Selling is a science, and you can benefit from its proven methods. You
may even be selling without realizing it. Here are some tips to help you
deliver the perfect presentation.
Know who you are selling to. If you’re doing a presentation before a
Board of Directors, research how it has reacted to past proposals. Spend
some time collecting details that address any issues that could be raised.
What are the Board’s values and attitudes? Do the Directors behave
consistently, such as always choosing the least expensive option? Do your
homework then develop a set of objectives and strategies.
Tailor your behavior. If the people you are presenting to relate best
to verbal information, don’t come in armed with piles of graphs and other
information. If you’re speaking to people you don’t know much about, watch
their reactions. If they sit up straighter when you start citing
statistics, modify your presentation to be less emotional and forthright.
Listen. Most people think “selling” is the same as “talking”. But the
most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part
of their job. Pay attention to what your audience says and the questions
they ask. If particular words or phrases keep coming up, use variations of
them when you respond.
Welcome worries. Anyone who doesn’t have some questions
or concerns about what you’re saying probably isn’t serious about
Objections are your chance to emphasize the strongest
Prepare for anything. This can mean bulbs that burn out on
the slide projector, a dozen more people at a meeting than you’d expected,
or someone who wants to talk about a completely new subject. Revise your
plan as you’re met with changes and, above all, stay calm. A sense of
humor doesn’t hurt either.
Close the sale. When you’ve made your speech, get to the
point. People are expecting it. Conventional wisdom holds
that you shouldn’t come right out and demand a signature; likewise, in an
interview with your boss, you shouldn’t demand to be made a manager. But
you can ask the same question in more subtle ways, such as “What’s the
next step?” or “How close am I to reaching my goal of being departmental
Foremost, the key to selling yourself, your idea, or your company is
presenting the subject in a way that’s appealing to the prospect. Study
the techniques, and you’ll find that even if you didn’t win the prize for
most raffle tickets sold when you were back in school, you can make sales
work for you now.