Online Sales Presentations – Effectively Selling Value on Web Demonstrations

In today’s Web 2.0 world, the use of online web conferences for the purpose of selling or demonstrating a product or service are becoming more and more popular with companies employing a business to business [B2B] sales force. The proliferation of platforms including market leaders Go To Meeting and WebEx with many secondary competitors such as Dim Dim, Glance and Fuze all offer the same basic service and are all vying for market share. These platforms can prove to be a valuable and cost effective way to sell products or services for 3 main reasons: 1) The cost of travel to/from sales presentations is eliminated. Airfare, rental car, hotels and meals are not required. 2) In what used to take up to 3 days including travel to visit a sales prospect can be done in an hour or less. This allows a salesperson to increase the number of sales presentations by up to 15x! 3) A salesperson just needs the skills it takes to speak and present effectively online, which many find much more comfortable rather than speaking in person. This opens the door for many more qualified salespeople requiring less salary than a typical “road warrior” type salesperson further reducing the cost of sale for companies. All this being said, very few sales people know how to effectively use this platform and in the following article I’ll outline why a web conference is NOT a phone sale, the 5 biggest mistakes most commonly made using this platform and how to best duplicate a “face to face” selling environment online.

Selling over the phone is a dying method for selling products & services. National “Do Not Call” lists, voice mail, cell phones, phone screeners and decision makers spending less time in a standard office environment all contribute to the decline in the effectiveness of traditional inside, phone sale. The good news is web conferencing and demonstrations bring something new to the table; visual evidence, convenience & privacy. Asking a prospect to spend 15-30 minutes viewing the latest & greatest product or service that can benefit them is a much easier request to fill than hoping to catch someone at their desk and spit out enough info to avoid being hung up on. Effective web demonstrations are generally set in advance by the use of marketing channels much like a traditional face to face meeting but with much more flexibility in availability since travel & geographic constraints are eliminated. Like the traditional phone sale, the prospect is able to keep a virtual boundary that is lost in a face to face meeting which results in many more prospects agreeing to meet with you…online. The prospect is less fearful that a pushy salesman will show up and cause them to purchase something on the spot. If presented properly, prospects actually feel like your offering them the opportunity to view something of value rather than feel like they are doing a favor by not hanging the phone up. All of the above contributes to a less intrusive, more accepted and increasingly popular sales opportunity.

Many salespeople that utilize this new method of selling don’t realize that because this is not a traditional phone sale that their approach has to be different than what they might be used to with a typical over-the-phone sales pitch. Many salespeople still “show up & throw up” and bombard their prospect with as much information as they can in the shortest amount of time. It’s as if they are still afraid of the hang up and are trying to get across as much information before the dial tone sets in. A web demonstration is the complete opposite and should be treated as such. During a web demonstration, you have earned the prospects undivided attention for pre-specified time to introduce the benefits of your product or service. Another common mistake is salespeople tend to “lecture” over the demonstration. This brings back memories in the prospect’s mind of sitting in class watching a projector or blackboard. Extremely Boring! The goal is to encourage involvement and facilitate a meaningful conversation that will uncover the prospects “hot buttons” or what can be described as a “needs analysis”. If this is done properly, the prospect has given you a road map on exactly to how to sell them! This brings to mind another point. Listen! Listen! Listen! The old saying God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason especially holds true here. If you pay attention to the parts of demonstration that generate the most interest and listen to their questions and comments, the prospect will reveal the key to earning their business. Finally you must respect the prospect’s time. Before any demonstration you should set the time frame of how long this presentation will last. If it runs long because they extend it through questions and conversation, that’s okay! In fact that is what you want, however, if you end up doing most of the talking it better wrap up in the allotted time or you instantly become pest. Today’s sales environment is all about permission, not intrusion. When you set the expectations of the web demonstration you basically getting permission to present your product or service for that appointment time only. Don’t overstay your welcome.

Web Conferencing and Demonstrations will continue to gain popularity as the cost of doing business steadily increases. As a salesperson this is a skill set that is necessary to learn as soon as possible. If done properly, you can earn more money in less time and in many companies never leave your house. Web demonstrations creates a virtual marketplace that is inexpensive and highly effective.

Leaves Your Audience Hungry For More! — Presentations That Get Results

Regardless, if your goal is to make a sale or educate. You don’t want to fall prey to the mistakes that many presenters make — loading us down with piles and piles of information and communication hodgepodge. Excellent presentations are designed to anchor in the key points that are relevant for influencing the listeners to take some kind of action.

When you make a presentation to a committee, corporate board of directors or presenting an all day seminar, your aim is to accomplish two very important goals. First, it is crucial that your audience walk away with a “Top of the Mind” memorable experience. Second, you want to influence your audience to take an immediate or future action. Every, presentation should have an outcome and action steps for your audience to take.

For us to accomplish those two goals we need to help the audience focus-in on our presentation so that we touch and communicate with the head and heart of our audience. Effectively, we want to mesmerize, hold their attention and filter out any outside distractions that would compete with our presentation and desired outcome.

We are visual beings by nature. Our eyes, being the most powerful information conduit to the brain, are always in motion feeding us images and disrupting our thought processes. People have limited attention spans and information processing capabilities. Therefore, we as presenters need to simplify the communications to hold attention for influencing the thinking of our audience.

