Category Archives: Presentation

Keys to an Effective Presentation

Have you ever wondered how some salespeople seem to improvise almost perfectly when giving a presentation? Everything seems to flow, as if they knew exactly all the circumstances they would be facing. Those people seem to have tapped into some secret knowledge on how to spontaneously provide a cohesive sales message.

Often, it’s our presentation skills that can make or break a sale, regardless of our vehicle. The good news is that we all can possess the keys that will give us access to the presentation skills that will close sales.

Here are some secrets that have made my presentations more successful:

Begin strong
Grab them right away. As salespeople, we only have those first few critical seconds to make a lasting impression. Perhaps start with an impressive statistic or a rhetorical question. When I teach presentation skills, sometimes I’ll ask my students, "How many of you want to make more money?" Then, I allow a little time to go by and say, "Fine, stay with me for the next hour, and I’ll help you learn how to do it."

Use simple, action-oriented language
Simple is not elementary; what you’re doing is making it easy to understand and digest. Keep in mind the acronym EASY:

[list:2b2y9uf4]E – Enthusiasm and energy are key. Be alive and vital when you present.
A – Articulate your message. Clarity is essential.
S – Simple, short and to the point.
Y – Your prospect – focus on them. This also helps take the focus off your nervousness and inhibitions.[/list:u:2b2y9uf4]

End with emotion
Appeal to what matters most. Paint a word picture that your audience can see by the words you draw.
Keep in mind, it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Probably the most neglected aspect of a person’s image is his voice, yet the quality of our voices will have a profound effect on how we’re perceived.

Research tells us that, when we present, several things are taken into account by the prospect. Our voice inflection and modulation accounts for 37%, our appearance 55%, and what we actually say is only 8% of our message.

When you’re preparing for your next presentation, keep the following 7 survival skills in mind:

[list:2b2y9uf4]1. Act excited and eager to share your information
Dale Carnegie believed this was critical to taking the "stage." Plus, your words will come from a place of passion.

2. Be animated while being yourself
It’s hard enough to remember all that you need to, so develop your own style. Although it’s great to emulate others, just be the real you when you present.

3. Be aware of your hands and gestures
Your body is the number one visual aid. Practice in front of a mirror. Watch your face and gestures. Develop natural and graceful gestures.

4. Vary your voice pattern
Use pauses to add drama, suspense, and to make a point. Watch television for examples. Even everyday news is better communicated with an effective presenter.

5. Keep your posture straight and natural
This takes practice, and the payoff is total confidence and control.

6. Be organized and prepared
As a salesperson, you have a destination: to close a sale. When you have a road map, you increase your chances of getting there. It’s amazing how much more confident we feel when we know our material and are organized. Prepare and rehearse.

7. Know how to answer questions and objections
And do it in a nondefensive way. Remain steadfast to what the commercial used to say: "Never let them see you sweat."[/list:u:2b2y9uf4]

Have a positive feeling about what you’re presenting and project to your listeners the value and significance of the radio station they’re tuned into all day long: WII-FM — What’s In It For Me?

Avoid The "Feature-Dump" Presentation

At your next meeting, talk about one of the greatest sales sins: the “feature-dump” presentation. This is when a salesperson seems to suffer under the delusion that if they babble on long enough about their product’s features they can somehow bore their prospect into buying. Keep the following points in mind to avoid the feature-dump and improve your presentations:

[list:34l37fgz]1. People buy benefits not anti-lock brakes; they buy the safety and peace of mind that comes with them. Features tell; benefits sell.

2. When you present the features a prospect is interested in, you raise the value of your product/service. But when you talk about features; a prospect is disinterested or indifferent towards, you raise the price of the product/service.

3. In order to present professionally, you must thoroughly investigate for wants and needs. This means you’ll need to ask more questions and listen to the answers in order to customize a presentation that fits a particular customer rather than trying to fit the customer into your canned, panned presentation. Customizing your presentations in this manner will increase your sales over night and differentiate you from the hordes of sales amateurs who haven’t figured out that they’re their own worst enemy. [/list:u:34l37fgz]
Years ago when I was selling Jeeps, I attended a high-quality, two-day Jeep product knowledge workshop. Once I returned to the dealership, I was anxious to show off my newly acquired knowledge and make a killing selling Jeeps. To make a long story short, after returning from Jeep school, I didn’t sell a Jeep for three weeks! Why? I was so excited about sharing everything I had learned about Jeeps with my prospects that I proceeded to “feature-dump” on every Jeep prospect for nearly a month until I slowed down enough to figure out that my big mouth was killing my paycheck.

Think about your own presentations for a moment: Do you spend enough time determining exactly what the prospect is “hot” about? Do you then have the discipline to present selectively based on the findings of your investigation? Do you just rattle off a list of features, or are you skilled at converting features into benefits? The answers to these questions will go a long way in determining the quality of your career and income. Apply the techniques in this article with your very next prospect. Like anything else worthwhile, skillful presentations don’t just come to you in a dream one night. You must pay the price for practice. But don’t worry; the prize is worth the price.

