consider, however before you continue with your presentation.

One. Never cover price until you have had an opportunity to build value. Price will always seem high, if value is perceived as low. Two. Timing is everything in selling. Remember, people buy when they are ready to buy, not when you need to sell. Attempting to force a prospect to buy when you need to sell is what we commonly call, the hard sell.

Back to the presentation.

Your opening question, and your follow-up questions will determine how much more time your prospect will allow you. Poor questions, and you'll be out of there. Good questions and you can stay as long as you need to determine whether you have a prospect that is worth more of your time. The critical thing to remember is that you are not selling your product or service in this early stage. You are earning the right to take more of their time later.

Let's summarize with a few basic sales rules.

One. Your prospect will tell you what you need to tell them to sell them.

Two. The information you don't get soon enough will hurt you later in the process.

Three. Just because the prospect will see you doesn't mean they are a good prospect now.

Four. People buy from people they trust, not people they like.

Five. Your role is to sell the prospect, then educate your customer, not educate prospects into

becoming customers.

Six. You will never close a sale on a poor prospect with a good product, good sales

presentation or tricky close, however a well qualified prospect will help you sell them.

Seven: People buy for ‘their’ reasons not yours.

The first fifteen minutes are like building the foundation of a house. Get the foundation right and the rest of the construction has a better chance of success.

Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management, leadership and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; Soft Sell, That’s Life, Peace Of Mind, 81 Challenges Managers Face and Your First Year In Sales. He is also the CEO of Sales Clubs Of America. He can be reached at tim@timconnor.com , 704-895-1230 or visit his websites at http://www.timconnor.com or http://www.SalesClubsOfAmerica.com


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