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Face to Face Demonstrations–Tips for Success

On-site demos act as a rallying point for technology purchasing decisions.

In fact, the demo may be the only chance you get to persuade some busy decision makers.


Here’s five tips to help you be more effective in your face-to-face technology demos :

1) Do Your Research

When highly-paid decision makers come to your demo, it costs your prospect’s company serious money; you owe it to them to be as prepared as possible.  Before the demo make sure to:

  • Interview all key players–understand needs, goals and issues
  • Find out who is FOR you and who may be AGAINST you in the sale
  • Discover ways in which your prospect would like to improve their business processes
  • Understand who your competition is

Based on this research, you can prepare a demonstration that is crisp, effective and contains exactly what they want to see.

2) Have a Teamwork Plan

Teamwork between sales and sales engineering is critical to demonstration success. To avoid mishaps, have a strategy for helping each other during the demo.

Here are some examples where planning ahead makes a big difference:

  • Hide demo set-up – While the sales engineer sets up the demo system, sales can do the company overview. The presentation takes the focus off you so that you can get your demo running without the pressure of a roomful of eyeballs on you! Agree on a signal to let sales know that the demo is up and you are ready to go, so they can quickly wrap up their presentation.
  • Reduce the impact of crashes – Sales should monitor the demo (as opposed to thumbing their Blackberry) so that they can come to your aid if a “bad thing” happens in your demo such as a crash. Sales can interject a comment, taking the audiences attention off you long enough to recover. Another good suggestion is for sales to keep a pack of Oreos in their bag so that they can “remember” to take them out and offer them to the prospect, buying you a bit of time. (This is especially effective with techies!)
  • Know what can be shown – Sales must be aware of what can and cannot be shown in the demo. Sometimes equipment or software is not working or a feature is not enabled–be sure to talk ahead of time to avoid embarrassment .

3) Make a Connection

All things being equal, prospects will buy from people they like. Making a connection is a combination of professionalism, social skills and competence.

  • Professionalism – Acting in a professional way, lets the prospect relax and focus on your message. Prospects expect you to keep things business like. Save political and religious topics for your friends. Be specific in all communication; make it easy to work with you.
  • Social Skills – Although, your purpose is strictly business, sales is a PEOPLE business. Learn to move smoothly between pleasantries and your business message. For technical people this can be as simple as talking about fun or  interesting technology as a way to lighten up the call, then moving back to business. Remember, most people are busy and don’t want to spend a ton of time on small talk, but they do want to get a sense for you as a person.
  • Competence – If you don’t know your stuff, today’s savvy prospect won’t want to work with you no matter how nice you are. Everyone has lots to do and if you waste their time once, it will be the last chance you get to do so! Work hard to become a knowledgeable resource for you prospects and customers.

4) Build Credibility

Come off too slick and prospects will suspect they’re being misled. To be credible, you need to prove that you understand their world and back up any claims that you make.

Early in the demo, you may have to show every feature to prove it’s real. As the demo progresses–provided you project honesty, knowledge and understanding–you will be able to say more and show less.

5) Close for Next Steps

As you conclude the demo, make sure to recap and outline what should happen next.

  • What have they asked about?
  • When will you get back with them?
  • What is the next step in the process: an evaluation, another meeting?

Based on your pre-demo goals, you should request specific actions that move the sale forward.

If you are interested in improving your face-to-face sales demos, please visit our Demos Skills Training page.

Software Demos 4 Tips for Improvement

Get some toothpicks for your eyes and a case of Red Bull, were gonna do a software demo!

Software demos are the cornerstone of technology sales. Here’s 4 tips to make your next software demo better:

Short Software Demos are Best

Our demos are too long. That’s probably the most common issue about that I hear about when I do Software Demo Training Classes. The reasons it’s so prevalent are:

  • We hate to leave any of the best features out, even if the prospect might not care
  • We like to show things a couple of ways to prove how flexible the product is
  • We’re used to doing product training where we show every single menu
  • Our product is very technical–we have ton of detail to cover
  • We have a big product stack (lots of different products) so it takes a while

Let’s take each of these in turn and discuss how we can do better.

