Debbie Mayo-Smith

A motivational speaker gives her tips on business success

Debbie Mayo-Smith: Mistakes sales people make

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Last week I gave three tips for winning sales presentations. I'd like to go deeper this week because of how important it is. Small businesses might not have sales teams, but every piece of literature, every conversation with prospects should be considered a sales presentation.

One of the new things I do with my training sessions which involve sales teams is to get examples of the presentations they prepare. Why are they always so disappointing?
As one of only six CSP (certified professional speaker a master builder of speakers if you will) in New Zealand, I've had significant training in how to be more memorable and persuasive. What works to get your point across. How to get people to take action. How to make emotional connections. Therefore I look presentations over with both an impartial eye (to their business) and one looking for the key elements I've been taught.

Here are some of the mistakes sales people make:

1. Them not you. Look through your written marketing material and presentations. What is your I/You ratio. How many I's, we's, us,our's do you have vs. the YOU of the client? This combined with what I mentioned last week, their results before your resource is a biggie. Every presentation that I have seen in training and also unfortunately often at conferences is created from the perspective from what you have to offer the client. For example a newspaper would talk about its circulation. A financial planner his experience and years in business. A mortgage broker all the banks the firm works with. The retail store about their selection or how long an appliance will last.

Instead it should be written from the prospects perspective. The newspaper would say the eyes you get in front of (instead of 'their circulation'. A financial planner the experience and years in business you benefit from. A mortgage broker all the banks available to you. The retail store your selection, this toaster is guaranteed to last at least ten years for you. Just a tweak of a word or two can make such a difference.

2. Presentations are not scripts. Sales presentations are normally laden with text, text, text. And more text. In essence they become the scripts that the sales person follows; rather than a selling piece. Have you heard the rule of a maximum of sever words per line and seven lines max per slide? However to be frank there shouldn't be any bullet points full stop. I haven't used more than a handful in the past four years.

Use Pictures, graphics, insert short videos if applicable. That is the world we live in now and you'll be more successful if you entertain as you sell.

3. Stories sell pictures tell the story. Use stories to make your point. It will be much more memorable. I've written about it here.

4. PowerPoint is for the wall. Only use PowerPoint if you are going to be presenting to a group and using a wall. It is not the proper program to use for a sales piece that is given to a prospect.

Written by international speaker and bestselling author Debbie Mayo-Smith. For more tips, over 500 how-to articles visit Debbie's article webpage.

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