6.8 Key Takeaways & Terms

Key Takeaways

  • When preparing for your sales presentation, stay focused on the essentials: your relationship with the prospect and your precall objectives.
  • Practice mental rehearsal by visualizing the best possible outcome to the sales presentation.
  • Delivering value to the customer means practicing adaptive selling and listening to the customer to understand her needs. Keep this in mind before and during the presentation.
  • The night before your presentation, make sure you have all the logistics worked out: your equipment, your wardrobe, directions to the location, and parking information.
  • Presenting to individuals requires a different set of skills and techniques than presenting to groups, so make sure you have a clear strategy for your presentation that takes the size of your audience into account.
  • When presenting to an individual, keep your prospect’s personality in mind and adapt your approach accordingly. Take his position and responsibilities in the company into account in the way you present your solution.
  • Selling to groups can be a more efficient presentation method, and sometimes it is required in your customer organization. When conducting a group presentation, take group dynamics into account, keeping in mind that people act differently in group situations than they do in one-on-one interactions.
  • When you are delivering your presentation at your place of business or in a neutral location (like a rented space), treat the customer as you would treat a guest in your home. Set up refreshments and supplies well ahead of time so that you are well prepared when the prospect arrives.
  • When you are presenting at your prospect’s place of business, try to find out about the presentation venue beforehand—but be prepared to adapt if your prospect doesn’t have the equipment or setup you were expecting. Arrive early so that you have time to set up.
  • If your presentation is given as a Webinar or video conference, treat the presentation as you would treat an in-person interaction. Dress professionally and set up ahead of time. Make sure to minimize distractions.
  • When delivering a PowerPoint presentation, keep your slides brief, uncluttered, and easy to read. Don’t let the technology overshadow you, the presenter.
  • There is almost no better way to bring your product to life than by using samples or demonstrations to get your prospect involved.
  • Your customer will expect you to bring a cost-benefit analysis or ROI analysis as a way to quantify your solution.
  • SPIN selling is a four-step model that relies on the theory that successful selling is customer centred and offers customized solutions to your prospect’s problems.
  • There are four steps to a SPIN sales call: opening, investigation, demonstrating capability, and obtaining commitment.
  • The opening stage builds rapport and establishes a buyer centred purpose for your call.
  • The investigation stage is at the heart of the SPIN model. The goal of this stage is to ask questions that will uncover your buyer’s needs.
  • There are four types of investigation questions: Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-payoff (SPIN).
  • In demonstrating capability, you explain the benefits of your solution by showing your prospect how your product or service meets his explicit needs.
  • In obtaining commitment, you get your prospect to agree to advance the sale, continue the sale without advancing, or make a purchase.
  • The most important ingredient of a successful sales presentation is you.
  • While there is no single formula for a sales presentation, there are five basic steps: building rapport, making a general benefit statement, making a specific benefit statement, closing, and recapping.
  • It’s best to ask questions throughout your presentation to learn as much information as possible from your prospect and to keep him engaged.
  • Closed-ended questions help keep the prospect engaged and should be balanced with open-ended questions, which help you probe further into the problem your product can solve.
  • The proposal is a written document that includes the specific terms of the sale and is usually prepared after the sales presentation.
  • Some prospects submit a request for proposal (RFP), usually when they are evaluating proposals from a number of potential suppliers, which sets out specific guidelines for the format of the proposal and the information it should include.
  • Objections are a normal part of the selling process and are not a personal reflection on you but rather an opportunity to learn more about how the customer is evaluating the potential purchase.
  • Objections actually help build relationships because they give you the opportunity to clarify communication and revisit your relationship with the prospect.
  • The best way to handle objections is to be thorough in every part of the selling process from qualifying through the preapproach, approach, and presentation.
  • It’s a good idea to anticipate objections by reviewing your presentation, writing down every possible objection, and building it into your presentation.
  • It’s especially important to understand risk from your prospect’s perspective so you can create a risk-removal strategy.
  • Prospects object for four reasons: money, no perceived need, no sense of urgency, and no trust.
  • Prospects may pose objections at any time, but especially while setting up the appointment, during the presentation, and during the trial close.
  • There are six strategies that will help you handle any objection: view the objection as a question, respond to the objection with a question, restate the objection before answering the objection, take a pause before responding, use testimonials and past experiences, and never argue with the customer.
  • There are six major types of objections: product, source, price, money, need, and thinking about it (which is actually a stall).
  • Unlike a sales call, a job interview usually doesn’t include stated objections.
  • The secret to overcoming hidden objections such as experience or salary is to be prepared and establish the value you can bring to the company during the interview.
  • Follow up after a job interview is a powerful way to make yourself memorable even after the interview is over.
  • Thank-you notes (both e-mail and handwritten) should be sent within twenty-four hours of an interview to each person with whom you met. It’s also a good idea to send one to the recruiter who arranged the interview.
  • Thank-you notes are a reflection of your personal brand. Correct spelling and grammar are required, including each person’s name and title.
  • Follow-up, which may include a phone call or e-mail, is also important for each stage of your job search.

Key Terms

Closed-ended questions: questions that demand a yes or no response can help to move your presentation forward, keep your customer involved throughout the presentation, and confirm your understanding

Closing: where you obtain your customer’s commitment, either to buy or to move the sales process forward

Cost-Benefit Analysis: analysis that quantifies the costs of a purchase in relationship to the benefits it provides (cost savings – initial investment = benefit)

Hidden objection: an objection that is not openly stated by the prospect but is an obstacle in the way of making the sale

“I have to think about it” objection: an objection that is actually a stall and usually occurs when a prospect isn’t completely comfortable with you and your product or service

“I’m already satisfied” objection: a barrier presented by the prospect that indicates that there is no need for the product or service (also called the need objection)

Implication questions are those that help uncover the consequences or effects of a prospect’s recognized problems

Investigation: The second and most critical step of SPIN selling that involves asking questions to uncover your buyer’s needs

Mental rehearsal: running through a scenario (like your sales presentation) step-by-step in your mind before you go into the situation

Need-payoff questions ask the prospect how a specific solution could be important or useful to their problem

Money objection: a concern voiced by the prospect that relates to the budget or financial ability to make the purchase

Obtaining commitment: the stage of the sales call in which you get an agreement to move to the next stage of the sale

Open-ended questions: questions that will help you probe further into the problem your product can solve. These questions start with “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” or “why.”

Opening: the first step in SPIN selling that paves the way for the rest of the sales call

Price objection: a concern voiced by the prospect about the perceived value of a product or service

Product objections: when prospects voice a concern related directly to the product

Return on Investment (ROI) Analysis: analysis that shows the return (profit or cost savings) as a percentage of the initial investment (Example: $2000 (savings over five years) ÷ $3,000 (initial investment) × 100 = 66% ROI)

Sales objections are generally defined as prospect questions or hesitancies about either the product or company

Situation questions: In SPIN selling, situation questions deal with facts about the buyer’s existing situation deal with the straightforward facts about the buyer’s existing situation and provide a starting place for understanding your buyer’s needs

Source objections: when prospects voice objections about the company or about doing business with you as a salesperson

Specific benefit statement: one that demonstrates in detail how you are going to solve a prospect’s unique problem

SPIN: A customer centred sales model. SPIN stands for the four kinds of questions successful salespeople ask their customers: Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-payoff.


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