The most important thing you can do to shorten your demo

If you’re having issues with long demos, the most important thing you can do is to spend more time understanding the prospects specific needs.

Talk to your sales person. Have the prospect complete a demo form outlining what they want to see. Once you understand their needs it’s easy to decide what to cover and what NOT to cover!

I hate to leave any important feature out of the demo

Engineering worked hard to put these features in, you may have even been the one who requested some of them. I get that, but here’s where it can hurt you.

You’re showing things your prospect isn’t interested in. That means:

  1. They will get bored.
  2. They may see something that turns them off on the product!
  3. The extra detail we show will make the product look complex and hard to use

Next time you do a demo, try to get more detail from sales on what they want to see and what they don’t–only show that. You may be surprised at how much smoother things go.

I want to show how flexible the product is

Showing things multiple ways is fine for training, but it’s a disaster for demos. Next demo, pick the best way to do something and only show that. I’m not saying you can’t show off some GUI bells and whistles; just pick the slickest looking path and weave it naturally into your demo.

We are used to doing product training

When technical support or the training group are asked to to demos, too much detail is a very common problem. Support people have little or no training in sales, and as such don’t know what to show. Without guidance they tend to show everything. Worse, yet, they may know the screens and menus very well, but they often lack the big picture understanding needed to relate the product to the prospects real business issues.

To help people with no sales experience do better demos, you need to be explicit about what they should show for each prospect. You may even want to script out what you want them to do and say. In time, many will be able to better demos with less input from you.

Our product is very technical

This is often a byproduct of poor qualification of the prospect’s needs. Technical product are complex, but the business problems they solve are less so. If you can understand exactly what the prospect wants to see and what they don’t care about, you can drop tons of unnecessary detail.

For you next demo, start with a short succinct list from your sales person, then focus on creating a demo path (a story) that shows how the business problem is solved. Make this path as short as possible while maintaining the integrity of the demo story.

We have a big product stack

This issue is common in larger organizations that have done lots of company acquisitions to build out a more complete solution for their customers. I’ve seen situations where the sales engineer (or a team of sales engineers) is expected to show the end-to-end solution for 10 or more products!

Multiple product demos are a burden for prospects interested in only a portion of your solution. No one wants to sit through the entire show if they don’t need what is being covered. In these situations, it’s crucial that you focus on your prospects specific needs and show as little as possible in the best way possible.

Use the right approach for the medium

Modern demos can be live, web based, and even canned (down-loadable, CD based, etc…). Each mode has unique advantages and disadvantages, be aware of them.

Web demos, are less interactive and you often can’t tell if the audience is with you or not. There are several ways to fight this:

  • Have a sales person on-site with the customer to act as your eyes and ears. They can help keep the audience engaged and let you know when you need to change course to keep them interested.
  • Take advantage of the polling and online question features provided in web demo software.
  • Ask questions and allow the audience to respond.

Live on-site demos allow you to use physical props and to easily see the audiences reaction to you talk. You can also keep things interesting by going to the chalk board or even letting the customer try your gear (if this is a safe thing to do).

The down side of a face-to-face demo is that if something goes wrong, all eyes are on you. You can’t surreptitiously bring up another version of the app in the background as you can in a web demo. Next demo, be mindful of these subtleties and you will fare much better.

Encourage questions

If you are doing a sales demo for a single company, you have to allow questions–period.

It’s their show–you have to give them what they need. If you don’t they won’t do business with you. If there are dangerous questions or audience members who are hostile to you cause, be prepared to deal with it.

If you are doing a demo for multiple parties and companies, I would still say that you must allow questions, just be prepared to redirect or to ask to take the question off line if they try to take you too far afield.

Pay attention to things that elicit questions in your demos, incorporate them into your standard demo and be sure to develop a killer answers for each question. Questions are the key to audience involvement, without them you will never do your best demo.

Don’t pounce

Pouncing happens when you get a question from the audience for which you have a killer solution.

