How to Develop and Deliver a Successful Sales Presentation

In my last post, I covered how to make a cold call where I described about how to make an on the spot sales presentation. Now I will cover how to develop and deliver a sales presentation to a decision maker when you are on an appointed call.

Developing Your Presentation

When you start to develop your presentation, it is important to have knowledge about your prospects business. It is imperative to know your products and services; specifically how the prospect can benefit from them. As a sales person, it is your responsibility to uncover what the prospects needs are. The next thing that has to be done is to know how your company and your products compare to the competition. Product knowledge is a must. (You should also know what motivates the prospect to buy.) Based on who your prospect is currently using as a supplier, you can use this information to show how you are better than who they are currently using.  Only after you have done this research are you ready move forward.  Make sure the information in your presentation is thorough and can answer as many questions as possible. Your goal is prevent objections and questions by prospects by covering them in your presentation. Make sure to have testimonials from loyal customers with you. (Many times prospects will ask who else you have worked with before considering you.) Make sure to include product specifications and an ROI analysis if the product you are selling is a big-ticket item. You should also practice your presentation to make sure it sounds polished. Get your manager and colleagues to watch your presentation and critique it. Filming yourself and watching your presentation will help you improve. Remember to not be nervous and to convey your enthusiasm through your tone of voice and body language. Do not cross your arms and make sure to make eye contact with your prospect. Make sure to speak slowly, clearly and in a loud voice.

Delivering Your Presentation

Your presentation should include a demonstration of your product whenever possible. You should coordinate with your prospect to make sure there is a projector available if you are going to use visual aids. Also if you are going to use PowerPoint or any visual aids, make sure to use them only when necessary to supplement your presentation. Remember you are conducting the presentation, not the visual aids.  Make it a point to get prospects involved in your presentation. It is about engaging your prospect. Have them plug things in, play with the buttons etc… You want the prospect to develop an attachment with your product.

Address any questions or objections that your prospect may have. Once you have done this successfully, ask for the sale! If the prospect says no or they want to think about it, find out why. If they say the money is not the budget ask if I can offer delayed billing or a payment plan would you be able to take delivery. If they say they are happy with their current supplier be sure to show how you are better than they are. I will further explain how to handle objections in my next post. (It is important to note that in big-ticket sales, you will have to make multiple presentations to multiple decision makers. If that is the case make sure you are there to present your product, do not leave this task to the prospect!)

After you leave, be sure to follow-up with a hand-written thank you note. Even if you did not make the sale, it is important to be grateful to the prospect for their time. You want to stay in front of the prospect because things always change. There is always a next time!

Thank you for reading!


How to Make a Cold Call

Whether you are a veteran or if you are new in sales, you will have to make cold calls to build your customer base. Many sales people dread making cold calls.

However, if you approach it the right way; cold calling can be a great way to develop your selling skills and forge great relationships with your future customers.

When you first call on an office or business, chances are that when you enter, the first person that you will have to speak with is the gate-keeper. The gate-keeper can have the title of Receptionist or Personal Assistant. The gate-keeper’s job is to act as a screener for their boss. Their boss uses them to screen or qualify people who attempt to contact them.

As a Sales Representative in New York City, I have first-hand knowledge of how to engage them in the cold calling situation. I would always sell myself first. When I made a cold call, I would first go into the office and speak with the person at the front desk. I would smile at them and introduce myself. I would say the following:

Hi my name is Dan. The Gatekeeper would then reply with something along the lines of hi Dan what can I do for you. After a bit of engagement and small talk I would tell them the company I was with and ask him or her if they were the decision maker of the product or service I was selling. (It is always important that you are in front of the people who can say yes to you.) I asked this question to validate the person’s importance. Usually the gate-keeper would reply that they were not in charge of that. I would then ask them who was in charge. My goal was to make the gate-keeper a friend. Friends’ help their friends succeed. (There were times in which this frontline person was very nasty to me and I was not able to obtain this information on the initial call. If this occurs it is imperative that you keep your cool if you ever want to have a chance to sell that business your products and services.)

