Quote of the Day, “Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood.” – William Penn
Presentation skills are one of the most imperative items for sales professionals. There are numerous opportunities in a day for sales people to present information articulately or sound incompetent. Because of the lack of sales training, selling professionals are calling prospective clients unprepared, avoiding useful questions and sounding naïve. The lack of proper presentation skills can possibly be what is affecting your performance, not the recession!
Vocabulary “Judge a book by its cover” is the cliché many sales people need to avoid. From the moment a sales professional arrives for an appointment prospective clients are judging. Speak and it gets even worse. Many selling professionals lack proper vocabulary to have an articulate conversation with sales leaders. They use too many words. Further, “street talk” might not always be appropriate.
I remember when I first entered the speaking business; many individuals stated they had a “gig” as if they were a nightclub act. Speaking is a professional business where there is a “presentation”, “workshop” or “keynote” based on client need. Refrain from street talk when speaking to clients and speak with language that exemplifies your professionalism I recall when I first moved to the state of Missouri, I met individuals that used the phrase, “Allasudden” as a melody. It took me months to determine what was said.
Wouldn’t the word “suddenly” be a better substitute? Selling professionals are judged by how they articulate. Drop the numerous words, William Penn was correct. Use a thesaurus to find and express yourself intelligently good language never hurt anyone.
Preparation Arrive unprepared and the best decision would have been remaining in bed. On a recent radio interview with friend and colleague Patricia Fripp, she mentioned a sales manager replying to a proposal and spending inordinate amounts of money on a million dollar sale. When she asked the sales manager about rehearsing the presentation, the manager stated the team would lucky to practice in the car prior to the appointment.
I recall a very good book I use for acting entitled “Audition” by Michael Shurtleff that can assist selling professionals with presentation and preparation. Shurtleff talks of guideposts such as “The Moment Before” which helps selling professionals prepare to anticipate the selling scene. Selling professionals that are unprepared are always playing defense and losing sales.
Dress Code Anther vital element of the unprepared sales representative is dress code. In the late 1990’s Wall Street and subsequently Main Street adopted the ludicrous rule of casual days. Business suits, dresses, wingtips and pumps were castaways to polo shirts and khakis.
What would your reaction be if your physician showed up for surgery in a running suit and sneakers or your attorney meeting you with blue jeans and T-shirt? Sales professionals must represent the organization and themselves. Sounding professional is one half of the equation, look the part the other. Clients judge from the outside. Look the part by dressing the part.
Selling is a profession and is not impromptu. Proper planning is a major portion of the sales process. Rather then spend time attempting to make more calls, or being negative about consumer buying patterns perhaps it is best to look in the mirror. Self-reflection and assessment is always a useful. After all, you cannot close business if there is no one to present to.
By Daniel Blare