At first blush, this appears to be a perfect lead-in to you pitching the killer feature. Be careful. With highly technical products, it’s critical that you fully understand the question it’s impact on the prospects world before you answer.

The best approach is to drill down and try to understand why they want to do the operation. Ask what the effect of not having the feature is now. Ask them how they think they would benefit from it in the future.

The key is to sell value, not features. Prospects only see value when you relate your product to their needs. By jumping into your pitch as soon as you hear a question, you’ll miss the opportunity to get the full picture.

Please let me know what you thought of this article and ask any question you like below.

And be sure to check out our Demo Skills Classes

B2B Web Marketing 101- a Ten-Part Series

This tutorial is designed to help you close more customers as a result of your B2B Web Marketing efforts. It covers things you need to do, as well as things you should avoid.

We’ll show you how to target professionals making complex purchase decisions involving multiple people, large budgets and that often have a broad impact on company operations.

In short–if you want to use you Website to help sell complex, technical products and services–this series is for you.

Each lesson provides specific improvements for your site, followed by suggestions on how to implement them. We give equal weight to the most important aspects of Web Marketing from: attracting qualified prospects, to technical search optimization to conversion strategy.

To improve your B2B Web Marketing, you should focus on three key areas:

  • Fixing “Broken Things” That are Costing you Traffic and Sales
  • Making Simple Yet Highly-Effective Changes to Your Site
  • Implementing an Ongoing Web Marketing Plan (Links and Content)

Later in this series, we will provide you with recommendations for training and additional resources. Please leave us a comment if you have questions.

A Ten-Step B2B Web Marketing and Lead Generation Tutorial

The ten articles are show below, new content will be added each week. Please comment and let me know what other kinds of articles you would like to see.

  1. What results can I expect from these website changes?
  2. Are these 10 deadly web problems costing you Traffic and Sales?
  3. Small changes that can make a big difference
  4. Are you wasting time and money on useless activities
  5. Ideal and target prospects content and keyword research
  6. Generating and Selecting Keywords
  7. Creating content (for the product or service life cycle, and by role and niche)
  8. Improving conversions with great copy
  9. Long term content, structure and linking strategy
  10. Using Social Media to improve sales

If you would like to learn more about Web Marketing, consider our Training Programs and Coaching.

Here are some additional articles about Web Marketing that you may find interesting:

https://www.sales-training-lead-generation.com/

B2B Web Marketing Goals

Improving your site takes time and effort. Anyone who promises big gains overnight is not being honest lying.

This series outlines a safe, long-term Web Marketing approach that gets results and avoids tricks that might get your site dropped from Google.

What can you expect from this series

I suspect you either want to learn how to improve your site and do the work yourself or you would like to learn enough to get the best from a consultant that you retain to do web marketing for you.

This series can help with both. While not an exhaustive examination of the topic, we do focus on common, practical tips that should help you make substantial progress.

Please enjoy the articles and let us know what you think in the comment section below.

The Sales Demo Information Form

In this post I want to share a form that I provide in my Demonstration Skills Class that helps sales teams prepare for technology demonstrations.

(Here is a link to a PDF version of the Demo Form that you can print out.)

The form is a great way to promote communication and cooperation between your sales and technical team and helps you capture all important demo information in one place.

Companies that have taken my training class have actually implemented a web-based variant of this form to be used by the sales team and integrated with their CRM tools.

Here is the demo form followed by a brief description of the key fields.

Demo Form

Company
Name:

Demo
Date: Demo Time:

Contact:          Phone:

Sales Person:Attending y/n

Goal of the Demo/Best Result:

Attendees:

Name

Title

Role

Interests/Issues/Questions

All

Jane Doe

Competition:

Competitor
1 – N

Notes

Products to Show

Product
1 – N

Notes

Here is a brief description of the fields of the form:

Title – The title of each person who will be attending your demo.

Role – The job function and duties of each person attending the demo. This is important as titles can be misleading.

Issues – These are the issues that the prospect is concerned with, the problems they are facing. This is also a good place to record things that should NOT be brought up in the demo because they would be detrimental to the sale.