Now if the decision maker was not available to speak to me, I would inquire about what was a good time for me to speak with that specific person. I would then offer them my card and product literature. (Again the cooperation of this person will vary.)

Once in a while the decision maker will make an appearance asking the gate-keeper about who you are or they may question you directly. It is imperative that you are prepared to engage the prospect and ready to answer any questions they ask you. (Objections) When a decision maker made an appearance, I would engage them in a bit of small talk; trying to make them a friend. I would introduce myself and my products. I would ask what supplier they were using and use that information to give a brief on the spot sales presentation. Once I gave this presentation, I would ask for a commitment. I would ask a closing question.  Sometimes I made a sale. Many times, I had to obtain their business card and call on them again. (It is important to note that if you are selling a high ticket item you will have to close the client on the next step in the process and not the sale of the item.)

It is important to keep a record of information that you obtain during the call. This can be done on a log sheet or by updating your crm software.  This information can be used on future calls. (Sometimes you will get thrown out of a business during a cold call.) This happened to me on occasion. Remember to not take it personally and to keep pressing on. They are rejecting your offer and not you! As time goes on you will have to make less cold calls because you will gain customers and hopefully earn referrals; more on this in later posts.

In my next post, I will cover how to develop a compelling sales presentation that will turn prospects into customers.

Feel free to send me your questions.

Until then, thank you for reading!

How to Develop and Implement a Sales Plan

In my last post, I spoke about how to identify your target market and how to build a prospecting list. In this post, I will cover how to develop and implement a sales plan. Also I will cover how the sales funnel works and how it relates to sales success.

Now that you have your prospecting list, it is now time to add up how many total prospects are in your total territory. Once you have this number, you need to divide it by a two to three-week sales cycle. In most sales positions, you are required to be on a two to three-week sales cycle. In other words, you should be able to see all of your prospects and customers at least once in a two to three-week period. My sales plan was built on this cycle. The only exceptions to this, is if you have an extremely large territory such as several states or if the item you are selling is a high ticket item; where multiple decision makers have to approve the sale.

You have now come up with the number of customers that you must call on each week. Now you must divide the weekly number of calls by the amount of days that you work, which is five or six. Now you have the number of calls you must make per day. It is important to either put the names of the prospects into a daily spreadsheet or log sheet. When I was in sales, I had to fill in prospect names and information on a log sheet my manager printed out for me.  Also your monthly sales goals can be broken down into weekly and daily goals. Simply take your monthly goal and divide it by four to get your weekly goal; to obtain your daily goal take your monthly goal and divide it by the number of days you work in a month.

When you use your spread sheet or log sheet, it is important to collect information on the prospects you call on. The sheet should contain the following: (CRM software such as ACT! OR Salesforce can be used to keep this information)

1         The names and addresses of the prospect you are calling

2         The date and time of your visit

3         The person in the office that you spoke with

4         The name of the decision maker

5         The service provider that they use

6         Notes on the call and what the next step in the process should be

It is imperative as a sales person that you keep records so that your calls with customers are organized and focused. This information will also help you forge relationships with your prospects and customers. If you are new to sales, you will fill in the above information as you make calls.

I would recommend getting some kind of CRM software that I mentioned above to help with the record keeping and creating a Sales Funnel.

As you keep making calls, the information you collect on prospects and your customers will provide you with a great deal of insight into developing your sales process. This information can also be used to build a sales funnel.

Sales Funnel

Now I want to touch on what a Sales Funnel or Sales Pipeline is. A sales funnel is an analysis of your sales cycle. It takes a look at every customer and prospect you call on; examining where you stand with each one. This will allow you to categorize them into groups to distinguish where to best spend your time and resources. As you will learn, not all prospects and customers are created equal when it comes to hitting your sales goals. It is important to note that this analysis should take place when you are done making calls for the day. As a salesperson, your time is best spent in front of prospects and customers. You should examine your sales calls once a week or two to three times in the sales cycle.

Your Closing Ratio and Your Work Load

You can easily examine your performance in the sales cycle by taking the number of sales you made for the day and dividing it by the number of sales calls you made for the day. This is what is known as a closing ratio. Simply stated the closing ratio = #of sales per day/#sales calls per day. The closing ratio can be expanded to examine your performance for the entire sales cycle. As a sales person it is important to know how many calls you need to make to earn a sale.

