Paul shares five sure-fire ways to craft your presentation into a unique customer experience.
Use analogies relevant to the decision maker and their business.
Incorporate industry-specific terms in your presentation: buzzwords of value.
What do your company and the customer have in common? Find those commonalities and pepper them throughout your presentation.
Determine the customer’s Critical Buying Path® and show them how you add value in each step.
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How do I personalize my sales presentation?
(Transcribed from podcast)
So just a couple of weeks ago I was working with a sales group, and one of the new salespeople this company just hired had a great question. He said, “Paul, I’ve sat in on those sales presentations where the salesperson is clearly just taking a template. All they’re doing is presenting their solution the same way they’ve presented it a hundred times before, and it just didn’t seem authentic.” And this is a great point. One of the things we talk about in Value-Added Selling is the importance of customizing your solution—personalizing it—because again, value is defined by the customer. So, the salesperson asked, “How can I better personalize my sales presentations?” And that’s what we’re going to talk about on today’s show.
Now, before we get into that, just a reminder. You can pick up your copy of Value-Added Selling wherever you get your books. It is available as an audiobook as well, either through the Audible app on Amazon. You can also buy the CD. If you still have a CD player, hey, you can get it that way as well. So that’s available. Also, if you’re just a good old fashioned love-turning-the-page type of person, you can get the hard copy. That’s the way I like it. I like the hard copy of a book just because I like to take notes. I like the sense of accomplishment you get when you flip that page. So anyway, all versions are available wherever you get your books.
With that said, let’s get right back to that question: “How can I better personalize my sales presentation?” You know, it’s important to highlight just how important it is to customize and personalize your message for a number of reasons, but one in particular. Our customers need to feel as though the solution we are presenting was handcrafted, customized, to suit their specific and unique needs. Now, let’s think about this. Before your presentation, you have spent a great deal of time uncovering your customer’s needs, asking questions, generating a discussion. During that process, you are not only uncovering the buyer’s needs, wants, concerns, all of that, you’re also making that decision maker aware of the complexity of their needs. Now, if the customer’s aware of their complex needs, they’re going to be more open to your value-added solution. We know that.
But think about it this way, if we’ve convinced the customer that they have special and unique needs, we can’t just give them a generic solution to satisfy those needs. Our solution needs to be handcrafted, customized to their specific needs. And in doing so, what we’re doing is we are, in effect, personalizing the message for the customer. So in today’s episode, I’m going to share five ideas to help you better personalize your sales presentations.
Number one, number one rule: you need to ensure that your presentation aligns with that customer’s specific set of needs. I’ll give you an example of this. I recently got fitted for a new driver. And before we went, the guy that’s going through the fitting with me, before we even started swinging the club, he did a number of things. Number one, he looked at what I was already using. He asked questions about what I like, what I dislike, so on and so forth. Then we started talking about goals and objectives, and he said, “More than anything, what is it that you’re looking to accomplish?” He goes, “Do you want more distance? Are you trying to lower your handicap? What are you ultimately trying to accomplish with this new driver?”
And I told him, I said, “The one thing I care about, the most important factor is going to be forgiveness and accuracy. I just want to drive the ball more accurately. I don’t care if it goes any further. I don’t care if I’m able to shape the club around trees or whatever it may be, I just want to be more accurate and I want a forgiving club. That’s what I’m looking for. I’d rather be in the fairway than in the rough.”
That’s what I said. That’s what we focused on, and based on those objectives, he gave me a few different options. He said, “These are, by far, going to be our most accurate and most forgiving drivers. Let’s see how they feel.” So we went through the process, and after I picked my favorite, he spent time detailing why this was the most forgiving and accurate club on the tour. And he recommended a Ping G 430, I believe is the actual model number. But he focused purely on the fact that it was more accurate and more forgiving.
Now, he didn’t talk about distance, he didn’t talk about the type of shaft and how this also helps create more distance, he focused purely on accuracy. Now, here’s the interesting piece. I actually hit this driver further than my older driver, which is great. That’s a nice benefit. But he didn’t even focus on that. And the reason why is because I basically said, Hey, that’s not important.
We have to remember, we must sell what is relevant. So when you are presenting your solution, go back and review your notes and highlight, okay, what are the two or three most important factors for this customer? How do they define value? And then ensure that your solution aligns with how they define value. Be able to detail how and why your solution is going to help them achieve those objectives. Again, it’s critical to purely focus on what is important to our customer. I know that your solution may do other things, okay. It may have other features and functions, it can help them achieve different objectives. But we want to focus on what is important to that customer.