I use a very powerful communication technique that anyone can apply with their very next presentation to accomplish extraordinary results. Your presentation and visuals will communicate faster, clearer, better and be more congruent — eliminating the communication hodgepodge that so many presenters use.

First, reduce all you visuals to pictures and either eliminate words and numbers altogether or reduce them to three or less per visual. Visuals should be used as anchors to support your key points that you want your audience to remember.

Second, your visuals must be associated in some ridiculous and/or illogical way for transferring key points and word phases for your audience to remember and retain your information.

A simple example is: You are giving a financial report showing an increase in earnings for your division. You could use a rising balloon lifting a building block, showing the percentage of increase stenciled in the block, giving your audience and image of growth and profits. Visuals that are your typical bar charts, graphs, and lines of words are boring and have a lesser impact connecting with your audience. Whereas, ridiculous and/or illogical visuals add retention, entertainment, and can illustrate with greater impact the benefits, not just facts and figures of your presentation.

Third, support your key points and visuals with a story.

Here’s how it works:

In delivering a presentation, recently to a group of sales people, one of my key points was that we have to understand our customers buying strategies and buying incentives for us to influence them to make a purchase from us. The visual that I used (now visualize this in your mind) was a man peering over a chessboard with his chin snuggled on his tightly clutched hands with a very pensive look in his eyes. The picture was stretched and elongated to exaggerate the image to influence the inner thinking process that our customers go though in their decision-making.

I then illustrated the point with a story of how one of my clients went about uncovering his clients’ strategies, buying incentives and how this same presentation process helped him get the sales and acquire a major key account for his company. Most importantly during the story I explained how my client was able to fine out what would create a win situation for his client. That gave way, for transitioning, to the next key point and slide in the presentation.

The visual was dynamic in that it supported the key points and anchored the story in the mind of the audience. The story used was linked back to the visual and was congruent with the key points.

This presentation process reinforces your points and makes them easy to understand. You can take any subject from a ten-minute annual report presentation to an all-day training session and use this approach of structuring your presentations. When you substitute lines of words, boring bar charts and graphs, with key points, supportive stories anchored with ridiculous visuals, you make it easy for your audience to assimilate, focus, remember and become engage and mesmerized with your material.

5.5 Ways to Possibly Solicit Cooperation When Negotiating

When negotiating, how do you solicit cooperation? You can browbeat someone. You can cajole them. You can be very amenable to their every whim, and yet, you may still be unsuccessful at soliciting their cooperation. The one thing you must do, in order to give someone what they want and need is to understand why they want and need what they’re seeking. The following are 51/2 ways you can solicit cooperation when negotiating.

1. Be honest:

a. Where and when possible, be honest. Some situations may require that you ‘shave the truth’, but unless you’re negotiating in a hostile situation, one in which the other negotiator is not being as forthright as he should, walk the path of truth. The truth, applied with sincerity, will tend to engender support for your cause. Always strive to be honest, but weigh the cost of doing so, depending upon the situation in which you negotiate.

2. Know mental strength:

a. You must know your strengths and weaknesses, along with those of the other negotiator, in order to solicit cooperation. Seek to understand the mindset of the other negotiator before attempting to sway her. Understand her ‘true’ source of motivation and cater to it. Before soliciting her assistance, reveal yourself as a nonthreatening entity that only seeks understanding, in order to be understood.

3. Know your target:

a. Three questions to ask the other negotiator are, what do you want? What are you seeking? How will you know when you’ve received/achieved it? By asking such questions, you’ll receive her ‘measuring stick’ for that which is important to her. In addressing her needs, you will have an unequivocal ‘mark’ upon which to aim and to measure the outcome based on what she seeks from the negotiation.

4. Consider begging:

a. Yes, I said it! If all else fails, when the stakes are high and none of your attempts bear fruit, consider begging to solicit support. With some individuals, such actions are very appealing. Just be mindful of whom it is that you beg, because it can also be a ‘turn-off’.

5. Speak in the positive:

a. When communicating, express your positions in the positive. Instead of saying, ‘I don’t think point ‘A’ warrants much merit, say instead, ‘I prefer point ‘B’. In so doing, you’ll be infusing the conversation with positivity. You’ll also subliminally, plant the thought of being positive as you solicit support.

5.5 Let it go:

a. Never be afraid of ‘letting go’. You won’t be able to convince everyone to ‘see’ things your way. Some people will never sense the value you possess. In such cases, find others with whom to negotiate. When you negotiate, you should have alternate sources from which to receive what you seek. In addition, by showing that you’re willing to ‘walk away’, you can enhance your position.

As you negotiate, if you apply the appropriate strategy to solicit cooperation, in the right manner, and at the right time, in the right place, more often than not, you’ll get the assistance you seek… and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are…

· Always remember, in a negotiation, timing is everything. Just because someone is not amenable to your offer today does not mean he won’t be agreeable tomorrow. Assess his desirability to ‘connect’ with you, and time your attempts to solicit his support when the time is best suited for him to do so.

· Consider the size of the ‘emotional stage’ the other negotiator wishes to stand on and how she wishes to be perceived. If she wants to be recognized as being magnanimous, ‘feed’ that need in her. By addressing the need that has her highest desire, you can assist her in achieving the emotional feeling she’s seeking and she’ll be more willing to assist you.

· When negotiating, always strive to align your actions to match the outcome you and the other negotiator seek from the negotiation.