Who isn’t familiar with the deadly sales meeting where someone drones on, flipping through the 100-slide PowerPoint deck? This situation is even worse when you’re working online, presenting from a distance.
Your audience’s eyelids are drooping. They’re checking out cat memes. They no longer have any idea what’s being said. They just know that they long for escape.
When you’re demonstrating your product or service to a potential client, you’re in a critical phase of the sales process. The simple fact is that just talking about features and benefits doesn't guarantee sales.
The best online sales meetings move your audience to take action. Here are five tips to help you make that happen.
1. Do your research ahead of time
Get online and Google your prospects. Go to their company blogs. Read about the issues that they focus on, their products or services, and their company culture. Check out their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. Have they posted any interesting updates or commented on any articles? Take note of anything relevant so you can incorporate it into your conversation during the meeting.
In addition, take note of some of their more personal traits. Do they like a particular sports team? Do they enjoy a specific kind of music or food? Have they read and reviewed any books recently? These are all things you can bring into the conversation to personalize and humanize the interaction. This will create a closer bond between you and your prospects, as well as make conversation more fun.
2. Be energetic and enthusiastic
Yes, you’ve probably given this presentation a million times before. However, for your prospects, this is the first time. Don’t become blasé or your prospects will immediately tune out.
Give yourself a pep talk beforehand. Remind yourself that spontaneity and excitement are good things. Just because you’re sitting in a different physical location from your prospect doesn’t mean you shouldn’t smile. Your voice will come across as much more positive – as will your attitude.
3. Incorporate strong, interactive visuals
Screen sharing is a must when it comes to online presentations. You need your prospects to instantly see exactly what you’re seeing. Moreover, the visuals you share should be captivating.
Go beyond PowerPoint and use innovative presentation tools like Prezi instead. Try using non-linear techniques like mindmapping using tools like Mindjet. You can also create mock-ups using tools like Balsamiq for wireframing.
The more visually interesting your presentation is, the more likely it is that you will keep your audience’s interest.
4. Keep your audience involved
Now is the time to use the information you gathered in step one. Incorporate personal information. Bring up points about the things that interest and concern them the most.
Build on that original knowledge by asking further questions that will open doors to your understanding of your prospects’ concerns and requirements. Let them know that you have no interest in wasting a moment of their time. You want to gain a deep understanding of them and their needs. This presentation is all about them.
You can also mention people’s names in order to grab (and keep) their attention. Try referencing an earlier conversation point, incorporating someone’s name (“as Frank was saying earlier…”). Your audience will immediately perk up.
Also, try allowing the participants of your meeting to use the remote control feature of your screen sharing solution. Then they can point to items on your screen as if they were sitting next to you.
5. Ask questions – and let your prospects do the same
Asking feedback questions like, “Does that make sense?” during your presentation allows you to find out if you’re on target. If you get a, “no", ask more questions to discover where you got off track. In addition, stop periodically to ask relevant questions about your prospects’ business interests in order to ensure that the information you’re sharing is relevant to them.
In addition, encourage your prospects to ask questions of their own throughout the presentation. You might find that you go off on an unexpected tangent. However, remember that if they’re asking questions, they are becoming more personally interested. Not to mention the fact that whatever they are asking questions about is likely something relevant to them. Take note and be sure to focus in on those points in the future.
Finally, be honest. If you don't know the answer to a question, don't try to answer it. There's nothing wrong with admitting uncertainty. Let prospects know that after the call is over, you will do your best to find out the answer to their questions and get back to them as quickly as possible. Not only will this make your prospects happy, but it will also give you an excuse to contact them again later and follow up.
If you follow all five of these tips, you will have a stellar presentation. However, even the best presentation can’t always convince a prospect to make a purchase. If your customer is not in a position to make a decision at the end of your presentation, schedule another call. Come up with a reason to get back in there. Just because there was no sale today doesn’t mean there won’t be a sale tomorrow!