You Are Always Selling and Negotiating

You are always negotiating
The accountant was a partner at a major accounting firm. She was clearly qualified as an expert in her field. She admitted to me that she was quite comfortable talking about her area of expertise to her clients. She was sincerely willing to help her clients.

The point where she ran into difficulty was selling her services to the client. She got anxious when discussing the price and detested “closing the deal”.

Accounting training had not prepared her for the angst of selling your value.

Every presentation is a sales presentation even if you don’t want to see yourself as a salesperson. Every time you speak you must convince people to listen to you, trust you and believe what you say. Most importantly you must convince them to act on what you say.

You are selling your credibility, ideas, services and team. When offering professional services you are also selling your experience, personality, character, strengths and flaws.

Yes, sell your flaws. Tell your audience what you don’t know. And tell them what you can do to get that information. Tell them what you won’t do. That’s more important that you might think. Clients need to you know your limits – and so do you.

I had a conference call with a prospect on a Friday who asked for a response from me for Monday. I told them that I don’t work on the weekend and would have their answer for Tuesday. After a pregnant pause, they agreed. They hired me to train their staff on presentation skills.

In the 1997 movie, The Devil’s Advocate, Keanu Reeves ask Al Pacino (The Devil) “Are we negotiating? The devil answers, “We’re always negotiating.”

When you speak – you are negotiating – you are selling – you are attempting to persuade your audience.

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How to Start Your Sales Presentation

Tell your success story
An effective way to start your sales presentation is with a success story. That story should be a true account of how your solution helped a past client. Keep the story as short as possible. Include the obstacle, your solution and the results. Numbers solidify the story. For example I often use the story about how I helped my client close a $10 Million deal.

Yes you should have the permission of the successful client to tell their story. For the sake of privacy, you might not mention the client’s name. Instead you might mention the type of business.

Your audience should be able to relate to your client and see themselves in your story. A story about what you did for Apple might not connect with members of a farm co-operative.

After relating the success story talk about this prospect’s situation and how you might be able to help them.

At this point your listeners will either be keenly interested or not at all. In either case you will know what to do next. If they are not interested, pack up and leave. Don’t waste time continuing the rest of your prepared presentation. If they are interested, it might be time for some question and answer.

Notice those simple yet effective two steps to open your sales presentation.

Don’t take the winding yet well-worn path that many sales presentations blindly stumble along.

They start talking about their company, the president, the founder’s story, their mission statement and their personal history with the company.

None of those things are important to your prospects.

Yet many sales presentations are designed that way.

There is likely only one person who might like to hear that nonsense – the president of your company. Too many sales presentations are designed to placate the president and not to capture the attention of the prospect.

Another benefit of leading with your success story is that your presentation can be much shorter and still succeed. The client whom I helped win the $10 Million deal was allotted 60 minutes by the prospect. But my client delivered a 12-minute deal-closing presentation.

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Who are the better presenters? Extraverts or Introverts

Tortise & hare - extraverts vs introverts
When you look at your friends you probably can easily indentify those who are clearly extraverts and those who are clearly introverts. There might be a group about which you are not sure. The most likely reason might be that they are of one color but have learned to adapt their communication style to the other side when required.

I’m biased. I’m an introvert. That means that I see the world better from the perspective of introverts. However, I’ve learned how to express myself both in writing and in a presentation. People in my audience might not believe that I’m an introvert.

Ask an extravert “Tell me about yourself” and he immediately starts talking. “I was born in a log cabin…” When he’s done, he believes that he answered the question better than anyone else. Naturally, the extravert doesn’t ask, “Did I answer your question?”

Ask an introvert, “Tell me about yourself” and she will likely ask you a few questions before and after she replies.

There are exceptions. Sometimes an introvert is so passionate about her topic that she transforms herself into an extravert for that conversation.

Extraverts seem to find it very difficult to transform themselves into an introvert.

Who makes a better presenter? Introverts or extraverts?

Extraverts can be attention grabbing and entertaining. Introverts can learn to do that and more importantly, introverts listen to the audience better.

What could be more important than that?

In my opinion as an introvert – extraverts get out of the starting blocks quicker, but introverts can overtake them. Consider it the race between the tortoise and the hare.

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Guidelines for Presentation Success - Free eBook

How to manage things that go wrong in your presentation
When preparing your presentation, consider the things that might go wrong and plan how you might handle them.

Take the precautions to minimize the possibility or impact of things going wrong.

Accept the reality that perfection is not the goal. Being effective with your presentation is the goal.

When things go wrong, appear calm and stay in control of the show. Remind yourself to pause, breathe deeply and smile. This is likely the most important point you can learn from this report.

Never lose self-control. There are many things you can’t control but your behaviour is the one thing for which you are totally accountable. Don’t appear to be angry, arrogant or frustrated. And don’t pretend to be blameless. You can’t control what happens to you but you can control how you deal with it.

When things go wrong, don’t blame somebody else. The audience is looking at you. They are judging your reaction – not the circumstances.

As the speaker you always have the option to end early or take a break.

Sometimes a disaster in your presentation can be a gift because your audience will suddenly perk up and remember how you managed the disaster. Handle it well and you might win their respect and more.

If your audience likes you, they are more forgiving than you think. Establish rapport with your audience early so they are onside when disaster strikes.

Focus your efforts on the portion of your audience that you have a realistic chance of reaching.

Murphy doesn’t hate you. He simply encourages chaos
to watch you squirm.
Torok’s First Presentation Corollary to Murphy’s Law

Click here to download your free copy of
How to Manage Things That go Wrong in Your Presentation

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