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[3]


Bone, Diane. The Business of Listening: A Practical Guide to Effective Listening. Page 5, 1988. Crisp
[4]

Publications Inc.
Bone, Diane. The Business of Listening: A Practical Guide to Effective Listening. Page 5, 1988. Crisp
[5]

Publications Inc.
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Notes
1. Customer Based Research Conducted by Spectrum Training Solutions Inc.

2. Dugger, Jim. Learn to Listen. Page 14. 1992. National Press Publications.

3. Bone, Diane. The Business of Listening: A Practical Guide to Effective Listening. Page 5, 1988.
Crisp Publications Inc.




Congratulations, you have now completed Step #5
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Chapter 8: Presentation Skills: Value-Added
Solutions
Congratulations on another graduation. You have successfully worked through the first five steps of the
Sequential Model, doing the groundwork to meet and exceed your customers' expectations. This next
step applies to potential new customers as well as existing customers to whom you are presenting a
new product or service.
So what is a value-added solution? It means enhancing your solution by exceeding the expectations of
your customers. It means going outside the traditional role of a sales representative to provide a solution
that truly elevates you above your closest competitor. Customers buy differences, not similarities. The
challenge is finding innovative, unique ways to exceed expectations. Cookie-cutter solutions and boring,
ho-hum presentations are all too common. As Larry Wilson writes in his book, Changing the Game:
"Instead of trying to find prospects who fit my presentation, what I needed to do was fit my presentation
to the prospect I found. [1] A simple idea, but it changed selling for me." Unfortunately for customers,
sales representatives continue to try to fit them into canned, rehearsed presentations. Or they try to
close the sale based on price, instead of offering a value-added solution. Sadly enough, customers are
often saddled with the burden of trying to differentiate among proposals that imitate each other”me-too,
cookie-cutter solutions that seduce customers with little more than the lowest price. Your responsibility
is to make it easy for your customer to decide, to remove the stress of uncertainty.

