By Brian Barfield
Last time, I shared some insight into examining your selling style and how to create one that is more effective with the modern day customer. To complement that topic, I’d now like to discuss a very important process that can help make you more efficient and effective in selling your customer: the importance of learning to manage your sales presentation.
The unfortunate truth is many sales associates today do not know how to properly manage their sales presentation. Without this skill, you’ll find yourself in marathon sales that will drain you and exhaust your energy.
As I share with you this valuable information, I’d like you to remember one thing in particular—the focus of your sale must always be on taking care of your customers and meeting their needs. I remind you of this because if you are not careful, this insight could be used to manipulate and disconnect you from your customer. Without genuine care for your client, my advice will only hurt you in the long run. Please keep this in mind as we move forward.
In the past, we have all been trained to ask questions that ultimately guide us to a quick close. The core of this concept is to ask the right questions, listen, and address the expressed need. Many of us have found great success in learning to ask open-ended questions and truly listen to our customers. In a way, this technique was the beginning of managing your sales presentation and it has served you well.
Building on those concepts, I would like to share insight that can help you manage your sales presentation more effectively.
The first important skill is the ability to cut the fat from your sales presentation. As a sales associate, you want to your interaction with the client to be lean, healthy, and effective. Utilizing the skills you have cultivated for decades and combining them with an aptitude for personal communication can achieve this goal. Remember, selling too little or too much can greatly affect your chances of greater success.
Here is an example: While engaging your customer, they share with you their child just received the lead role in the school play. The proper way to handle this is use a new technique I call ‘AMMO.’ It stands for acknowledge, motivate, and move on!
This is how I would handle that situation: “Wow! That is amazing, Cathy! You must be very proud. I didn’t know Zach was an actor. Those skills will serve him well down the road in life.” At this point I would move on unless the customer chooses to continue. Most of the time, they are also ready to get back to the business at hand, as you have acknowledged and motivated them.
There are two ways this same situation can snowball and cost you valuable time and precious energy.
First, you acknowledge, motivate, and stay on the subject for an extended period. There is nothing morally wrong with that, as you are building a solid relationship with your customer. Yet, in today’s world of sales, it can cost you dearly. While you are going back and forth for an hour, three potential customers have walked in and you have missed an opportunity to impact their lives in a meaningful way. Even when the original customer purchases something, your time could have been more efficiently and effectively utilized tending to more clients.
The second negative scenario would be to acknowledge, share your own story, and duke it out as to who has the better story. It sounds silly, but I see it happen all the time. In our scenario, it would go something like this. “Wow! That’s great Cathy! You know my niece Sally was the lead in last year’s play.” Now the stage is set—you both are going to give your best performance to make sure your story stands out the most. It sounds funny, but when you see it from afar, it is tough to watch—especially if you are a store manager or owner—as you are watching sales associates who may be less talented or skilled serve new customers.
I want to be very clear; I am not suggesting you be rude or ignore your customer’s excitement or experience. As you can see, there is a very fine line between being viewed as shallow or the customer’s best friend. I am simply suggesting you make it all about your customer and not about yourself. Do not steal their show. Give them the passion and energy they deserve, while at the same time managing your time more wisely.
The simple fact is I could write a whole series of articles just on managing your sales presentation. For now, I am simply sharing with you a few simple insights that could open an avenue for great success. The next time you go into a sales presentation, make sure you are more aware of your time management and potential to become more effective and efficient. Learn to master the fine line and give your customer an amazing experience, while creating more opportunities for yourself to make a living. There is nothing wrong with being successful and making money if you are doing things the right way.
I would encourage you to build upon these concepts and create your own reality of success. Next time, I will share the importance of selling with vision and insight.
This article is based on the book, “Modern Day Selling: Unlocking your Hidden Potential,” by Brian Barfield. For more information, visit his website at www.moderndayselling.com or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.