You May Be Asking By Now – When Do We Give The Presentation?

Unlike most sales professionals, I don’t recommend doing a presentation for the customer unless it’s necessary to close the sale. Although most sales people want to give lots of presentations and proposals, I believe it is only worth doing if the following conditions are met:

1. The prospect needs to be a good fit for your firm (some clients aren’t worth having).
2. The prospect’s needs can to be served by your core competencies.
3. You have to have a verified budget from the prospect (no need to present a proposal if the prospect can’t afford it).
4. You have confirmed that the primary decision maker is going to be at the presentation.
5. You have an agreement with your prospect as to what the next steps are after you give your presentation or proposal. Never give a proposal to a prospect until you have gotten their agreement that there are no TIO’s (think it overs).

If you’ve completed the five steps listed above, you’re now ready to prepare your presentation/proposal. Make sure you focus on the prospect’s issues (which you uncovered in the last step of the sales process), and use the presentation/proposal to show the prospect how your solution will fix or address the pain that they are experiencing as a result of those issues. Use this opportunity to link the recommended solutions to your core competencies as well. Finally, while you’re preparing, give yourself enough time to get the proposal done right. It’s not worth providing a prospect with a ‘half-done’ presentation/proposal; after all, it is a direct reflection on you and your company.

When the day of the presentation arrives, ensure that you can present in person (see step 4). Remember it’s not worth ‘dropping off’ your presentation or proposal – you need to be there in person and assure that your agreed upon next steps are followed. Remember, if you drop the proposal off you can’t ask the prospect when you’re meeting with them again or what they need in order to be 100% comfortable making a commitment to you for the solution. Always present in person.

After your presentation, it will be time to determine the next step. Is the prospect prepared to commit to your solution? If not, exactly what else do they need in order to commit? This is not a time to be arrogant with the prospect, although it is a prime opportunity for you to set yourself apart from your competition by getting the prospect to tell you what it’s going to take to do business. Remember, when you walk out of this meeting – as with any other sales meeting – you need a clearly defined next step so that both you and the prospect know what’s happening next and within what time frame it is happening.

Ultimately, by following this process you will either close the sale or quickly learn that you won’t be able to do business with the prospect. Although we prefer to make the sale, getting a clear ‘NO’ from the prospect is far more valuable than having them string you along for weeks, months or even longer while you are of the belief that you still have a chance to make a sale with them.

Next time, what do we do after we get the prospect’s commitment?

Jonathan Mast

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