As you can see, your sales plan, sales funnel/sales pipeline and closing ratio can provide amazing insights into your performance; allowing you to identify the specific steps you need to take to become a sales success. In effect, this information can allow you to be your own sales manager.

In my next post, I will examine how to get past the gate-keeper and discuss how to make a cold call.

Please send me your questions so I can start my ask Dan section.

Until then, thank you for reading!

Do Sales People Need to Double as Product Marketing Managers for their offerings?

Do Sales people need to double as Product Marketing Managers for their offerings?

When it comes to knowing who their customers are along with their needs; they do.

Previously, I spoke about prospecting and identifying your target market. I will cover this topic in more detail in this post. I stated that it is important to know who would be a good fit for your offering. For example if you were selling Dental equipment like I was, you would look for Dental professionals in your sales territory, you would not call on other medical professionals and offices that do not have a need. When I was selling Dental equipment, I sold devices that any Dental professional could use. However, I also sold items that only specialized Dentists could use. As a result, I had to do research to distinguish between my offerings. For example, I would not present a general dentist an implant hand-piece that only an oral surgeon would use.

However, if you are selling a consumer product or one with widespread applications more research is required; you will have to do extensive market research thinking like a product marketing manager answering the following questions:

  • How is the product being used?
  • What is the product designed to do?
  • What are the demographics of the people using the product?
  • How long is the sales cycle between purchases?
  • What channels is the product sold through?
  • What offerings does the competition have?
  • What channels does the competition use to sell?
  • How do your offerings measure up compared to the competitions?

So where could you find this information?

  • Product literature from your company and the competition
  • Reading industry trade magazines and journals
  • Attending industry trade shows where products are readily on display
  • Viewing product training and demonstration videos by experts in your field
  • Talking to prospects and existing customers about how they use the products
  • Examining your company’s data on sales and the sales cycle of your products

If you are a new sales person, you will do all of these things I mentioned above as you gain more experience. If you are working at an existing company, they will have data on your competition and product information. However, if you are starting a business you will have to do this research yourself. All of this information can be used in your sales presentation to convince your prospects and customers that you are an expert. This is the cornerstone to the consultative selling approach.

Once you know who your products are a good fit for, you can come up with a prospecting list based on geography. If you work for a company as a sales representative you will be given a territory with a list of names and addresses.  The only exception to this is if you are selling life insurance and financial services, in these professions you can call on anyone. You are not limited by geography. If you are starting your own business you will have to come up with a prospecting list on your own.

So how do I build a prospecting list if one is not provided?

I would do internet searches that focus on certain professionals that are a good fit for your offerings and organize it by zip codes. You will be able to build and improve on your prospecting list as you call on prospects.  Your prospecting list is a building block you can use to develop a sales plan. I will talk about this in a later post. This is how you prospect and identify your target market.

Please send me your questions.


Confidence Drives Sales

In my previous post on the basic selling skills needed for success in sales, I listed four basic things that sales people need to do to be successful in sales. These four things are: belief in your products and services, knowing how to prospect/knowing your target market, knowing how to engage prospects and customers with a message that is compelling and the ability to persist in the face of rejection and knowing how to get past objections. This post will focus more specifically on belief in your product and services.

Previously, I described belief in your products and services as follows:

Believing in your product means that you think it is the best on the market and that you would buy it. Belief in your product is key because your presentation will fail to impress the prospect if you do not.

Before you enter the field of selling, you need to decide on products and services that you want to sell. Once you identify products and services that you want to sell, you need to do research on the companies that have these offerings. When choosing a company that you want to work for, it extremely important that the company is reputable and that is stands behind its offerings. In other words, make sure the customer service and product reliability is top-notch. (I will explain about customer service in more detail in later posts.) This is important to establish because this will allow you to believe in your company.

