How to improve your sales and presentation skills

By: Darren Wrigley

As a sales professional you will have many tools in your armoury to gain a sale, from delivering a killer presentation to those vital closing techniques and confidently overcoming objections.

Every sales person has their own techniques and style but we've pulled together some ideas and suggestions in our sales skills resources section below.

How do I give a presentation?

  • Decide on what your objectives are.
  • Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!! Practice – ideally in front of someone who can give objective feedback.
  • Use visual aids and handouts.
  • It's the way that you tell them - research shows that the message you give is 55% body language, 38% how you sound and only 7% what you say.
  • Like a story, a presentation should have a beginning, middle and an end.
  • Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you told them. i.e. summarise and make it crystal clear what your message is.
  • Use techniques such as SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to give structure and direction to your presentation.
  • If you are using a laptop, take your charger and run through it thoroughly before you arrive.
  • Also take notes/print out in case the worse happens and your laptop fails you at that critical moment!
  • Get a second opinion from your On Target Recruitment Consultant.

How do I handle objections?

  • LISTEN
  • EMPATHISE & SYMPATHISE
  • CLARIFY & QUESTION
  • OVERCOME & CLOSE
  • MOVE ON!

There are lots of clichés stating that objections are simply requests for information. They may be - whatever they are, they need to be handled!

The key is finding out what they are interested in or want. 'Send me some literature' can be a legitimate request, or a stall to get rid of you. Try this response: 'I will. What specifically would you like to see?' This can be a major door opener, will help determine if the person is sincere and give you an idea of their interest level. If they can't describe what they're looking for, it's apparent they don't have a desire to see anything. If they mention specifics, you might be able to answer their requests by phone. Either way, you have a better idea of where you stand with them.

Closing – how to get that sale!

You are not a professional sales person if you don't ask for the order! Some of these ideas might help...

1. The Hot Button Close
Warm up your customers by pushing their hot buttons - emphasising those benefits you know they find irresistible. In the following script, the salesperson uncovers price as one of the customer's hot buttons and emphasises that the more expensive T-shirt will actually save her money in the long run:
Customer: I like this T-shirt but it's pretty expensive.
Salesperson: Less expensive T-shirts tend to wear out easily and shrink. This shirt will last you a lot longer and give you more use, so it will actually cost you less in the long run.

2. The Invitational Close
If you want it, you have to ask for it. Don't just wait for the customer to say, 'I'll take it.' They don't. Make a persuasive argument for your product, including the reasons why your customer should buy, then invite them to do it. Say, 'Why don't you give us a try? Go ahead and do it.'

3. The Summary Close
To use the summary close, simply reiterate the customer's needs and wants, and how your product satisfies them: 'From what you've told me, you want a gift that can be personalised, is suitable for a business associate, and fits your budget. These pen and pencil sets are exactly what you need. Don't you agree?'

4. The Testimonial Close
To build credibility and reassure your customer that they're making a wise decision, tell them about the success other people have had with your product. Collect letters or stories and share them with your customers to eliminate buying anxiety:
Customer: I'm not sure this will work for me.
Salesperson: These people use these skin products and they have had fabulous results. You will, too.

5. The 'Just Suppose' Close
In this close the sales person asks customers if they would buy if their objections didn't exist. This tactic also helps you uncover and address hidden objections:
Customer: Your price is too high.
Salesperson: Just suppose you felt our price was fair - would you buy it then?

6. The Alternate Choice Close
Sometimes the easiest way to make a sale is to decide for the buyer. Instead of offering customers the chance to say 'no' to your product, give them a different choice to make: 'Do you prefer this in red or black?' or 'Would you like the tape recorder with voice activation or not?'

7. The Reverse Close
The reverse close turns customer's reasons why they shouldn't buy into reasons why they should. When your customer voices an objection, think of a benefit to that objection and add the phrase: 'That's the very reason you should buy.'
Customer: Your price is too high.
Salesperson: That's the very reason you should buy. The slightly higher price buys you a higher quality, longer lasting product that will save you money on maintenance costs.

Whatever your product, good selling depends on good preparation. The more closes you know, the better you're prepared to face that moment of truth at the end of your presentation. Instead of locking yourself into two or three closes, give yourself more options - more chances to make the sale. Remember, you need to ask customers to buy more than once because of their fear of making a decision. With so many effective ways to close a sale, odds are you'll be able to choose more than one to close your next buyer and get that sale!

Top 10 tips to improve your sales

  • Target the right person.
  • Focus on what customers care about.
  • Tell customers how to think about your company.
  • Be in the right place at the right time.
  • Be relentless.
  • Make prospect identification your mission.
  • Focus on why customers should break down the doors to do business with you.
  • Develop a sense of excitement.
  • Give your customers the opportunity to respond.
  • Qualify your customer as a genuine buyer before investing too much time in them.

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