IN TODAY’S COMPETITIVE marketplace, a sales professional’s success often depends upon his or her ability to deliver a polished and persuasive presentation. Although sales people spend 80 percent of their time verbally communicating, many suffer from common shortcomings in their sales presentations that adversely affect their results. One of the most common mistakes is delivering overly informative presentations. Of course, every solid presentation requires a certain amount of “data,” but many professionals spend too much time informing rather than persuading.
It’s easy to deliver an informative rather than persuasive presentation. The reason? A prospect typically won’t say “no” when you’re only disseminating information. The problem is they don’t say “yes” either!
One woman reluctantly confessed that she suffered from the data-dump syndrome. She was afraid of being perceived as “hard sell,” and didn’t know how to pull out the best selling points. Like many of us, she felt more comfortable in the information zone. She realized she had spent too much time sharing and consulting with her sales prospects without completing any transactions. Bummer! Her strategy was to provide more information than her competitor did. She hoped that her prospect would like her more or at least feel obligated to buy from her because she had been so thorough.
After reevaluating her presentations, she realized she needed to move beyond merely relaying information; she needed to build her case. By focusing more on brevity and tailoring her strongest points to her prospects’ needs, this young professional eventually became a consistent producer in her organization.
What makes a persuasive case?
Prepare like a debater or an attorney. Debaters and attorneys win cases based on persuasive arguments and supporting evidence. Focus on your most compelling arguments with each client or prospect.
Do you deliver a presentation that creates a true need for your product or service that your prospect may not even be aware of? Ask yourself: why you, why your company, why now? Don’t just deliver a standard list of features and benefits. (A feature is what something is. A benefit is what something does.)
Your goal is to be both informative and persuasive, pairing rock-solid information with compelling arguments. I have seen it play out time and again. If you are too informative, nothing happens. If you are too aggressive, nothing happens. Find a balance, and you’ll see results.
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About Terri Sjodin
Terri Sjodin is one of America’s most highly sought after female speakers and has trained and motivated thousands of people from all over the world. Her unique specialization is advancing the persuasive presentation skills of professionals. She is the author of the national bestselling book, Small Message, Big Impact: How to Put the Power of the Elevator Speech Effect to Work for You, which hit the New York Times’ Hardcover Advice & Misc. bestseller list, Wall Street Journal Hardcover Business bestseller list, and USA Today Money bestseller list.
She is also the author of the highly acclaimed books, “NEW SALES SPEAK – The 9 Biggest Sales Presentation Mistakes and How To Avoid Them” published by John Wiley & Sons, New York and co-
author of Mentoring – A Success Guide for Mentors and Protégés, co-written with Floyd Wickman, and published by McGraw-Hill.
Over 20 years ago, Terri went into business for herself, building Sjodin Communications in Orange County, CA from a spare room in her home. Today, Terri’s clients include an impressive list of Fortune 500 companies, industry associations, and academic conferences. Her consulting practice has taken her from her house, to the US House of Representatives, where she has served as a keynote speaker for the US House of Representatives GOP Retreat addressing approximately 235 Congressmen and Women. This has led to additional invitations to present and coach leadership on The Hill including the House Republican Press Secretary Conference, the prestigious Heritage Foundation Resource Bank event, and encore performances at the House GOP Retreat in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
In June of 2007, Terri was named one of the top five Women in Business by the Orange County Business Journal at the distinguished WIB awards. This award is presented in recognition of exceptional professional accomplishments, including business success, contributions to industry, and the Orange County community.
Beyond her success as an entrepreneur and author, Terri is a frequent guest on radio and television talk shows throughout the country appearing on CNN, CNBC, and many major network affiliates from ABC, CBS, and NBC, FOX, cable and radio.
In August of 1999, Terri received the prestigious CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) designation. Less than 7% of the 5,000 speakers who belong to the International Federation for Professional Speakers hold this professional designation.
Terri serves on the Orange County Board of Trustees for Olive Crest. Olive Crest is dedicated to preventing child abuse, to treating and educating at-risk children and to preserving the family one life at a time.
Terri graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Speech Communication. Before forming her own company, Terri was a top sales producer with both The Achievement Group and Resource Dynamics.
Her combination of academic communication theory, field research, and practical street sales experience collected during thousands of coast-to-coast business presentations cast Terri in the leading role of advising today’s professionals on becoming more polished, persuasive presenters and adapting to the changing marketplace.
Terri is a “high content” speaker – Her approach is fresh, real-world, and her style is sassy and practical. Each presentation is loaded with street-worthy ideas, methods, and tips that men and women can use immediately to get results. Many consider Terri to be today’s sales professionals’speech coach.