Once you believe in your company along with their offerings, you now have to build and constantly refine your product knowledge. Your company will help you do this by providing you with product literature schematics, presentations and diagrams on how the products are used. However, you must commit to doing the work that it takes to develop this knowledge. Over time, your constant study of your products will enable you to become an expert. Your mastery of product knowledge will enable you to develop the self-confidence needed to make a successful sales presentation and forge long-term partnerships with customers. In sales today, the prospects and customers are looking for someone who is an expert. It is important that you approach prospects and customers as an expert while at the same time employing a consultative selling approach. In other words, you need to do what it takes to be perceived as someone who can and will help customers with their business needs. When offering prospects and customers a solution, it is important to keep their needs in mind and to not sell just to make a commission. You need to be confident that your offer is best for your prospects and customers; if your offering is wrong for them it is your responsibility to not force it on them because you will lose their business. Your goal as a sales person is to help as many prospects and customers as you can with your offerings. Customers should have confidence in your expertise so they consult with you first about products and services in your industry.

In my next post, I will cover how to prospect and identify your target market in more detail. Please send me your questions so I can start the ask Dan section.

Until then, thank you for reading!

The Basic Principles of Marketing have changed or have they?

Marketing in the digital age has shifted from content to context. Up until recently, many brands created the content that was used to market their products. Consumers were expected to like their products just because they looked cool or were hip. With the rise of social networking with sites such as Facebook and Twitter, this started to change. People began to express themselves online more and more. Ultimately, this led to sharing their experiences online. Noticing this trend, many brands immediately launched Facebook pages, this lead to the shift from content to context marketing. Instead of creating content, many brands Like Coke and Pepsi had their consumers create content for their marketing campaigns. Customers would upload videos of the products and they would like the brands Facebook pages. Consumers have access to more information about products and services than ever before so brands have to have a compelling message.

Last month, I attended the Pivot Conference in New York City. This conference examines marketing and the social consumer. One theme rang true throughout the whole conference. This theme was that consumers own the content that is created by brands. However, consumers alone and brands alone do not create content. Instead content is co-created.  Today a brand is not just about selling and marketing products; it is about creating experiences that both the consumers and brands create. People engage with brands and vice versa.

However, although the tools of marketing may have changed, the basics have not. When marketing products and services it is important to do the following: Identify your target market, create a compelling message that makes people want to buy your products and services, engage your consumers, have your products and services tell a story and promote your content using both traditional and digital platforms.

1 Identifying Your Target market

As I explained in my previous post, it is imperative to identify who is a good fit for your offering. You need to make sure you are sending your message to people who will be receptive to your products and services.  Depending on your industry, this may be heavily focused or very broad. Consumer products tend to have a larger potential customer base than other industries.

2 Creating a compelling message

People today are bombarded by marketing and advertising messages. When we see pop up ads and banner advertising we tend to click off them. The results of all this advertising whether it be a television ad or billboard is a severely shortened attention span. As a result, a message has to really compelling to make it through the filters. This objective can be fulfilled by thinking like a copy-writer. You need to craft a headline that will grab the reader’s attention immediately. This headline could take the form of a though provoking question. Something that will make the reader uneasy and have them think I better act now to either gain a benefit or avoid losing one they care about. Life insurance is marketed in this way.

3 Engaging consumers

It is important for brands to engage consumers. Now that brands create experiences in our lives it is important for brands to stay connected to their customers and fan bases. This could be achieved through social media. Many brands use their Facebook page walls to allow their fans to comment, share experiences, like their products and to upload videos of their products being used.

4 Having your products tell a story

Many successful brands have their products tell a story. It is imperative that your brand tells a story that its customers can relate to. The Old Spice and Dos Equis  campaigns are great examples of this. Earlier I said the consumers own the marketing content created by a brand. Now content is marketing in the context of a consumer’s life. Brands call on their customers to help create the story of the brand though the sharing of videos, thoughts and ideas.