Questions – This is where you would make note of any questions that the prospect posed during the sales cycle that should be covered in the demo.

Interests – This is where you would record the features that would be of interest to the prospect. The key is to only cover issues that are important to the prospect and to leave out all extraneous detail.

If you you cover things that they don’t care about you run the risk of making the product look too complex or provoking difficult questions.

A Web based Demo Form

We will be releasing a customizable Web Demo Information Form in the near future. If you are interested in adding a Demo form to your web site, please drop me a note for details and release dates.

Avoid B2B Web Problems that Cost You Sales

Web Issues Costing you Traffic and Sales – a Checklist

The first thing I do when working with a new company on their Web Marketing is to review their site to see what we can quickly fix. In this post, I discuss many of the issues that can cost you Web traffic and sales:

Unreliable Site Hosting

Problem If your site is down, customers and Google can’t access it.

To see if your site is unreliable – Try a service like: Siteuptime or Basicstate (these are not free). Services can check your site every 15 minutes or so, and give a complete picture of your site’s up time. If you don’t want to use the service, you can manually visit your site each day–not as effective as a service, but better than nothing.

To address the site failures – you may want to change hosting providers, or at least upgrade to a higher level of service on your existing host.

Slow Site Performance

There is some talk of Google using “page load” performance as one of the many measures of quality and trust. Even if this were not the case, the attention span of the average user grows ever shorter. If your site loads too slowly (a somewhat subjective concept), you can use the Firefox plug in “yslow” to help detect why the page loads slowly.

To fix the issue – You can upgrade your host provider or service level. In addition content distribution networks are useful in many cases.

Invisible or Missing Site Content

Problem If Google has no content to index, you won’t rank. Often caused by using FLASH or Graphics instead of text.

To determine if you have a content issue Look at how Google “sees” the text on your page to make sure there is enough text for Google to understand what the page is about. You need to write for user experience, and to be sure there is text for Google to “see”.

To check this:

1) Type the command: cache:http://www.name-of-your-page.com into the Google search box. This returns the screen below:

2) Click on the hyperlink labeled “Text-only version”

3) Google will display the web page with the text as Google “sees” it. If you don’t see any text, or just a few words, you need to check and see why.

To Address the Issue – If you use FLASH or graphics instead of text on your site, you may find there is no text shown at all. You need to change the page (by adding text) so the keywords that you are optimizing for are visible to Google.

Link Naming Problems (Canonical Naming Issues)

Problem – When you link to a page in your site, you need to be consistent with the link structure or you will reduce your ability to rank well for important terms. It turns out that: “mysite.com”, “www.mysite.com” and “www.mysite.com/index.html” are all different addresses. Most standard hosting setups will resolve the addresses and show the right content, but when you link to a page, you need to be consistent and only use one address. This can be an issue if you are not careful with you internal site links and will often be an issue when other sites link to yours

How to see if you have a canonical naming issue To see if you have this issue try this:

In Yahoo Site Explorer, (http://search.yahoo.com) in the search area:

Type:       “links:www.your-site-name.com”       ….. see how many links are returned

Type  “links:your-site-name.com”  ….. see how many links are returned

Type    “links:www.your-site-name.com/index.html”    ….. see how many links are returned

Type   “links:www.your-site-name.com/index.php”   ….. see how many links are returned

If the number of links is different, you have the issue.  (Note, not all addresses may be valid for your site.)

To address the issue -There are a couple of ways to address this issue:

1) Use an .htaccess file on your Linux server (or httpd.ini for MS server), or PHP code on the page itself to redirect all permutations of a page to the one true (canonical) name. With this change any address will be redirected to the one true address and all links will by extension point to the same (correct) page. You must be sure to use an 301 (permanent) redirect to adhere to Google’s guidelines.

2)The second method is Google specific. It requires that you change the preferred URL in Google webmaster tools for your site to you preferred address. This method will ensure that Google give you “credit” for all links, but will not redirect bad addresses (that don’t resolve ) to the proper page.

