For many sales professionals, the presentation is the culmination of the sales process. All the hard work you invested in prospecting and discovery has led to this moment. You finally get to present your potential client how your solution solves their unique problems in a differentiated way from the competition. While there’s a long tradition of meeting clients in conference rooms and shaking hands across tables, these days, more and more salespeople find themselves having to present virtually. Here, you’ll find the skills used in face-to-face presentations sound familiar, but the dynamics are quite different. Here are a few things to consider when presenting virtually:
If you can, use video. In a virtual presentation the customer seeing you and you seeing the customer is a serious advantage. Through body language, you can better demonstrate how excited and confident you are about the solutions you’re presenting. You can better read their reactions and know the adjustments that need to be made during your presentation. Smile widely, use your hands, nod your head as you speak. Shrug your shoulders and ask questions. Engage the client as much as possible to connect.
In a virtual presentation, stories take on a greater importance. They enable you to connect and relate to your prospect on a different level. Use this opportunity to share stories and address individual needs. For example, “You know, Walter, I was thinking about your email that mentioned a complicated pipeline, which reminded me of the time…” Create memorable characters from real life, such as, “My mentor, Old Joe, used to say in his gravelly voice, ‘Take care of people. The numbers will follow.’” Tell what you learned and how you applied it to a successful project. When possible, be self-deprecating, “I was young, didn’t know anything about distribution or deadlines.” This tends to be more effective than self-promotion because it invites the listener to recall their own experiences.
Add Data and Evidence
When presenting virtually, add data and evidence to support your claims. These go a long way to increasing the confidence of your prospect that you can offer a solution they need. It’s one thing to tell them that you can meet their needs and deliver on your promises, but it’s another thing to add evidence. After your presentation concludes, they will remember these figures. For maximum effect, create visuals in your digital presentation materials to best position the data and evidence you’re sharing.
This is your ability to take in the totality of the client’s messages—their content, meaning, and feeling. Actively listening is about paying attention to pick up on clues as well as feeding back information and asking questions. Effective active listening is a two-way street. Pay close attention to their choice of words and inflection. Be sure to feedback what you’ve heard and check in more often to ensure you are getting the right message. Let’s say the customer says; “We’ve been highly concerned about distribution.” This increased emotion and word choice is something to explore further, so you get the right message and are in a position to tailor a solution appropriately. Additionally, it is common for people to multitask during presentations in a virtual setting. Multiple tabs and applications can be open, email notifications don’t stop, and it can be easy for your prospect to get distracted. This is another reason to use your active listening skills more often and ensure your prospect remains engaged.
Selling virtually can be quite a pivot if you are used to selling face to face. The good news is, many skills translate; they are simply applied in a different way. Some more often, some less often, some a bit different to make up the distance between you and the client—not just physically, but mentally. The more engaging, interactive, and tailored the presentation, the better chance to capture their attention and win the sale.