Written by Dave Anderson, President
Learn to Lead

Follow Me…

Well, here it is the middle of June and you are reading this in the middle of August, or possibly earlier, which is typically not a big deal, but at the rate the car business is changing you may be reading this in your newly formed used car operation, or your recently invigorated GM franchise, or your Fiat/Chrysler/Jeep/Eagle/AMC/Renault dealership. Things change faster than I can write and faster than we can edit, print, bind and mail you copies. But fear not because the story I am about to tell is still applicable. And probably always will be… at least for as long as we are all here, God willing.

The story is about selling cars and how to do it. Yep! We still gotta sell ‘em.

We are going to talk about the walkaround. I know, I know, you’ve heard it all before but so what, you think it can’t help to read it once more? With everything going on in your business every day, it’s nice to know that someone like me has your back and will help you get the info to your managers so they can run productive sales meetings. It’s what I do ladies and gentlemen. No need to thank me.

A good walkaround presentation doesn’t work because it’s canned; it got canned because it works. And that’s what it be – planned. When I teach salespeople I say it is not just a presentation, but a “six-position, feature benefit presentation.” To you and I it is painfully obvious, but to new salespeople they need to hear it. And for salespeople that don’t get enough gross, they need to hear it… again.

Before we can attempt a presentation we must understand what features and benefits are. A feature is what something is; a benefit is what something does. The aerodynamic styling of a vehicle is a feature; great gas mileage and a quiet ride are the resulting benefit. A salesperson may be good at reciting features but not at explaining why the customer needs them. And this is because they either did poor qualifying or they don’t know enough about the car, or both. I am not going into qualifying here but you understand what I mean. How can a salesperson enthusiastically talk intelligently about the virtues of the progressive leaf springs in a one-ton pickup truck if they don’t know what the customer is going to use the vehicle for? They can’t.

A salesperson might say, “Yes sir, this car has everything you’re looking for: air conditioning, am/fm stereo radio, and a CD player. It also has power windows, door locks and anti-lock brakes!” It certainly sounds like the salesperson is well-versed and helpful, but is he really? There isn’t anything your salesperson shared with this customer that 1,000 other salespeople haven’t already said. Besides, all of that information is in the brochures anyway.

So the customer looks at the salesperson and he doesn’t know what to say. I’ll tell you what he is probably thinking, “I can see all of these options, Mr. Salesperson. Tell me something I don’t know.” You see, when the salesperson blathers on it doesn’t really move the sale forward. He’s just repeating what the customer told him he wanted.

The customer’s only response is, “Yes, Mr. Salesperson, I can see it has everything I asked for. How much is it?” Or worse yet, the customer will say nothing. The worst thing to hear in a walkaround presentation is nothing. Silence is pressure in the selling process and we really don’t want pressure. As I said, the only common ground a customer has is price. When a salesperson stops talking, the only thing they can say is, “goodbye” or “how much?”

In order to do a great walkaround, your salespeople must remember what the customer wants to know more than anything, “What will it do for me?” Until you tell a customer that, he is not listening.

How long did it take me to recite the options above, 30 seconds? What do I do now? I am out of things to say. Obviously there are lots of options and I could probably go on for a while but even if I could memorize every option on every model, the customer will become uninterested. Why? Because you haven’t told him what it will do for him. Help him justify his reason for being here in the first place.

If salespeople are reciting options, they would be better suited to give the customer a brochure and send him home. The brochure is better at listing features and the brochure is never wrong. When it comes down to it, does the customer even care that there is 28 inches of legroom? No. But he will be interested to know, “Because of the transverse mounted engine, when you and your family take that trip to Bangladesh this winter, you can stretch out your legs!” That is how you sell legroom.

Note: Without good qualifying I would never have been able to make that statement, would I?

Now let’s take it to the next level by making that statement even more powerful in two ways. One is by moving the sale forward and two by asking for the order.

Number one: Move the sale forward. There are many ways to move the sale forward but here are a few. They are simple phrases that keep the customer following you.

“Let me show you one more thing…” “Great, follow me…” “Let me show you this…” (There are a lot more of these, aren’t there?)

Number two: Ask for the order; the way to ask for the order is simple:

“That’s a feature I’m sure you’d like, isn’t it?” The customer says, “Yeah!”

The salesperson says, “Great, follow me,” or “Great, now let me show you one more thing.”

The question above is one that I already know the answer. I will always use it with a feature I know he wants. Seat belts, air bags, crumple zones, etc. A customer will never say “no” to air bags.

During the sale you are always asking for the order, always closing. When I first jumped into the business, I heard that someone tape-recorded a successful salesman and during a 20-minute presentation he asked the customer to buy the car 17 times!

Some of the best closing techniques to use during a sale are what I call “tie-downs.” Some call them “trial closes.” A tie-down is a question at the end of a statement that demands a response. Instead of saying, “Those airbags are a wonderful feature,” try adding, “aren’t they?” It forces your customer to respond, hopefully in a positive way.

These tips will build the foundation for a confident and complete walkaround. If your salespeople remember them, then and only then can they take advantage of their product expertise in a walkaround presentation.
Good luck and good selling!

Jack Bennett is the author of “You Can And Should Sell Cars,” He has been in the business for over 30 years and has trained thousands of salespeople across the country.