Here is a post describing the Google method from their site: naming issue

–There are many articles on redirects, try searching for: “301 redirects” in Google.

Site Virus or Malicious Code

Problem – This is one of the worst issues, you may have a problem and not even know it. This often happens when you leave the access to files on your server open to the public. It can also happen because of malicious hacks in plug-ins for platforms like WordPress.

How to detect it – Turn on safe browsing in Firefox (options->security) or Internet explorer (options->security) these settings should flag malicious pages on your site.

Use Google webmaster tools for your site. Google will tell you if any pages are suspect and allow you to fix the problem and get the page reindexed. Google’s search results will also show a warning screen when you go to any page that has malicious code on it. If you see this screen on a page from your site, Google has flagged it bad. This can affect the traffic and rankings for your entire site.

How to address the issue – Remove the bad source code from the page and all files on your site. It is beyond the scope of this post to cover the details. Please refer to the technical documents for your platform for help.

Incorrect Site Changes

Problem Creating “orphan” pages that are no longer linked to your site. If you make changes that leave old pages out of your new site structure, you lose built up ranking and trust. You also create a bad experience for users who find the old pages in a search. Here are the typical things that cause this issue:

  • Creating a new version of an existing site with new pages names
  • Creating a new site on the same URL and deleting the old one
  • Moving a site to a new domain
  • Changes in technology or implementation (pages ending in .php vs .html)
  • A company is purchased and their site is folded into the site of the buyer.

The core problem is that your existing site has pages in Google’s index that rank for terms that you care about. Your pages also have links from external sites and your own site (internal links). When you make any of the changes above, you are creating new pages and often new content. To compound matters, if the implementation of the site changes (say from a static HTML to a dynamic PHP based site) all the new page names will be different.

If you just blow away the existing pages on your site, you lose all those indexed pages (and credit for the links to them). Worst of all, when a user finds the old pages in the search results, they get an error when they try to visit.

How to tell if you have a problem – Go to the Google search window, type: “site:www.your-site.com”

Google will return all pages from your site in it’s index. Each of these pages needs to be redirected to the new pages in your site so the user sees the expected result. You can also use Google’s Webmaster tools to determine any visits to your sites that result in errors.

How to fix the problem – Use 301 redirects to point the old pages to the new pages on your site. For larger sites, you may want to move the pages over in groups and see how long it takes Google to index the new pages. Over time you can migrate all your pages.

Useless Pages Indexed in Google

Problem indexed source code, script files, webshop pages, and other pages of this ilk  may be pushing valuable pages out. I see this often with technology companies. Their web site has example scripts and code that may be of use to users, but not much use for ranking for keywords. Worse yet, many of the script files contain common text (headers, common parameters, etc.), which also causes Google to flag the pages as duplicate content.

Google decides how important your site is using proprietary ranking factors. Based on this decision, there are a finite number of pages that Google will index for your site. The only way to get Google to index more of your site’s pages is to keep adding quality links. The problem with indexing useless pages is that these pages take some of the slots allotted by Google that could be used to index more desirable content.

How to tell you have the problem – From the Google search prompt, type the command:

“site:www.your-site.com”

Google will return all the pages that they have indexed for your site. Us the page navigation to move through each of the pages looking for files and directories that you do not expect to be indexed. These pages and directories will become your target list for removal.

How to fix the Issue – There are several ways to get content out of Google’s index:

  1. Use your robots.txt file to keep Google from indexing files and directories
  2. Use the robots meta tag (noindex, nofollow) on any page that you do not want in the index
  3. Use java script to block access
  4. Use .htaccess to password protect pages
  5. Tell Google’s Webmaster’s tools to drop the page

Content is Blocked

Problem  If Google can’t see your content, it can’t rank it. This happens when tags or robots.txt are used to stop Google from accessing pages that should be indexed.

How to Tell if You have the Problem – As we did in the example above, use the site command or use Webmaster tools to verify that all pages that should be in the index are.

What to do about the issue – To get the pages back in the index, fix the technical problem. If you don’t see the page back in the index in a few weeks, try adding some internal and external links to the page.

