It's time for you to present your solution to your prospect.
- Qualified your opportunity
- Done additional research to uncover a broader base of impact on your prospect's business with your products and services
- Arranged for participation in the presentation by your engineers and sales manager (there are three segments you will address during your presentation; in simple terms they are Products/Services, Pricing and Support).
As you're preparing your materials, you realize you have to make a decision as to the order in which these three sections will be presented.
What Order Do You Present Products/Services, Pricing and Support?
In our experience, we find the vast majority of salespeople present Products/Services or Support first, and price last. Unfortunately, if you choose that order, you may never make it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Whether you realize it or not, rock concerts are actually big sales presentations. Yes, you can be certain most musicians enjoy performing, but you can be even more certain they love a healthy bank balance as well.
Concerts are a way for rock stars to promote the release of their latest work, sell t-shirts/hats/jewelry/posters, and over-priced tickets for the next time they come to your city to perform. As a result, they are EXTREMELY aware of the content and order of their presentation.
Think About the Last Rock Concert You Attended
Think about the order in which music was presented to the audience. Did the artist begin the show with some dreary, long love ballad no one had ever heard before? Unless you saw Kenny G, probably not.
Think back to how the show began. The house lights were dimmed and the crowd reacted with cheers and applause. The stage was flooded with light shown bright by multiple spotlights and laser beams, as machines fill the stage with billows of illuminated fog. Got the picture?
So what does the rock star choose to do with that moment? You got it. They try to knock the audience's socks off by playing something that will get everyone to their feet. Crank it and rock it. They want to grab you and bring you into the world of their music.
Towards the middle of the show, once they have your attention, your emotions, your adrenaline and your involvement, they'll take the opportunity to play the slow, long love ballads or material you haven't heard before. They've earned that right by blowing you away at the beginning.
What do they do at the end, the finale? You guessed it again. They crank it up a few decibels, start spinning the lights and lasers, put the fog machines in over-drive and play the sure thing, their latest or greatest hit. They want you leaving the show drained, knees weak and shaking, but just strong enough to stop by the merchandise table and buy a CD or anything else with their name or likeness on it.
There's a Method to Their Madness
What is at play here are two philosophies that have been contemplated and argued since the days of Plato and Aristotle: Primacy and Recency. The modern day interpretation of Primacy is "First impressions are the lasting impressions." The modern interpretation of Recency is "What you see last, you remember longest."
So here's the brilliance of the rock star: They're covered on both ends. Primacy with the big opening, Recency with the bigger close. So let's go back to the question I posed to you earlier: In what order do you present products/services, pricing and support?
That's right, folks. Here is the conscious decision many salespeople make when determining the order of their presentation: In their opening, they will wow their prospect with the significant power and impact of their Products and services. From there, they will blow them away with their superior support pre and post implementation.
And what's the finale? The spotlights, lasers and fog for a discussion of....PRICE. That's right, friends, the equivalent of a slow, long love ballad, to close the show. The decision many make is to end the presentation on an emotional low point. And worse yet, Recency submits "What you see last, you remember longest." Is that REALLY what you want your prospects to leave thinking about, remembering last and longest? Really?
And I don't even care if you're saving the buyer boatloads of cash. It's highly unlikely that a discussion of taking money out of the customer's pocket and putting it into your own would be the emotional high point of the presentation. Should it be a surprise that salespeople tell me at the end of their presentations that all buyers think about is PRICE, PRICE, PRICE? Duh...So what have we learned from rock stars?
There IS a Logical Order to Sales Presentations
To begin, it makes sense to bring your customer into the world of your products and services. You want to grab them with the depth and breadth of the measurable impact your solution will have on what they're trying to accomplish with their business.
What's next? Well, at that point you have earned the right to take the presentation to the relative emotional low point, a conversation about price. It's your equivalent of a slow, long love ballad.
So, what's your finale? What do you want them thinking about last and longest? That's right. It's your superior support. What they're actually buying is a long-term relationship with you and your company. That's what you want them remembering last and longest when they leave your "show."
I'm not telling you if you present in this order you'll ever be on the cover of Rolling Stone, but there will be a difference in how your customers feel and what they think about as they pass by your (figuratively speaking, of course) merchandise table...
Bob Nicols has 34 years of experience in sales, sales management, executive management and sales force development. He founded Burton Training Group, now AXIOM Sales Force Development, in 1990 after being a top and highly recognized performer in sales, sales management and executive positions within the technology sector. He has managed and mentored thousands of sales people, sales managers and senior managers and been responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. For more than 21 years he has developed and delivered sales programs that have become the standard for many Fortune 100 companies including AT&T, BellSouth, Disney Enterprises, Alltel, Verizon and ESPN. AXIOM programs have been implemented in over 30 countries including Japan, the UK, Germany, Dubai, Brazil, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, China, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, Slovakia, Sweden, and The Netherlands. Bob's highly energetic and insightful lectures and workshops have resulted in invitations to be a featured presenter at dozens of national and international sales meetings and conferences. He is a trusted advisor to the presidents and senior managers of multiple organizations, both large and small and has been a board member of a national technology company. Bob is the developer of AXIOM's “Selling Sciences ProgramTM” and co-author of the “Selling Sciences” CD series.