Most sales people know the specifics of their product or service so well that they can rattle off one fascinating factoid after another. That’s a good start. But it may not be enough to clinchthe deal in a presentation. There is a certain art to being convincing. It’s more than just giving out information. Persuasive speaking is like a ballet,with its own tensions and manipulations of energy. But learn the moves, and you will be engaging. Here are three ways of changing your pitch from a delivery of facts, into a persuasive argument:
1. Use a problem/solution formula.
Instead of beginning with ‘what your product can do,’ create a short story that highlights the problem it was designed to solve. Then, begin your pitch with the problem, and lead up to the solution. Let’s use the Gautrain as an example. The ‘what it can do’ approach would have you saying: “The train will move large numbers of people around the city very swiftly.” However, the problem-solving approach would sound more like this: “Traffic in Gauteng is increasingly congested. Each year it moves slower and slower. Productivity is lost and frustration levels are at a premium. That’s why we’re introducing the Gautrain!”
This problem/solution approach naturally builds a pleasing ‘tension-and-release’ rhythm into your presentations. It gives your solution much greater relevance by positioning it properly.
2. Use leading questions.
Specifically, use leading questions to which you already know the answer. For example, you might ask, “What is the most frustrating problem you face in this department?” With a degree of experience,and perhaps some scouting, you may know precisely what the answer will be. Or you may know what the top three answers are likely to be. Then, when you hear the one you’re after (for example, “Our sales people are not very good presenters”), you can transition into your solution, which might be a training course in presentation skills.
By asking your prospect about problems that they face on a daily basis, you are setting up emotional investment on their part. You have created a certain tension, which you will then relieve with your relevant solution.
3. And remember: It’s not a one man show.
Get your customer to do something –anything – that is part of a process. You might ask him to put a number to something, rate a frustration out of ten, fill in a graph, switch on your product, or simply describe a typical day. By getting your customers to do something, you involve them in the sales process.
Always remember, the deal does not lie in the delivery of facts. It’s about the subtler art of persuasion.