Title and Tag issues

Problem Simple, yet often overlooked, title and tag issues are crucial to ranking in Google. The title and description tags control what the user sees when your pages come up in the search results. At minimum you need to:

  • Have a unique title for every page of your site with the key words that you want to rank for in it.
  • Have a unique description for every page that tells the user a bit of detail about the page and spurs them to click on the result.

Ugly Page Names with session IDs

Problem Auto-generated page names look like ugly to users. These are those funny page names that have questions marks and numbers (due to session IDs) in them.  Ugly page names are bad for your users and can cause duplicate content issues.

What to do about it – Use “mod_rewrite” ( Apache Server parlance) or any other scheme supported by your CMS or platform to change the title to “human readable” form.

If you have questions, please leave a comment below.

Sales Presentations-5 Tips for Handling Hostile Questions

Hostile questions can quickly derail your sales presentation or demo. These questions occur for any number of reasons including:

  • The questioner has a chip on their shoulder
  • The person wants to feel superior and raise their status in the group
  • They like the competition’s product or service
  • Your product or service threatens them or their job
  • They want to show that they know more than you do

I’m sure you can think of lots more.

Hostile questions can cost you the sale–or at the very least waste valuable selling time.

So, what can we do to handle hostile questions before they create problems?

Here’s 5 tips:

1) Avoid hostile questions in the first place – Know your audience, if someone on the team is against you, try to add points to your presentation that will preempt their objection.

2) Stay focused on their issues – Keep your presentation focused on the issues your prospects care about. Bring up a topic that’s not relevant, and you run the risk of hostile questions and comments.

3) Look for common ground – You may have a valid difference of opinion with your prospect, that’s OK if you try to find areas where you agree.

Let’s say they don’t agree with a new process that you are advocating. Find common ground by reminding them that they’re unhappy with the existing process and, while not without flaws, your process may help.

4) Defer to power – Often, if someone is hijacking the meeting, it’s bad for the prospect as well.

One technique that I often use is to ask the highest ranking manager if you should continue on this thread or in the interest of time, handle it off-line. The ball is now in the managers court. If they want to continue, hang in there. More often than not, if the questions are off topic or too hostile, the manager will help you get back on topic.

5) Defer to the audience – If you don’t know who has the power, you can ask the group as a whole if they want to continue on a thread or cover it off-line. Often they will be on your side and you’ll be asked to table the topic for later.

Here is another great post on handling tough questions from Steve Martin at Heavy Hitter Sales

If you want to learn more about our training classes please visit sales presentation skills training

Sales Presentations-Practice Without Powerpoint for Better Presentations

Has PowerPoint has become a crutch that tempts you to give presentations without proper preparation?

Selling complex B2B products often requires that you perform very detailed product presentations. As a result, most have come to rely heavily on PowerPoint as a substitute for product knowledge, and preparation.

So Many Slides, So Little Time

Most companies have voluminous sets of slides, created by marketing that attempt to cover every imaginable scenario. Worse yet, well-intentioned marketers often add lots of detail so that the slides double as product training for the sales force.

Armed with these slides, most salespeople mix, match and modify the slides-then head out to do their presentation.

So, What’s the Problem?

In competitive B2B selling, you only have one shot at delivering a great presentation; with PowerPoint as a crutch a myriad of things can go wrong:

* With PowerPoint in control as both the message and the media, you fade into the background
* You use way too many slides; hoping to cover everything, you ensure that they remember nothing.
* You read every bullet on every slide: they can read, your job is to say only what is relevant to them.
* You run short on time and have to rush through way too many slides
* You know the answer to their question is somewhere in the 100+ plus slides-now if you could only find it

The Solution: Practice Without PowerPoint and Stand Out From the Crowd

Next time you are preparing a presentation, try to practice it without the PowerPoint deck. Here’s how:
Understand Your Prospects Needs and Create a Story

First, think about the major issues that your prospect is facing, and the goals that they want to achieve. Armed with this information, pick the top three.