5 Promoting your content using both digital and traditional platforms

The digital age is here. Social media is the marketing tool for the 21st century. It is tempting to focus all of our marketing and advertising resources on digital media. However, when marketing products and services a one size fits all approach does not work. Many people are on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites but many people are not. As a result, marketers need to make sure these people are included in their marketing messages and that these messages reach people who are not on social networking sites. This is why using print, television and radio ads are still important. In order to reach everyone, brands still need to use traditional means to reach the people who are still not connected and the ones who choose to connect with them on digital platforms. One thing that television is doing to stay relevant is using social media. Almost every show that is on TV is using social media. Specifically they are using Twitter and Facebook to connect with their audience. The stars of these shows have Twitter and Facebook accounts. They tweet live with their fans during and after the show. These shows use hash-tags. A hash-tag consists of a numbers bracket and a word. This is used to create an index on topics on Twitter. These hash-tags allow fans of these shows to share thoughts and ideas that will reach far beyond their followers. Facebook is also used by television to allow their fans to comment, like and share ideas on their favorite shows. Twitter and Facebook is even used by the TV news in the manner I described above.

As you can see, the tools of marketing have changed but the basics have not. It’s about engagement. I will be talking about marketing and social media in later posts. In my next post, I will further explain the skills to be successful in sales. Feel free to send your questions to me. I will include them in the ask Dan section.

Until then, thank you for reading!

Four Basic Things Every Person in Sales Needs to Do to Be Successful

Selling is a very detailed process. There are four basic things that every person in Sales needs to do to be successful. These four things are: belief in your products and services, knowing how to prospect/knowing your target market, knowing how to engage prospects and customers with a message that is compelling and the ability to persist in the face of rejection and knowing how to get past objections.

       1      Belief in your products and services

  • Once you decide that you want to go into sales, you need to pick a product that you want to sell. The product should be something that you use yourself or if it is a technical product the product should be one that after doing some research that you could stand behind. When you make a sales presentation to a prospect, it is imperative that you believe in your product. Believing in your product means that you think it is the best on the market and that you would buy it. Belief in your product is key because your presentation will fail to impress the prospect if you do not. Believing in your product or service will enable you to speak about them enthusiastically. This will give you a chance to get the prospect excited.

        2    Knowing how to prospect and identifying your target market

  • When you decide on the product and services you are going to sell, it is important to know who would a good fit for your offering. For example if you were selling Dental equipment like I was, you would look for Dental professionals in your sales territory, you would not call on other medical professionals and offices that do not have a need.
  • Once you identify people who are a good fit for your products and services you need to obtain a prospecting list. This list should be created or generated by zip code and should include the names and the addresses of businesses in your area.
  • Once you have this list, you should develop a sales plan that determines: how many calls you will make per day and the specific businesses you will call on and how often you will see them. For example, I would call on customers and prospects every two to three weeks.
  • Knowing how to get past the gate-keeper and finding the decision maker

        3  Knowing how to engage prospects and customers with a message that is compelling     

           In order to engage prospects and customers with a message that compelling it is important you have the following:   

  • Build rapport with prospect when you call on them and get to know their needs
  • Develop and maintain a strong knowledge of your products
  • Develop and maintain a strong knowledge of your competitors
  • Know what areas your company beats them and what areas they beat you and develop a selling strategy based on this
  • Know current trends and happenings in your industry these details can be obtained by attending trade shows and reading industry trade magazines.

        4 The ability to persist in the face of rejection/Knowing how to get past objections

  • In selling you will face a lot rejection. I was selling in New York City where I was thrown out of offices and told to not go back to certain places. Rejection is tough to take at first but it is important to keep in mind that the prospect is rejecting your product offerings and not you.
  • In order to succeed you need to keep making calls and keep a stiff upper lip.
  • Getting past objections.
  • It is important to know what customers true objections are to uncover what motivates them to buy.
  • Objections in many cases are buying signals because if you do not get asked any questions  by a prospect, it means they are not interested.

          These are the four basic skills you need to be successful in sales. I will be covering these skills in more detail in later posts.

          Please send me your questions so I can start my ask Dan section. The next post will cover the basics of marketing products and services.

          Until then, thank you for reading!

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Dan Galante. I decided to launch a brand new blog on the topics of Sales and Marketing. I look forward to sharing my content and insights with all of you! I would like to incorporate an ask Dan questions and answers section to the blog, so feel free to send me your questions!

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