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Persuasive communication

Persuasive communication is at the heart of the selling process, and the sales presentation/demonstration is the critical center stage or Showtime” for salespeople. After asking the customer qualifying questions to uncover specific needs, the salesperson presents the products and services that will best satisfy those needs; highlights their features, advantages, and benefits; and stimulates desire for the offerings with a skillful demonstration. Prospects are primarily interested in the benefits being offered them.

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Product features and advantages are important only if hey can be tied directly to a specific benefit the prospect is seeking. For instance, pointing out a flat-screen monitor feature when demonstrating a new desktop computer does not mean much to a prospect unless the salesperson explains the related benefits of taking up less desk space, reducing eye strain, and increasing employee productivity. Success in this stage requires development of carefully tailored and practiced strategies, including a convincing product demonstration.

It’s been said that a picture Is worth a thousand words, and a demonstration Is worth a thousand pictures. One successful sales representative always carried a hammer ND a plate of his company’s unbreakable glass with him to demonstrate Its strength. One day, Instead of hitting the glass with the hammer himself, he let the prospect do it. From then on, his sales soared as he continued letting customers swing the hammer. Salespeople should always try to get their prospects involved in demonstrating the product or “trying it out,” so they can gain confidence in using it.

A dog-and-pony show, no matter how elaborate, seldom succeeds because prospects usually see its focus as selling the product instead of solving their problems. Salespeople who use skillful questioning and reactive listening while prospects scribe their needs can often adjust their sales presentation and demonstration on the fly to provide the best customer solutions. Various sales presentation strategies are presented In Table 4. 6, but most professional BIB salespeople find the consultative professional strategy to be most effective, along with tactics that anticipate likely Interactions between buyer and seller.

Like an actor or athlete, the salesperson needs to diligently practice the sales presentation with a sales associate or friend. Some salespeople enroll in sales presentation training programs offered by impasses like Empowerment Group (www. Empowerment’s. Com/ presentation_training. HTML) as a way to further develop their proficiency (Figure 4. 3). Adaptive versus Canned Sales Presentations. Traditional salespeople tend to make relatively standard sales presentations that don’t vary much from one prospect to another.

Top-performing salespeople try instead to adapt each presentation to the particular prospect and selling situation. 16 Salespeople who modify their presentations according to specific prospect or customer needs and behaviors are more effective than those who do not. 7 This point may seem obvious, but only salespeople who are Inclined to adjust their sales presentation to the customer are likely to do so during the sales call-1 8 Successful salespeople regularly practice adapting their sales presentation to different customer feedback during the presentation.

For example, if the purchasing manager for Hertz (womb. Hertz. Com) shows more interest in safety than in gas mileage, then an observant salesperson for General Motors (womb. GM. Com) can quickly adapt the sales presentation by emphasizing the safety benefits of GM cars. Although adaptive ailing is generally best, canned (or programmed) selling can be appropriate for some types of prospects, selling situations, and salespeople.

In fact, the most effective sales presentations often blend the canned and adaptive approaches. 19 Many professional salespeople use programmed multimedia to present general information efficiently and effectively and to enliven their sales presentations. During the multimedia presentation, salespeople are able to closely observe the prospect’s reaction and accordingly better adapt later stages of the sales presentation. To gauge how adaptive you are as a salesperson, take the test in Table 4. 7.