Next, come up with Case Study (user examples) of how your product helped other prospects in similar situations.

Finally, create short stories that relate how these customers stories are relevant to the problems faced by your prospect. With these simple stories, you are ready to create a presentation that sells.
Practice Your Presentation Without Slides

Now comes the practice. Do the presentation without slides. Start with an opening that summarizes the prospects situation, then relate the success stories. For complex technical products, you may want to go to the white board and diagram the topic. With practice you will get comfortable without the slides and learn to focus on the story that you are trying to tell.

Now Add Just a Few Slides

Once you are comfortable doing the presentation, it’s time to add in just a few slides. Be ruthless about removing the slides that you don’t need. In addition, you should limit the detail on each slide that you chose to keep. Try to use the slides for diagrams and data that are hard to reproduce by other means.

A good rule of thumb would be one slide for an opening, one for the current sitiation and one each for the stories. Your last slide should be a summary and call to action. The goal is to limit the detail on any slide and to limit the overall number of slides.

Showtime

When it’s time to deliver your sales presentation, you will be ready to focus on telling the audience how other companies like theirs solved problems with your products.

Demo Data Dumps – Do You Have This Common Problem?

You Might Be Giving LBTPDs

Long Boring Technology Product Demos (LBTPD) are way more common than you might think. Avoiding Demo Data Dumps is a key demonstration skill that you must master to help you avoid them.

Find Out if You Have a Demo Dumping Problem

To see if you are guilty of giving a LBTPD, due to Demo Dumping take the quiz below:

  1. Do you ever say “and another cool thing is”, be honest :>)
  2. Do you show more than 3-4 key features?
  3. Have you ever done a “menu walk” of the product to be sure that you did not miss anything?
  4. Does your sales person keep saying: “show them this, show them that”?
  5. When you ask for questions, do you hear crickets?

Have you ever watched a product demo where the presenter repeats again and again:

“And another cool thing is”

See the problem? People tie new information to what they already know. Cool doesn’t tie to anything.

By repeating the same words for every feature, you give them no road map, and no value proposition to latch on to.

OK, Maybe You’re Afflicted–What Can You Do About It?

PUT YOURSELF IN YOUR AUDIENCES’ SHOES!

Research the prospect’s needs before the demo if possible. If you can’t do pre-demo research, never just start showing features–ASK WHAT THEY WANT!

Sales Presentations 5 Creative Powerpoint Tips

PowerPoint has become the poster child for bad sales presentations; so, how about some ways that PowerPoint can enhance your next sales presentation? Here are  5 that I use in my sales presentation training seminars.

Make a Joke

Humor can be very effective, but be sure your that you have the right audience when you use it.

How about a slide of the Windows Blue Screen of Death to get them thinking there was a crash. (Would work best with an anti-windows crowd.)

You can also use the onetime 1-second flash of a bullet item to give a funny subliminal message. For example if you really want to get across the point that you are local to the prospect and you have mentioned it once or twice already, you could have a note flash by saying: did I mention that we are local.

Draw Attention to You

PowerPoint often upstages you by drawing the attention of the audience. Why not use this to your advantage. Try creating a slide that prompts the audience to ask you questions of a specific nature.

Put the Elephant in the Room for You

Need to bring up a sensitive topic? Try creating a slide for it that gets the audience thinking about it. For example try a slide like “What our customers say about our prices” that highlights the pluses.

Hide Detail Until you Need It

This is especially good for technical products with lots of detail or for the dreaded Company Overview. Try creating your main topic slides and for each core topic, then create additional slides that flesh out the detail.

To allow quick access, number the detail slides using the format: end slide number + 20+ main topic slide number, that way you can use the select slide number menu in PowerPoint to quickly locate the detailed slides.

Create a Proforma Scenario

Similar to the Elephant in the room, this tip can help you to make standard terms and conditions more acceptable. Using a slide codifies the policy as official and makes the prospect more likely to accept it.

For some great tips on PowerPoint in general you may want to check out check out this Rules of PowerPoint post by Guy Kawasaki.