Have you ever been asked to give a presentation about your area of expertise, but not to make it a “sales pitch”? This might have been for a lunch and learn, or perhaps you were asked to present a break-out session at a conference. These can be fruitful business growth opportunities for your company, but giving a stellar sales presentation that isn’t a sales pitch can be a real challenge.
The simple fact is, no one wants to listen to a vendor give a sales pitch in a presentation. What relationship-based selling calls for in these situations is to provide value to the audience in the form of education while highlighting your product in the process.
If you take the role of teacher rather than “salesperson,” people pay attention! When you see heads vigorously bobbing up and down and people quickly reaching for their notepads, your presentation is resonating with the group and you are doing something right. When you get off the stage and people earnestly thank you for your presentation, you nailed it!
While this technique doesn’t create the “ultimate close,” and may not work well for selling laundry detergent or super-absorbent towels, it works very well in relationship-based selling. It will also help ensure that you get invited to give a presentation at other events!
Here are five relationship-based selling techniques you can use to get started on a killer sales presentation that isn’t a sales pitch:
#1: Identify the value of your product
Start by identifying the value your product or service provides. If you’ve ever taken Sales 101, you know it’s all about the value, not the feature list.
#2: List the problems your product addresses
Once you’ve identified the value, create a list of six to nine problems that are solved or addressed by the value provided by your product or service. Your presentation will need to convince the audience that these items are important to them.
People are more likely to make decisions based on the pain felt when suffering a problem, than the potential gain they might get from a purchase. What problems does your product or service solve that are keeping the audience members up at night?
#3: Focus on solutions your audience should consider
For each problem, identify solutions that audience members should be considering when addressing the problem. The trick here is this can’t just be what your product or service does, but must include “higher level” items for the audience to consider and relate to. Make it personal.
Remember, you need to be wearing a teacher’s hat. Show the audience that you are an expert and that you are there to share your wisdom with them.
#4: Demonstrate how your product solves the problem
For each point, demonstrate solving the problem using your product or service. You need to be showing your product without pitching your product.
Be open to criticism, and pay attention to the body language of the audience when giving your presentation — it can reveal whether or not they are engaged — or simply present. This takes a bit of finesse, and you will get better at it over time.
#5: Mention your competitors
It seems counter intuitive, but mention your competitors a few times by name. This can be tough to do, but it creates a level of sincerity and shows that you really are there to educate and help the audience.
If you do this once or twice, it becomes perfectly acceptable to say things like “Now here’s something that’s unique to what we do …” without sounding like you are giving a sales pitch.
The result of relationship-based selling
In the end, the audience will become aware of important issues that they need to be addressing, they discover techniques to solve their problems and they learn that you have a great tool to help them out and make their life easier.
While it may not sound like a sales presentation, it is! And that’s the goal of relationship-based selling. Try out these techniques the next time you are giving a presentation and you will have people thanking you for your time, requesting your slide , and asking questions about your material and your product. These conversations will further establish you as an approachable expert and pave the way for more dialog, a deeper relationship and, hopefully in the end, new customers.