Why Should I Buy From You?
"Why should I buy from you?" is a universal question, one that "stalls the call" and puts salespeople
into a tailspin, struggling with a response that does little to excite the customer. I've seen it happen far
too often. Openly challenged, the salesperson retreats deep into his or her comfort zone responding
with a well-rehearsed feature dump, hoping to avoid a crash and burn situation. We know the result all
too well. Another presentation ending in tragedy, another lost sale.
The "Why should I buy from you?" question needs to be answered with a well-prepared presentation
that addresses the benefits of both parties doing business together. Your success relies on how well
you probed, identified expectations, and then satisfied those expectations by presenting the attributes
your company can offer. Don't make the all-too-common mistake of telling your story from your point of
view, but rather present your story from the customers' point of view. You must weave appropriate
benefits into your presentation so that customers clearly see your solution as helping their business run
more efficiently. True story: Two gentlemen were getting their hair cut. Person A was a VP at a large oil
company and person B was the president of a different company. Person A knew B and introduced
himself and his company saying, "My people were recently in to see your people." Person B responded
by saying, in his Texas accent, "That's interesting. What you-all goin' to do for us?" I couldn't have said
it any better myself. Customers expect innovative, value-added solutions that become assets to their
business. If you are doing a good job, you should be aware of your customers' expectations. Your
presentation does not happen in isolation. It is supported by the first five steps of the Sequential Model,
including a thorough Discovery step, earning the right to present. Remember, your model allows for no
missing pieces.
Wilson, Larry. Changing the Game: The New Way to Sell. Page 81, 1987. Simon & Schuster Inc..
[1]
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Neutralize the Competition
Creative sellers get the sale and the gold medal. Through effective Discovery, sales entrepreneurs work
with customers to present creative solutions that exceed expectations. Exceeding is the key, the
essence of a convincing presentation. If you simply meet their expectations, that's just doing your job,
no big deal, so what? Sales entrepreneurs ask themselves; "How can I use my imagination and
creativity to make a vivid impression on my customer? How can I make my presentation different and
stronger?" Eliminate routine, boring, predictable presentations. Chances are your customer has
endured hundreds of me-too presentations, so make yours different, make it fun. The key to neutralizing
your competition is innovation.
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Ten Key Ingredients
To help you differentiate yourself and neutralize the competition, I offer ten key ingredients of an
effective, creative presentation. They apply whether you are presenting to an individual, a committee, or
a group.
1. Enjoy Yourself. Enjoy what you are doing. Selling is fun, not a battle of wits between
customer and salesperson, so loosen up and enjoy. Believe in yourself and what you
are selling, supported by the right mental attitude. Add your own style of enthusiasm
and be somewhat entertaining as well as informative. After all, you are on stage.
Communicate your belief in yourself and your product or service by exhibiting sincere
enthusiasm. Involve your customer when and if appropriate. I tell my customers that I
sell entertrainment. At my seminars you're going to learn something but you will have
fun in the process. When was the last time you learned something that was boring or
presented in lackluster fashion? You probably haven't”boredom stifles learning.
Rekindle your enthusiasm if necessary and present with gusto.
Another aspect of enjoying yourself is looking good, feeling good. I often suggest the most
important presentation of the day is to yourself in the mirror. You must be confident of your
appearance prior to a confident delivery. People love to visualize and the visual sense is
very, very powerful. In fact, it is the visual impression that makes the greatest impact.
Remember, people buy you with their eyes within 10 seconds. As a result, our verbal
content can be virtually smothered by the vocal and visual components.
Research suggests that the believability of a message is evaluated on three elements; 7
percent verbal, 38 percent vocal, and 55 percent visual. [2] "What you do speaks so loud I
can't hear what you say." Great words spoken by Ralph Emerson.
The fun of it all begins with the process of looking and feeling good. Don your best outfit, fill
your lungs with confidence, and within ten seconds your audience will be impressed with
your presentation.
2. Prepare and prepare some more. Preparation is key to a smooth, fluid presentation.
Any good seminar on presentation skills will tell you, "Don't try to eliminate the
butterflies, simply get them to fly in formation." Having the butterflies is a form of
positive energy that will help you get started and make a smooth transition into the
body of your presentation. Here is a guideline that I use: Every five minutes of
presentation time requires one hour of preparation time. Thus, a 15-minute presentation
requires a minimum of three hours preparation. Trust me, this formula works. As one
anonymous quote suggests, "Every time you open your mouth, your mind is on
parade." Preparation will ensure your parade looks sharp, sounds sharp, and dazzles
your audience. Make it fresh, not canned.
Another suggestion is to rehearse your presentation by delivering it aloud to a wall. Pick a
quiet place, perhaps at home, stand back from a wall then go through your presentation, at
least the verbal part. If you do it a couple of times to the wall, you'll be amazed how easy it
is when you do it live.
As a professional keynote speaker, I spend days preparing for a half-day keynote. Here is
another guideline: Be cognizant of when you prepare. Don't use valuable selling hours to do
your homework. I refer you back to Tim Commandment #4 in Chapter 4 (page 97).
Know your customer's style type. Consider how you might design your presentation
3.
to appeal to different style types. A presentation to a Director should be totally different
than to a Socializer or a Thinker. Each style has different expectations that cannot be
ignored (Chapter 6).
Socializer. Must be fun, entertaining, and stimulating. Sell sizzle more than steak. Make
your presentation colorful and upbeat, showing how your product or service will enhance your
customer's status and visibility.
Director. Must be short, to the point, businesslike, outlining the main points. Time will be
limited so don't waste it with unnecessary conversation or detail. Present the facts and the
results they can expect to see. Give them options where they can make decisions.
Thinker. Must be logical, informative, and detail-oriented. Thinkers are very analytical,
looking for accurate information, honesty, and reliability. Back up your presentation with
supportive documentation and data and a lot of technological punch. Don't expect a decision
that day. Thinkers need time to mull it over, working out any possible bugs. Arrange a
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specific time to follow up.
Relater. Must be sensitive to the people side of the business. Ask for opinions and feelings
and show how your solution will be compatible with other departments within the company.
Use lots of references and testimonials. Relaters need to know that other customers support
your product or service. They tend to follow the norm, guided by routine, so don't make your
solution too bizarre or outlandish.