Number two: using analogies will help you persuade more effectively. We want to use analogies that are personal to that customer, that are personal to that decision maker. One salesperson demonstrated this beautifully. He sells construction equipment, so he’s going out to construction sites, meeting with construction companies, he’s selling the big trucks, you know, excavators, backhoes. You name it, he’s selling the construction equipment.
Now, what’s interesting is, when his customers talk about quality and performance, he will use an analogy. He said, “All I do is I look at what kind of truck they are driving. If they’re driving a Ford, I will say to them, ‘Look, our equipment is basically the Ford of the construction equipment industry.’” He will even focus on specific models of that brand. He will basically say, “Yes, this piece of equipment is basically the Ford F150 or the King Ranch of our industry.” What he’s doing is he’s personalizing the message and drawing an analogy to what that customer is already familiar with. Analogy is very persuasive. And when we can make that connection, it feels personal to the buyer. Keep that in mind.
Next, we want to use buyer buzzwords of value. I was working with a sales team recently, and in our discovery call, when I was trying to figure out, okay, what are their specific needs? What’s important to this customer? How do they define value? During our meeting, there was one phrase that kept popping up. And that phrase was share of wallet. And that’s the term they would use to basically say, “Hey, we’re trying to increase our sales with existing customers.” They kept saying, “We want to increase share of wallet. If we increase share of wallet, we’ll be able to do this, this, and this. Increasing our share of wallet will help build loyalty.” They kept saying share of wallet.
When it was time to present the solution to the customer, I inserted that phrase, share of wallet. It became clear that that was a buzzword of value that’s important to this customer. So by using their language, it feels personalized. They understand that I know what they’re trying to accomplish. So use those buzzwords of value. I would develop a list of industry terms that are buzzwords of value and be able to incorporate those into your presentations. Again, if it sounds like their presentation, meaning you’re using their buzzwords, they’re more likely to buy into it.
Next idea. Let’s talk about demonstrating common ground. What does your company and the customer have in common? I’ve had the privilege of seeing great salespeople in action selling to customers. In fact, I was on one presentation where the salesperson was presenting to a group of about 40 or 50 engineers within this organization. So it was a really lively group, as you can imagine. Not a shot at engineers out there, okay? I love engineers, but a group of 40 or 50 engineers. He began the presentation by showing a side-by-side comparison of his company and their organization, and he highlighted that they were similar in size. He highlighted that their company’s mission statements and company values were very similar. And he began his presentation by saying, “Two companies that look this similar should be working together.” The salesperson was demonstrating common ground. Again, two companies that look similar, that sound similar, they tend to do very well together. So ask yourself, “How can I demonstrate that common ground?”
Finally, we want to present our value along the customer’s Critical Buying Path®. Now, in Value-Added Selling, we explain the Critical Buying Path®. Essentially, it’s your end-to-end customer experience. It’s a series of steps that your customer will go through when they make a purchasing decision. There’s three general phases. There’s a pre-sale phase, a transition phase, and a post-sale usage phase. So I would encourage you to highlight the steps your customers will go through when they make a buying decision.
So look at your solution and ask yourself, “Okay, what are the set of steps my customers go through when they realize a need exists? In that pre-sale phase, what do they go through as they make their decision?” Next, think about what they go through when they make the transition, when they’re acquiring your product. And then finally, once it’s implemented, what are the steps they go through as they use the product? Are they maintaining the piece of equipment? Are they enhancing the solution, reordering, whatever it may be. The key is you want to highlight the steps your customers go through, and then present to the customer how you add value at each step along the way.
Think about how personalized that is. If your customer is making a complex decision, a big decision in their business, they’re going to go through 12 steps in that process, imagine you’re able to highlight all the ways you add value at each one of those 12 steps. And what you’re doing is you’re personalizing this even further. And you’re personalizing it to the way your customer actually buys and uses your product versus how you want to sell it. Mirroring their Critical Buying Path® will position you as a value-added seller.
So those are the five ideas. Number one, ensure your presentation aligns with the customer’s needs. That’s number one. Number two, use some analogies. Number three, remember those buzzwords of value that your customers will use. Number four, demonstrate common ground. Answer the question, “What do we have in common with our customer?” And then finally, mirror that Critical Buying Path®.
Make it a big day.