By Peter Watts
What is your primary goal in making a sales presentation? It’s to sell something.
So why do so many sales-presenters try to conceal the fact? You might be amongst them. Do your sales presentations open with phrases such as:
- “Your success is important, and we’re going to look at how our products can help you be even more successful.”
- “We’ve helped many organizations achieve benefits, and in this presentation we’ll explore how we could help you to do the same”
- “The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate how our products offer you the best value solution.”
All commendable sentiments, but also great big honking fibs!
A lot of salespeople, especially the salespeople with the really big impressive job titles such as “Senior Strategic Account Director” or some other business-card hokum, have internalized the message that selling is just a little bit dirty. To be after the customer’s cash is sleazy and liable to make them doubt your credibility.
Actually no. If you want to make the audience doubt your credibility then attempting to conceal the primary purpose of your presentation is a far better place to start!
You’re there to sell and the customer is there to buy.
It’s actually two highly compatible agendas.
Within public speaking there is a topic called ethos, and this is all about credibility. As public speaking expert Andrew Dlugan explains, ethos is everything you include in a presentation to show that you are credible in your subject, trustworthy as a speaker, and compatible with the audience viewpoint.
There are things that you can do throughout the sections of a presentation to build-up your ethos as a speaker, but nowhere is ethos more important than the section right at the beginning. This is where the audience asks themselves: “Can we trust this person?”
If you’ve just started your presentation with a sweet sounding but rather transparent fib about your primary purpose, then what do you think you just did to your ethos level?
You avoided any words to do with sales because you didn’t want to sound sleazy, but instead you’ve made yourself sound evasive. And sleazy!
Here are some ideas for professional ways to tell the customer that you’re interested in the colour of their money:
- “I would love to be able to welcome you as a customer.”
- “I would be delighted to have your business.”
- “I want to demonstrate how buying our product will meet your goals.”
All of these statements say “I want your business”, and all of these statements start with the first person “I”. This is important. It’s you that’s standing in front of the customer, and you that is asking them to believe the words that are about to come. Even if you are representing a larger organization, using the word “I” gives meat and ownership to those words.
Now for the little bit of blog-magic. Take any of those three phrases in red, and stick them in front of any of the three earlier phrases in blue. The result sounds a lot stronger doesn’t it.
By being upfront, you create transparency. Transparency creates trust. Trust creates credibility.
Credibility creates a winning sales presentation.