In early 2015 Esurance ran a set of TV commercials in which a less-desirable replacement presents themselves as the “sorta” provider: a race-car driver instead of the normal parking valet; a drug dealing science teacher instead of the normal pharmacist; a tattooed, muscular biker instead of the normal school teacher. In each case the “sorta” replacement explains how they are essentially the same as the normal provider while the customer appears very uncomfortable. Using the tagline “Sorta you isn’t you” Esurance makes the point that you deserve an insurance plan that’s personalized to your needs. I couldn’t agree more and believe the same principle applies to sales presentations and demonstrations: customers deserve a presentation that’s personalized to their needs, not one based on their “sorta” version.
In previous posts I’ve talked about the importance of learning about the customer’s business goals, objectives, challenges and issues. However, having that information is only helpful if we use it to customize and personalize what we show the customer in our demonstration or talk about in our presentation. Too many sales people, even after conducting appropriate customer discovery, still use a standard sales presentation or conduct a standard sales demonstration. If we don’t customize what we talk about and demonstrate to match the customer’s specific goals, needs and situation, we are essentially telling the customer that they’re just like everyone else. we might as well tell them that they’re a “sorta” bank, or a “sorta” healthcare provider, or a “sorta” retailer!
Changing a sales presentation or demonstration from a risky event into a win enabler requires careful preparation and personalization of the content. We don’t need to build an entirely new presentation or demonstration, but we do need to personalize what we talk about, what we show, and the order in which we do those things to match the unique needs of the customer. As I’ve worked with and trained hundreds of sales people all over the world, I’ve seen many consistent and universal preparation mistakes that inject unnecessary risk into sales presentations and demonstrations – taking them from “divine” to “disastrous”!
What kinds of preparation mistakes do your sales people typically make and which mistakes do you find hardest to correct?