Sales Presentations: Authentic and Persuasive or Stay Home

by Chris Arlen on October 18, 2012

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Sales Presenations: Authentic & Persuasive or Stay HomeSales presentations are for salespeople to make an emotional connection with customers. (Or do you believe sales reps are obsolete?)

Fail to make that emotional connection and all the sales proof in the world is wasted. Why?

Because customers buy on emotion and justify with facts, and they can sniff out a self-serving salesperson a mile away. They’re not going to buy from anyone who they feel is looking out for themselves, and not the customer.

So the first goal in every sales presentation is to be authentic. Once accomplished, the salesperson is cued up to be persuasive.

How to first be Authentic

Salespeople are authentic when they genuinely care about their customers. Obvious? Yes. Often lost in the adrenalin rush of the pitch? Yes.

Authenticity happens when small-talk leads to big-listening at the beginning of the presentation meeting.

Small-talk, big-listening is about hearing the person in front of you talk about their work and life; their fears, aspirations, and struggles.

This doesn’t mean asking customers inappropriately personal questions to begin the presentation. It does mean paying attention to the informal small-talk and picking up on conversational opportunities customers present. A few thoughtful questions can begin to develop bonds and make emotional connections.

Asking questions, taking the time to listen and hearing what is said communicates caring to customers.

Caring for the individual leads to caring about their prosperity at work, which leads to caring about their company’s prosperity.

From that point, a salesperson can gracefully steer the conversation onto the reason for the meeting; presenting a solution that works for the customer.

This cascade of caring, from personal to business, leads to a greater understanding for salespeople, and more importantly, establishes authentic emotional relationships with customers.

Persuasive on top of Authentic

When customers feel salespeople are genuine, they’re half-way home to buying. This persuasiveness is based on understanding customers’ needs/wants and then providing solutions that work.

Yet customers don’t always cough up what salespeople need to know. Depending on customer receptiveness, salespeople can feel like they’re breaking rocks in Siberia to get the necessary information.

Authentic salespeople have an emotional “in” with their customers, which makes gathering information easier.

Additionally, customers are more open to solutions if they feel the salespeople are genuine in their desire to help them.

With the personal insights  learned from small talk, salespeople can connect their solutions’ business benefits to their customers personally, such as “This technology tracks all events automatically and consolidates data into trending reports. This makes you look good to your CEO as you’ll have all the information easily and instantly whenever she asks you for it.”

Connect Authentically then Persuade in Sales Presentations

What salesperson doesn’t want to be authentic and persuasive? It’s just that in the rush to get down to business in the presentation, the most critical connection is easily missed.

There’s the rub: be authentic and then persuasive, or you might as well stay home because customers are not going to buy. Would you?

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