Ed Rigsbee
If you and your sales team desire increased sales without increasing call frequency, you only have one choice — excel at persuasive presentations.

Recently I conducted sales presentation training for a technology company. Their business is strong, and they have an experienced sales team. But few of them truly understood the basic mechanics of persuasive presentations. As such, they were leaving dollars on the table at every call.

Selling is simply determining another’s problem and persuading them that you have the solution to their problem. Then you ask them to accept your solution — the close. It’s quite simple. Unfortunately, not enough salespeople understand the basics.

There are three key elements in persuasive presentations:

1. An arresting opening benefit statement.

2. Explaining benefits with features.

3. Asking for the business.

Right about now you might be thinking, “Thanks Ed, but tell me something new!” Force your sales team to practice their sales presentations in front of each other at your next gathering and you’ll most likely say, “Wow! They really do not know these basics!”

The Basics

Opening:The opening benefit statement is really a hook, one that catches the prospect’s interest. In reality, a salesperson is saying, “Please give me a few minutes of your life.” If the prospect sees no potential value, why in the world would they want to needlessly give up minutes of their life?

The first thing a salesperson says either catches the prospect’s interest or it doesn’t. Grab their interest instantly with a promising opening benefit statement.

Benefits: Many salespeople love to share features — about them, their company, and about their product or service. While they are doing this, most prospects are thinking, “So what.”

The prospect only cares about how the salesperson’s offer can make their life better — that’s it. For every feature, the logic, there also had better be a benefit, the emotion. Otherwise your salespeople are just visiting for a cup of coffee rather than solving the prospect’s problems and selling.

Ask for it: These are the three great words that will change the lives of any salesperson that is confident enough to use them. I continually wonder why so many salespeople are afraid to ask for the business.

Could it be because they have not yet sold themselves?

Could it be they are afraid of being pushy?

Could it be that they don’t want to deal with the rejection of a prospect saying no?

The answer to the above three questions is a resounding yes.

Challenge Your Staff

Challenge your salespeople to a day of presenting in front of each other. Have them do at least two presentations in a day. And, if you want it to be really powerful, have all your salespeople complete feedback forms on each other.

Perhaps you are now thinking, “That would be great but in what areas should they offer one another feedback?” I have a solution for you. Send an e-mail request to me at EdRigsbee@aol.com for my 20-area feedback form and I’ll e-mail the form to you. Just be sure to state “Feedback Form” in the subject line of your e-mail request.

Rigsbee, CSP, is the author of three business relationship books: PartnerShift—How To Profit From the Partnering Trend, Developing Strategic Alliances and The Art of Partnering. He has over 600 published articles to his credit and is a regular keynote presenter at corporate and trade association conferences across North America. Rigsbee can be reached at 800-839-1520; EdRigsbee@aol.com. For additional related information, visit his Partnering University Web site at www.rigsbee.com.

Publication date: 02/24/2003