The Real Purpose of a Sales Presentation

By Jeff Beals

There shall be no sales presentation until it’s time!

Too often sales pros launch into a well-rehearsed and finely polished demonstration of all they offer.  You don’t want to do that, however, until you have determined exactly who the prospect is, what they value and how your products/services specifically deliver what they value.

Then, and only then, do you start to “sell.”

A sales presentation is your pitch. More specifically, the presentation is your formal chance to present how your company’s attributes are beneficial to the prospect. It’s a chance to show how you provide value and how you can solve a prospect’s unique problems. Sales presentations tend to occur after earlier preparatory sales work has been completed.

Pre-Meeting Detective Work

Ideally, sales pros complete much of their detective work (prospect research) before meeting in person.  At the beginning of the meeting you are searching for answers while building rapport.  The first in-person meeting is a chance to go deeper, learning things you can’t simply find through a Google search.

The presentation is another step in your quest to move a prospect through the selling process. Although the presentation is your chance to highlight yourself and your company, there is still plenty of opportunity to listen. That’s important, because you can never know enough about a prospect and listening strengthens relationships. Even as you’re presenting be alert for opportunities to stop and listen.

Words as Art

Not only does a good sales presentation show exactly how a product/service solves a prospective client’s problem, it also paints a picture. Your presentation should make it easy for prospects to imagine themselves using, enjoying and benefiting from whatever it is that you are selling.

While the word presentation implies that the seller is delivering a formal speech to the buyer, a sales presentation should not be one-sided. It must be customized and adapted to each prospect’s needs. As the late Zig Ziglar once said, “People do things for their reasons, not yours.”

Focus on what the prospect values during the presentation and take time to draw them in by asking clarifying questions and tying things back to what they told you during earlier communications.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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You’re Like a Stand-Up Comedian (Even If You’re Not Terribly Funny)

By Jeff Beals

Have you ever attended a show at a stand-up comedy club? If you haven’t perhaps you have watched a television show recorded live at a comedy club. Either way, you’re probably familiar with how it works, because comedy clubs around the world tend to have the same structure.

On any given night, three or four comedians are booked in the club. The most famous of these comedians is called the “headliner” and he goes on stage last. But before the headliner begins his routine, two or three “warm-up acts,” lesser known comedians, take the stage.

Every time I have attended a stand-up comedy show, without fail, at least one or more of the warm-up acts will actually be funnier than the headliner. It always happens!

But guess who gets the biggest applause, the uproarious laughter and the standing ovation? You guessed it – the headliner. Even if the headliner is the fourth funniest comedian out of four, he still gets all the glory.

Why is that?

It’s because audiences want the famous comedian to be the funniest comedian. Even if he is not that funny at all, people subconsciously pretend he is because he is famous.

That is a perfect example of “the power of celebrity.” People tend to respect, admire and give deference to well-known people even if those people have not necessarily earned that respect. It is human nature and it’s something we can take advantage of in our daily work.

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While you may have no plans to become a professional comedian, you can exploit human nature to suit your goals by becoming a celebrity in your own sphere of interest. Your sphere of interest is that group of people, who in any way, can help you reach your goals – clients, prospective clients, anyone who could refer a client, a potential employer, someone who could get you on a coveted committee or board. In other words, there are thousands and thousands of people who could have an impact on your success and they compose your sphere of interest.

Among those people, you need to be a celebrity, a person with a widely recognized and highly respected personal brand.

When you become a celebrity in your own sphere of interest, people will be more interested in what you have to say. They will be pleased to be seen next to you. They will talk about you to other people. Perception is reality. Even if you are no more talented than the next person, you can get ahead of that person by having celebrity status in your own sphere of interest.

Developing a level of celebrity is simply one of the single most important things you can do to further your career or grow your business. I’m not saying you need to develop a name as widely recognized as a movie star’s, a senator’s or a famous CEO’s, but within your field of expertise, you need to become a mini rock star. If you’re in business, you should strive to be a celebrity in your marketplace or your industry. Name recognition is power.

So how do you become a celebrity in your own sphere of interest? For starters, be excellent in your work. Never stop preparing and planning. Be disciplined and work hard. Do something that’s worthy of being a celebrity in your sphere of interest.

Unfortunately, however, excellence is far from enough. In this competitive world, your talent and hard work are simply expected. Performance is merely foundational. Assume your competition is working just as hard as you and is even more talented than you. In such an environment, your celebrity status and personal brand are among the few things that set you apart.

As a celebrity in your own sphere of interest, you need to be active and involved. Go the extra mile to meet people and stay in touch with them after you meet. Be highly visible in your profession and your geographic marketplace. If you make a consistent effort to establish solid professional relationships with as many people as possible it will pay off.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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Sales Advice: You Can’t Afford to Be Out-Hustled

By Jeff Beals

Work-life balance is critically important, but ultimately success in sales still requires hard work. To reach the pinnacle of your industry, you most likely have to work harder, smarter and more creatively than your competition.