When presenting to a committee or to more than one individual, tailor your presentation to
the style type of the decision maker among the group. Identify who the key individual is prior
to the meeting, and design your presentation and your approach to reflect his or her style.
You cannot be all things to all people, so don't even try. It makes for a very awkward
presentation if you try to satisfy everyone by floating among the four styles. I caution you.
Don't present until you have determined who will be there and why. Don't ever go into a
presentation blind; do your homework. If you can't meet committee members prior to the
presentation, at least talk to them on the phone to determine their style and their role in the
decision-making process.
Involve the senses. A Chinese proverb says: "Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I may
4.
remember. Involve me, I'll understand." Up to 82% of what we learn is through sight.
Take advantage of these findings and include visuals where you can, within reason. The
more senses you can engage in your presentation, the better”visual, auditory, or
kinesthetic (touch it, feel it). Research demonstrates that visual input makes the
greatest impact. Psychologists agree that viewing something three times has a lasting
impression and improves retention and recall. However, don't show up to your next
presentation with 56 overheads colorfully presented on PowerPoint.
Be benefit-oriented. People don't buy what something is, they buy what something
5.
does. Avoid presenting your features, they do nothing to stimulate the customer into
action. Benefits will. By talking about benefits you keep your customer's attention
focused on the "what's in it for me" aspect. A sobering thought to consider when
presenting: Your average customers will immediately forget 50% of what you told them
and after only 48 hours will forget up to 75% of your message. Ouch! All the more
reason to captivate your customers' attention by using all their senses, presenting
benefits, and having fun.
Avoid corporate jargon. Nothing loses customers faster than confusion. Don't use
6.
gobbledegook that may confuse them; use their language and their lingo and provide
explanations where appropriate. My suggestion is to present simple concepts first, then
complex ones later in the presentation. Presenting simple concepts early will help warm
the audience to your style and make it easier for them to understand the complex ones
later. Customers are sceptical of razzle-dazzle presentations; straightforwardness and
honesty should be your guideposts.
Exceed expectations. The first step is to know what 100% is, then exceed it. Know
7.
what your customer expects from you. You only learn that by asking. Unless you
clearly understand what the 100% mark is, you run the risk of delivering a solution that
falls short of expectations. Delivering a solution that you are excited about does little to
advance the sale if it is only at 90% of customers' expectations. Once again, that may
be the reason you get beat up on price. A 90% solution doesn't cut it, not nowadays.
To exceed expectations, you only have to go an extra inch, not an extra mile. All it takes is
a little extra effort, giving customers something they didn't expect. Exceed expectations by
delivering an extra unexpected 1%: The 1% solution. It really doesn't take much to exceed
expectations. Just as little things can turn a customer off, little things will turn a customer
on. An example of a 1% solution would be just as you are leaving the store with your new
CD player, the salesperson you dealt with stops you at the door and says, "Thank you for
your business, I appreciate it. Why don't you go over to the rack and pick out a free CD of
your choice? It's on me." Would that impress you? No doubt it would. The potential return on
positive word of mouth is certainly worth the investment of giving away a free CD. Keep in
mind, though, no two customers are alike. Not every customer will appreciate a free CD so
you will need to vary your 1% solutions. Each customer comes with a unique set of
expectations and perceptions that must be revealed during the Discovery step. It stands to
reason, then, that no two presentations or solutions will be the same. I suggest that from
now on you deliver a solution that is 101% of expectations”under-promise and overdeliver.
Don't simply satisfy your customers”surprise them.
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Be professional. Your only option as a sales entrepreneur is to be guided by a
8.
professional code of conduct: walk the talk. It is critical that your verbal presentation be
in sync with your visual presentation. That means sound professional and look
professional. Don't show up looking like a bum but sounding like a pro, or vice versa.
Also, use professional language, don't swear or use slang. Even if your customer is
using colorful superlatives, don't lower yourself. Maintain a level of conduct that says
you are a professional, a true sales entrepreneur. Yes, be yourself, but don't engage in
activity or conversation that erodes your credibility or your professional conduct. Also,
be consistent. Customers are sceptical and suspicious of inconsistent behavior. You
have worked hard to get to the presentation stage. Don't blow it by being inconsistent
throughout the sales process. The Sequential Model demands professional consistency
at every step”no missing pieces.
Take the customer to the presentation. Rather than struggling to take all your stuff
9.
to your customers, it can be easier and a bit more exciting to take your customers out
of the office on a field trip. Take them on a tour of your facility or perhaps show them
your product already in use at one of your other customers' locations. I have known
salespeople who have flown potential customers to tour their head office and meet the
president and some of the personnel who will be involved in servicing them. Once again,
most people are visual, so take advantage of that and show them anytime you get the
chance. It's worth the trip and the investment.
This approach also communicates pride and clearly demonstrates your commitment to the
relationship as well as the conviction that your solution is right for them.
10. Action plan. Don't limit your role to that of a presenter. As an entrepreneur you are
there to present an entire package, which includes a next step”an action plan. Don't
finish with, "Thanks for having me in. I'll call you next week." Ask for feedback, then
determine a specific call to action. This could be a specific day and time to follow up,
an appointment for a follow-up visit, a tour, a meeting with the design people, and so on.
Don't leave empty handed.
Decker, Bert. You've Got to Be Believed to Be Heard: Reach The First Brain to Communicate in Business
[2]

and In Life. Page 84, 1992. St. Martin's Press.
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Managing Objections: Friend or Foe?
"If only my customers would quit raising objections, selling would be a lot easier." No doubt this
statement reflects the thoughts of many sales representatives, especially those with limited experience.
One thing is certain about objections: they have a nasty habit of popping out of nowhere during the
sales call. They can appear anywhere, at any time, and usually without warning. Nothing strikes fear in
a sales representative's eyes faster than an unexpected objection.

Selling today involves an array of sophisticated skills. Many sales experts agree that the "moment of
truth" of closing won't happen until you have listened to, understood, and successfully resolved any
objections the customer has. Overcoming objections is your ticket to sales success”the gold medal.
Objections are strange things. Most objections are really questions or concerns in disguise. They are

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