Are you losing sales you feel you deserve to win? Once your presentation is prepared, there’s still work to do before you deliver it to your prospects. Here are two ways to increase sales: 1.) Learn how to build your credibility. 2.) Focus your sales presentation on what the prospect is interested in.
VS. This is what we do, how long we have been in business, what we are known for, our clients are, and we would love to serve you.
Technique: How to Build Credibility with Specificity
One of my essential missions is to clean up my clients’ sloppy and non-specific language. This is critical when decisions are made at the highest level of an organization, and especially when your competition is tough. Some examples:
Non-specific: “Our clients always increase sales or productivity.”
Specific: “Of course, there are no guarantees. If you look to our last five major clients, however, they will tell you that within six months their productivity improved 37%. It would be safe to say that you can look forward to similar results.”
The worst offender when it comes to non-specific language is the word stuff. Unless it is Thanksgiving and you are talking about what you are about to do to your turkey, delete it from your business conversations. This is actually a process that starts by eliminating it from your casual conversations. (I assure you that unless you become aware of how often you say it and become vigilant, you will not remove it.) Record some of your conversations and listen. Ask your co-workers or family members to let you know when it slips out of your mouth unconsciously.
When you use the word stuff for high-price products, services, expertise, or technology, you are devaluing them. A secondary reason to avoid it is that many clients may not have English as their first language, and they may not get a clear picture of what you’re saying.
Another word to avoid is thing. In spontaneous, unprepared conversation, we use it all the time. A sales presentation is thought about in advance, however, and speaking precisely gives you a competitive advantage. Consider these examples:
Non-specific: “There are three things you will like about our product.”
Specific: “There are three features you will like about our product.”
Specific: “There are three benefits you will like about our product.”
Specific: “There are three specific applications you will like about our product.”
Other words and phrases to eliminate from your business conversations and presentations include sort of, kind of, bunches,tons, gobs, like, you know, you guys.
You may be thinking, “But some of our younger clients speak this way,” so let me share a story. While working with a technology company to help them improve their sales and consulting conversations, we were working hard to improve the quality of their word choices. The salespeople knew that calling the executives at Goldman Sachs you guys was not appropriate, but the techies maintained that that’s how they communicate with each other.
Here’s what I said: “There are better ways to connect emotionally with your clients than to model their bad behavior and sloppy language.” There is a major difference between being casual and being sloppy. If you believe you are the best in your industry, prove it through your language and demeanor.
Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker, Patricia Fripp is hired by individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge. She and her expert associates are the ultimate destination if you want to improve the quality of your public speaking, executive presentations, sales presentations, or if you are looking for a keynote speaker for your meetings, conventions, and corporate events.
photo courtesy of WOCinTech [FLICKR]