By Dean Del Sesto

With up to bats so difficult to get, why risk a swing and a miss.

In today’s sales climate, getting through to a potential prospect on the phone is similar to getting a real voice on the phone when calling a government agency. Good luck, please hold, and press 3 for another recording and eternal elevator music. Today, securing a meeting with a potential client is twice as challenging as times past. So when you do get that rare opportunity, how you present means EVERYTHING!

  • For starters, always conduct “detailed” research on the company you’re meeting with and its competitors before you present, so you can speak the same language and address the challenges that exist in their specific markets. The more you do the smarter you’ll be. This builds trust, relatability and most critically, it makes you look attuned than your competition. In addition, spend time learning about the company’s unmet needs and base your entire presentation on meeting those needs. If you have more to offer than their expressed needs, hold off on selling the big picture until you address exactly what they brought you in for.


  • It helps to know, in advance, ALL attendees who will be in the meeting. LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and others will help you find out as much as you can about their personality, business style, hobbies, clubs and associations, mutual contacts, etc., so you can engage in conversations that go beyond your pitch into building a personal relationship. These are the things that make people truly appreciate you, and people liking you is a high percentage of the victory, especially if all things are equal in the playing field.


  • Get an idea of the room set-up before you arrive. Once, and I do mean one time only, we made the mistake of preparing a comprehensive presentation that we couldn’t present because the room configuration wouldn’t allow it. Also, ask your client if you can come in early to set up. Nothing’s worse then plugging in cords and passing out materials while your prospects are staring, wondering, and contemplating why you didn’t ask to come in early in the first place.


  • Test your presentation. Conduct a dry run. As one of our team puts it: “Practice, drill and rehearse.” Preparation minimizes pre-meeting stress, gets the pitch team or individuals focused and aligned and allows you time to think through the pace, posture and feel of the meeting. Get clear about all the questions that might be asked and prepare great answers. Trust me, clients today will know if you prepared and how much. Don’t wing it. Bring it!


  • To get the prospect or group talking right away, clarify what you have heard their expectations to be thus far, then ask if there’s anything else they’d like covered in the meeting. This shows an authentic concern, and it will calm your nerves as the goal of your meeting will be clarified. It also puts clients at ease because they know that you’ll be addressing their specific needs, not veering off into alternative agendas. You’ll also be able to focus in on what the client sees as important or relevant. If 80% of your presentation directly relates to the client’s needs, you’ve done a superior job of presenting. If it’s all relevant, you’ll generally win the business.


  • The opening of your presentation must be impactful. You will either captivate or lose your prospect during the first couple of minutes of your presentation. While presenting, ask questions, engage the group, and get people talking only when you have a good idea of what they’ll say or how they’ll respond. This will allow you to connect with your group, come into agreement and minimize any surprise inquiries that will cause you to lose momentum, confidence or the client.


  • The proposals or materials you distribute to your prospects will often be passed around to others that didn’t attend. You know… the other decision makers who were too busy to make your meeting. Make all collateral dynamic, concise, brief and to the point. Invest in the look, feel and quality of the content. Your proposal and materials are the non-verbal salespeople you leave behind to speak, even after you leave the office.


  • Lastly, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and present from a place of empathy. If you spend contemplative time and focused energy to connect to the prospect’s vision, goals and realities, you can afford to make a mistake or two and it won’t diminish the power and resolve of the presentation. In my opinion, I’d say the number one reason why people win business is because they focus more on the needs of their prospects than their own. Prospects have a pretty acute feel for those who are self-serving and will naturally migrate to those who care. Present well!


YOU LANDED A MEETING…<BR>NOW IT’S TIME TO PRESENT Breck photos of Dean 027 copy 295x300
Dean Del Sesto, CEO, Breviti