You can’t afford to be out-hustled by the competition. There’s always a lot at stake.

Here are eight ways to keep you hustling and on the right track to successful selling:

  1. At the company level, there needs to be a full commitment to marketing and selling. Some companies are “selling organizations.” Others don’t put enough focus on the attraction and development of new clients.
  2. Being successful requires diligence. Things fall apart quickly when you avert your focus.
  3. Successful organizations think about marketing and selling 365 days a year. Same thing applies to individual salespeople who want to be in the top 10 percent.
  4. Serious professionals are willing to do whatever it takes to seal the deal. If necessary, they take extraordinary measures to win a prospect’s favor. Despite this commitment, however, they never cut ethical corners.
  5. Avoid being a “situational salesperson,” someone who only excels as long as they are in their comfort zone. A situational salesperson struggles when things change suddenly or unexpected external events occur. Be ready and willing to adapt to a shifting playing field.
  6. To stay relevant in your business, keep up with the times. Don’t resist the change-forces that are bigger than you.
  7. Think the way your clients think. Your client determines what is valuable, not you.
  8. Passion is required to succeed at the highest levels, so make sure you work in a field you truly enjoy. It’s much easier to get up in the morning if you love selling what you sell.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

Why Do Some People Have a Knack for Finding Hidden Opportunities

By Jeff Beals

During my presentations I sometimes tell a story from years ago when my wife dragged me to a party held in the home of a senior executive at her place of employment. I didn’t want to go. I wasn’t interested in an evening of shoptalk, office gossip and inside jokes shared among coworkers who spend most of their waking hours together.

As it turned out, I had a good time. One of my conversations that night led to an opportunity: the chance to serve as an adjunct professor at a local university. Thanks to that cocktail party, I ended up teaching undergraduate business students on Wednesday evenings for seven years. I thoroughly enjoyed it – one of the highlights of my career.

Because of my travel schedule, I “retired” from teaching in 2009 but still keep in touch with many of the students. In fact, two of them are now my colleagues and one of them works in the office right next door to mine.

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One thing I have learned from my experiences and the experiences of others is that opportunity is often disguised. It tends to be hidden. Great opportunities are often found when you’re not actively looking and in places you’re not expecting to find them and from people you don’t expect to deliver them to you.

Even when you don’t want to attend an event, it might be worth your while. Opportunity could be lurking there. Even the person who seems least likely to know about an opportunity could end up being someone you need to know.

In the 19th Century, the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle told us, “A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.” In 2015, great men and women show their greatness in the way the treat people who seemingly can do nothing for them.

Aside from simply being the right thing to do, following Carlyle’s advice serves your best interest. It could expose you to opportunity!

To be successful, you certainly must build relationships with the “right” people, but you have to be careful. If you become too obsessed with impressing the rich and powerful, you might miss out on the many other people who have wonderful opportunities to offer you. After all, those who are tiny in their professions today can grow to become big-timers in the future.

You never know what person could hook you up with your biggest client ever. Constantly build relationships now to sow the seeds of future opportunity. Any relationship has the potential to bear fruit if you simply tend to it.

When searching for opportunity, don’t forget the people right in your own backyard. Too many times we are tempted to focus solely on those who are far away from us, the hard-to-reach people who we dream of doing business with. In pursuing them, it’s easy to forget about the people already around you. They might know more than you think.

Opportunity doesn’t always smack you in the face; you have to dig a little. You have to “scratch the dirt” and “turn over the rocks.” Opportunity is always around you but you have to put in a little effort. Sometimes it even requires a little detective work.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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Qualification Is Actually a Form of Risk Management

By Jeff Beals

When many sales professionals think of prospecting, they think only about the prospect’s interest in their businesses. While that is crucially important, care must be taken to make sure the prospect makes sense for you too.

If you harbor any doubts about the prospect’s likelihood of producing a profit for you, hesitate and do more study before bringing him or her on board.

It’s easy to be blinded by a high-profile, glamor client. You have to be wary of the client who is too good to be true.  Too many businesses bring on a client who appears to be outstanding but ends up costing the company more than he generates.

Such costs could include an actual loss of dollars, time, resources, reputation, goodwill or employee happiness and productivity. Factor in opportunity costs as well. A client who is marginally profitable but causes you to miss out on other business is indirectly a money-losing client.

A business can always “fire” a client, but it’s better to not sign up bad clients in the first place rather than go through the unpleasant experience of cutting them off at a later date.

In a sense, prospect qualifying is essentially a form of risk management. All prospects come with a certain degree of risk. It could be the amount of time they take, their lack of willingness to pay or the damage they could do to your reputation just because you’re associated with them.

