It’s a presentation not a lecture

In sales there is a rule that many sales people know, and that is, “he who talks least…wins.”  And of course, there is the old adage that God gave you two ears and one mouth and you should be using them in that proportion.

When you give a sales presentation, you should remember that it is a presentation – a chance to present your solution/product/offering.  When you present something, you are offering an introduction to it so you should be providing your overview, and then be using the rest of the time to determine how, if at all, you can solve your customers problems.

A lecture, on the other hand, is a LONG period of time, with one person talking.  You know, that hour or two hours that you were forced to go to in college and you forced yourself to stay awake thru – and you had to take copious notes to remember anything that was said.  Considering that it is hard to remember what was said, its hard to stay awake, and you just wish for the end… why would anyone think that turning a sales presentation into a lecture is a good thing?

Yet… too often, I see salespeople use their pulpit as a chance to lecture about their industry, their vision, their insights, their successes, etc.  But the truth is, that no prospect really cares about all of that.  They don’t even really care about your product – they care about their problems and how you can or can not solve them.  It is true that you should be looking for ways to connect with your prospect, but a lecture is not how you do this.  It may be nice to be able to pontificate and show people how smart you really are, but in fact, the thing that will make the sale is not that you are smart – its that you are smart enough to solve their problems.  And, the only way to know what their problems are, and how you can or cannot solve them is if you LISTEN more than you talk.

The worst part is that if you ask a salesperson that talks too much about how they felt a sales meeting went, they will likely feel better about the meeting the more they spoke and showed how smart they are – rather than thinking the meeting went poorly because they didn’t listen to what the customer wanted.  Again, the truth is that they are not going to sign on the dotted line because they are bowled over by your brilliance.

You need to judge a meeting by how much information you OBTAINED not by how much information you CONVEYED – because when you have all the information, you can best win the sale.