Insights from the field
If you sell in the B-to-B space you know that at some point Procurement or a formal buying committee will request to engage with you. Not new news. But what they want to see and what they expect has changed dramatically in the last 5 years and you may not be winning as many deals as a result.
For years I made a good living teaching presentation skills to salespeople. It was fun; you could see folks improve right in front of your eyes and for participants, watching your video was never as bad as it felt recording it. But with new business pitches being held in different meeting environments and the needs of stakeholders changing, the simple rules of touch, turn and talk don’t fully apply.
In most cases, your new business pitch was already submitted via some form of formal proposal. I can’t tell you how many sales teams try and recant all that was proposed. I literally had a client come to me with an 85-page deck for a 90-minute presentation! Well, the last time I checked 85 will get you a ticket in more ways than one. What clients want is to hear from the folks that will handle their business day –to-day. They want to meet the delivery mechanism of the service.
Doesn't sound so bad, right? Wrong. These subject matter experts rarely present, and are rarely asked about who they are and the significance of their role. These are the things that you’ll need to nail in a new business pitch. In fact – I hate the word pitch because what you’re really creating is an experience.
Here are 6 things you can do to ensure your best showing at your next new business presentation:
1. Assign a team leader. There HAS to be someone to act as the ambassador of the agenda - to direct the energy and focus of the assembled team.
2. Clear the agenda. Rather than launch right in, share that your team is prepared to tackle all of it. But ask if there are areas of deeper emphasis client stakeholders would like to focus on. Ideally you’d know this going in.
3. Know each other well. The client is looking for how oiled your machine is – you need to have regard for one another, be able to speak to each other’s strengths and connect to the purpose of the meeting and the client’s requirements.
4. Practice handoffs. What gets awkward in presentations is when it’s your turn as the presenter who rarely presents. Wait for your cue from the team leader; make your key points and end on a confident point. Then hand it off to the next presenter with an intro as to who they are and their significance.
5. Expect the tech to fail. If you are going to the client site, expect the outlets to be far away, the projector to have a bad bulb and the client to have forgotten their pen. Bring perfection with you – take an extra extension cord, power strip, projector and pens.
6. Pledge your commitment. The close at these presentations can be awkward, but they don't have to be. For the selling team, affirm your commitment by stating it and reiterating a key point from your presentation that was important to the client. Then, acknowledge that the client has a process, but that your team feels you’ve earned the right for their commitment and that your organization will give the client its highest energy and priority. And that's it. Assume equal business stature in these meetings. With the right prep, you wont have to worry about wearing an air of confidence. It will already be all over you. Good luck and good selling.
To make the most out of your next new business pitch, please contact us at 917-439-3271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Walton Sales Training has over 60 years of collective Fortune 500 company experience in Sales, Sales Training and Field Sales Management. Our specialty is preparing individuals and organizations to present their value propositions in a way that results in higher close ratios. Our team are un-blurring the lines of differentiation between their client's fiercest competitors.