Getting all star-crossed by a glamorous client can be dangerous especially if it’s the sales manager who falls under the spell. It’s not as big a deal when sales reps are blinded by a fancy client but the sales leaders must be gatekeepers who ask the tough questions.

There’s an old adage among football coaches: “You don’t want to play against a kid six days a week just so you can have him play for you one day a week.” The same thing applies to your business clients – you don’t want one who makes some splashy purchases but runs you and your colleagues through hell the rest of the time.

How do you become a good qualifier or “sales risk manager?”

For starters, keep your eyes and ears open during the sales process.  If you see a red flag, don’t ignore it; look into it just to be safe. Conduct some background research. If a prospective client has a reputation for arguing vendor fees or slow payment, they’ll probably cause those same problems for you.

Because qualification is so important, you want to use any and all means at your disposal. Do your homework. Ask questions.

In any business, qualifying whether a prospect is right for you can be a crapshoot, but if you invest time and effort, the vast majority of your clients will turn out to be profitable and enjoyable relationships for you.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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You Are a Brand. You are a Business of One (and a Free eBook for You)

Self Marketing Power 101 Cover

By Jeff Beals

Regardless of your career field, you have a personal brand, a reputation that must be carefully maintained and vigorously promoted. No matter how modest you are, sometimes you have to toot your own horn.

Professionals must promote their personal brands to be noticed in a competitive world. Whether you’re striving to bag your biggest client ever, positioning yourself for a promotion or just trying to make a difference in your community, one thing is for sure: You have to stand out. There is no room for shrinking violets in today’s world; successful people are bold.

We now work in a global economy in which people, jobs and capital move freely all over the world. In a split second, your job can be eliminated and your life turned upside down. Furthermore, the products and services we provide have become commoditized. Your wares, even if they are intellectual in nature, are unfortunately seen as commodities by too many would-be buyers.

No matter how good you are, there’s probably some professional out there who can do your work even better. No matter how innovative your company is, there’s a competitor out there that is doing things you and your colleagues have not yet developed. People do business with people.

That’s why the art of self marketing (also known interchangeably as “personal branding”) is so important. If you’re a self marketer, you have little to fear.

Someone who has built a well-known name, a great reputation and community/industry goodwill can bounce back quickly when something goes wrong. As a good self marketer, people will want to meet with you. They will actually return your calls and go out of their way to recommend you to others.

You have sole ownership of your personal brand, but it comes with a burden. You bear the responsibility for building that brand, shaping it and promoting it to the general public.

As a self marketer, you can recruit the services of others, but the responsibility to carry out a marketing strategy is ultimately yours.

Building a bigger and better image is not easy, but anyone with at least a moderate level of talent and intelligence can do it. You can create the personal brand you really want. Be committed to it and don’t let other people or any haunting feelings of self doubt stand in your way. Self marketers have to stick their necks out and take a little risk. Not only is it worth the risk, but establishing a well-known personal brand is essential in our competitive economy.

Today’s marketplace is noisier than ever. It’s hard to stand out. Successful people know how to promote their brands in this big, loud and sometimes intimidating world. If you are ready to enjoy the increased opportunities and higher levels of success that come from self marketing, go ahead and download this quick-reading, 20-page free eBook:  

Self Marketing Power 101: Personal Branding Secrets You Can Implement Right Now

How to Sell Like General George Patton

By Jeff Beals

The late George S. Patton, a United States Army general who played a major role in World War II, uttered many famous quotes during his storied career. Some of them were controversial and some had colorful language not appropriate for this article. Nevertheless, Patton had a knack for witty, impactful lines that continue to motivate people 70 years after his death.

Of all his quotes, my favorite is: “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

That quote is particularly valuable for people who sell products and services for a living.

Good sales practice requires that you do research and background work before making contact with prospective clients. You never want to pick up the phone or go into a prospect’s office unprepared.

But some sales pros use research and preparation as a stalling technique, a semi-conscious effort to delay taking action.

Sometimes it’s a case of confidence as many sales people dread approaching an influential decision-maker they have never met. Some prospective clients are so accomplished, that reaching out to them can be intimidating.

Other sales people might fear losing their “one chance” to make the right impression. They tell themselves, “If I can only learn a little bit more about this person and their company, I’ll finally be ready to contact them.”

Prospect research is critically important, but don’t take it too far. Don’t fall into the sales version of the analysis-paralysis trap.

If you find yourself stalling before making a call or before pressing “send” on an almost-but-no-quite-perfect email, ask yourself if you’re hesitating for no good reason. Be honest with yourself.

Sell like General Patton!

No plan will ever be perfect, but when it’s good enough to go, move forward with confidence.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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