Some salespeople think if they talk longer, they add more value or get their point across more effectively. Actually, any prospect you ask is eager for an efficient and memorable pitch.
1. Build rapport
Connect emotionally and intellectually to build rapport with your prospect. Logic makes you think; emotion makes you act. You connect intellectually with your logical argument through specifics and statistics, perhaps with charts and diagrams. You connect emotionally through eye contact, stories, content that creates a visual in the buyer’s mind, and with you-focused rather than I-focused language. This is important if you want to sell your ideas, a product, or a service.
2. Make your message sound valuable
How valuable does your message sound? Here’s another way to look at it. Rehearse your sales presentation, and time it. Or, if it is very important, consider transcribing it. Just for fun, consider the financial impact of your proposal or the investment of your prospect, and divide by the length of your presentation. This gives you a dollar value for your words.
3. Remove the fluff
Remove all the unnecessary fillers. For example, avoid clichés like “Each and every one of you in the room.” How often have you heard a salesperson say those unnecessary words? When your message is clear and concise, divide the number of words by the amount of time needed to deliver your presentation. You will notice how much more valuable each word has become. Make every word count.
For the next few points, consider this real-world scenario. Barbara was a sales manager at a convention hotel in a major metropolitan city. A professional association was debating whether to bring their convention to the city. Barbara was a great salesperson one-on-one, but she was facing a group sales presentation. “How do I sell to so many people?” Thinking through the eight tips she’d read; her internal conversation went something like this:
4. How much time do you have?
5. Who is in your audience?
“A convention committee from the association. About ten people.”
6. What is your key idea?
“What are you actually selling?”
“Well,” she realized, “It isn’t my hotel, because if they come to this city they’ll definitely use our hotel. I guess I’m selling the city, because they are seriously considering a nearby town, too.”
Then she asked a question that rarely gets asked: “How much is it worth to my hotel if I get their business?”
“Half a million dollars,” she knew. So, she calculated – half a million divided by eight minutes. That’s $1,041.66 a second, even when you pause.
Thinking back on her old opening, Barbara took a deep breath and began, “Well, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you’re enjoying our hospitality. I know . . . ,” and she was off on a stream of platitudes.
7. Don’t be polite; get to the point
“That’s polite,” she thought when she finished, “and that’s not a bad habit, but I don’t have much time. They know who I am because I’ve been entertaining them. They know where they are. Make it about them.”
So, Barbara revamped her opening to this:“Welcome, and thank you for the opportunity to host you. In the next eight minutes, you are going to discover why the best decision you can make for your members and your association is to bring your convention to this city and this hotel.”
That is you or yours seven times and one hotel.
Then she said, “The other city is a magnificent destination, and you should definitely go there in the future. However, this year you should come to this city because . . .. “Then she listed the specific reasons.
This is an emotional opening because it’s you-focused. And since you never knock your competition, it’s smart to acknowledge that the other city is fabulous. You’ve connected emotionally with your audience, and the logical specifics connect you intellectually.
You may argue that those polite opening comments are necessary because the audience is still settling down and not focused on you. This may be true, but don’t let it be an excuse. Go to the front of the room, and wait until you have their attention, maintaining a strong, cheerful gaze and willing them to be silent. If needed, state the opening phrase of your comments, and then pause until all eyes are focused on you, awaiting the rest of the sentence.
8. Logic sells, but close on emotion
Continue your presentation with logical incentives, but end with emotion. Remember that last words linger, and your goal is to be memorable.
Barbara closed with this, “Imagine years from now when your attendees are sitting around a convention lobby reminiscing about the best conventions they’ve ever attended, and they talk about their experiences in this city at this hotel. And you’ll know you were part of that experience because you were on the planning committee.”
You now have eight tips that add value to your words and make your message memorable. Use Barbara’s model of how to connect emotionally in the beginning and end of a presentation and connect intellectually in between. Plus, you will be making your words sound more valuable. Good luck.