Drew's Note: As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post. Meet another thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…Joey Asher. Again. Enjoy!
I attended many high school parties where there weren’t enough girls. Competition for dance partners was fierce. That’s what the marketplace looks like in today’s recession. New business is scarce. And competition is fierce.
Just as when there aren’t enough dance partners, when business is scarce you need to hone your pitch. In your next sales presentation, focus on five fundamentals to separate yourself from your competition.
Fundamental #1. Present a solution and nothing else. Many of your competitors start presentations by talking about themselves. “Before we start, let me tell you about how our company began . . .” Blah. Blah. Blah. Who cares? Your prospect only cares about is how you can save them money, grow their revenues, or reduce their risk. Detail your plan to help your prospect and tell stories about how the plan has worked for others.
Fundamental # 2. Keep it simple. I watched three construction firms pitch to build a new school. No presentation had less than 10 points. None of the messages were memorable. Instead, you should hammer at three messages. “We’ll build your project on time. We’ll meet your budget. We’ll deliver quality work.” Simplicity separates you from the competition.
Fundamental # 3. Speak with passion. If you’re one of three firms competing, you know that your competition can do a great job. Personal style can be the separator. “When it’s close, many of the decisions just come down to who connects with us best,” one CEO told me. Passion in the voice helps you connect.
Fundamental #4. Leave half of your time for questions. Questions address your prospect’s hot buttons. Your competition often makes Q&A an afterthought. Avoid that mistake.
Fundamental #5. Rehearse. “I can always tell who has rehearsed,” said one CEO who has heard hundreds of sales presentations. Most people don’t rehearse much. Practicing sets you apart.
In a recession, the pool of new business is small. Focus on fundamentals to grab your share.
Joey Asher is Joey Asher is President of Speechworks, a communication and selling skills coaching firm that has been helping business people communicate more effectively for over 20 years. This post is adapted from Joey Asher’s new book “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish You from the Competition. You can also read Joey's blog at Talking Points.
Every Friday is "grab the mic" day. Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute? Shoot me an e-mail.
Tony – you’ve hit the nail on the head. Thanks for boiling it down in 5 easy to adopt fundamental steps. I look forward to reading the book.
These are some really good points. I definitely agree about keeping it simple – for any presentation the most important thing is to be able to reduce it to a few points as most people don’t have the capacity to take in/remember more than this.
I think another essential element is creativity – it is important if you want to stand out from the rest.
A creative solution that my company implemented recently involved having an online print store (http://www.digitallizard.com/small-medium-business.php) – it just added the element of professionalism and innovation that has helped us to get ahead.
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