“You might think ‘sabotage’ is something that your competitors do, but it could be something that you do to yourself,” explains Monique Harrisberg, CEO and voice expert of The Voice Clinic. “You could be responsible for sabotaging your sales presentations when you do not use your voice effectively,” explains Harrisberg.
Harrisberg says you need to ask yourself the following in order to establish if your voice is working for or against you. When you visit your potential client does your voice let you down? A voice which is too highly pitched, monotonous, or lacking clarity is not going to promote you or your products or service effectively. The voice counts for 38% of every communication message. Assess your own voice by making ‘X’ next to the vocal quality that you have:
- Too soft
- Too loud
- Too slow
- Too fast
- High pitched
If you place an x in two or more of the above you need to develop the vocal skills which will help you create a dynamic impression when you visit your customers.
Harrisberg says you need to ask yourself if you talk too much. Sabotage sometimes happens when you try to say more than your actual time allows. Pressed for time, you may speed up what you say and prevent your potential client from following by providing too much excessive details and too much information. Think of a sales presentation as a bell-shaped curve. In the beginning, your potential clients are at the low point of the bell and need to ‘warm up’ slowly to your subject.
Your subject, product or service is very familiar to you but will often be new to your clients. At the beginning of your sales presentation, you need to ask questions and allow your client time to focus on you and your products. Start more slowly and, above all, talk less than 33%of the time at the beginning of your sales presentation. After the warm-up period, your potential client is starting to peak (at the top of the bell) and this brief period is when new information should be presented. New information should be presented. New information includes a customised description of products or services, examples and data relevant to the client.
“At the peak of the curve, your potential client is most receptive and able to recall what you say. However, you can sabotage this stage too by talking too much and letting potential clients sell themselves,” explains Harrisberg. “Selling themselves is an important concept,” she adds.
The bell heads downward, approximately fifteen minutes after the peak. As you and your potential client head down the bell shaped curve, his or her interest wanes, and at that point you can sabotage the presentation by presenting new information or responding to your potential client’s questions. “Do not bring up new information or try to respond to your potential client at this point. If you forgot to mention something important earlier in the presentation, you can follow up by mail or telephone. Resist self-sabotage by means of ‘over talking’ at the end of a sales presentation,” Harrisberg says.
Theworst way to sabotage your sales presentation is for it to be ‘canned’. This means to give the same presentation to every potential client. “Tempting though, rather than polishing a single presentation, try a newer approach, get to know your potential client. Having a prepared presentation is not the most important part of the task of selling,” explains Harrisberg. “To really win in the selling game, you must research not just the competition but your potential client well,” says Harrisberg. “Knowing about your potential client’s issues and concerns both about his or her business but also how much they know and what they think about your category of product is crucial.” Your ability to speak directly to their issues can make your presentation a success. Self sabotage can come from wasting your client’s time by presenting information and asking questions that clearly do not apply to them. You can scout for information simply by observing potential clients or interviewing them prior to your sales presentations. Surprisingly, potential clients are impressed by your efforts to get to know them ahead of time so that your time together is well spent. Simply call them and ask them:
- What they know about your product or service category?
- What their previous experience is with your product or service?
- What help they are interested in?
- Use this information to customise their presentation. Show off not your products or expertise, but your knowledge about the client instead.
Too many business people sabotage their sales presentations by underestimating their potential clients. “Potential clients are savvier and more sceptical about ‘being sold’ than ever before, and you are being naïve to assume that you can ‘snow’ or overwhelm their objections by dazzling them with a glorious sales presentation,” says Harrisberg. The opposite is true. Your actual effectiveness comes not from letting them dazzle or convince themselves. How? By allowing them to interact more in the discussion again, how? By allowing them to draw conclusions, such as ‘You will benefit from our services’. They are too sophisticated to buy into your conclusions from the information rather than forcing them to listen to you comes to your typically self-serving conclusions, such as ‘You will benefit from our services”. Coming to their own conclusions make the conclusions (closes from your perspective) more believed.