Let's face it. After meeting with hundreds of merchants, it can become challenging to be zestful during presentations and to remember that each business owner or manager you meet is unique.
So how do you keep from falling into a rut? For many, the secret is in preparation. In Good Selling!SM: The Basics, Paul H. Green wrote, "Before you arrive at the meeting, know exactly how you will target your service to each prospect. What will you stress? What will you offer? How will you negotiate? If you sit down and figure out the answers to these questions before every meeting, you will realize that each selling situation is truly unique."
In Street SmartsSM, Are you selling or telling Part 3: Everyone likes to smile," The Green Sheet, Sept. 22, 2014, issue 14:09:02, Tom Waters and Ben Abel advised that adding humor can enliven presentations and help build relationships. "Humor also assists in anchoring your sales presentation with an enjoyable experience, as opposed to a series of spreadsheets and numbers," they wrote.
Jeff Fortney, who goes by the moniker Clearent in GS Online's MLS Forum, responded to Waters and Abel, stating, ""[A]s much as I think humor is important, you must first know your prospect. For example, sarcasm and self-deprecation are commonly used humor types. But if a merchant is not comfortable with you, or with either of these, you could as easily lose the sale. Yes, use humor, but be careful where and how it's used until you are comfortable with them, and more importantly, they are comfortable with you."
Waters and Abel agreed, further stating, "Every prospect or client is different. … One important sales skill is to understand the person you sit across the table from."
In "How to propel merchants to shed comfortable habits," The Green Sheet, Nov. 26, 2012, issue 12:11:02, Rick Berry suggested going above and beyond in tailoring presentations. "What's stopping us from having a customized demo that shows prospects how the solution would work in their distinct retail or restaurant environments? After all, chances are excellent that their products or menu items are all online (at least they should be). So we have access to that information long before the presentation.
"How much staff time would be involved in creating a streamlined, customized presentation that uses a simplified version of the prospect's product catalog or actual menu, as well as a simplified version of the inventory, and then shows the merchant or restaurateur how the system brings it all together and integrates with QuickBooks or other accounting solutions, as well? … In the beginning, each presentation would be individualized, but templates would emerge, and streamlining would occur as a result."
Biff Matthews reminded folks not to go overboard. In "Principles for success 2010," The Green Sheet, Dec. 14, 2009, issue 09:12:01, he wrote, "[A]voiding boredom is an ongoing challenge for type A personalities; as a result they improvise, sometimes to their detriment. Remember that your presentation though delivered many times, remains fresh to the prospect. So, if it works, resist the impulse to change it."
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