Be sure to focus your presentation – but only after you
spend a considerable amount of time on the fact-finding and consultative
selling components of the sales process. Thorough research and questioning
should give you an idea of your prospect’s logistic problems and the solutions
you can provide. Tailor your presentation to suit each individual company and
focus your presentation on the benefits—not features, that you can offer.
Before making the presentation ask yourself: what kind of presentation will
convince the prospect to buy (analytical? logical? emotional?), then model your
presentation to match them.
Know your audience. Take the time to make sure that all the
important decision-makers are in attendance. When possible, be sure to include
the traffic manager, purchasing manager, maintenance supervisor, VP of sales,
and anybody else involved in the final decision. Include the CEO or President
of the company whenever possible. Be sure you know their level of expertise
about the transportation industry, your company, and their company’s shipping
needs. This allows you to use terminology appropriate to the attendees’
knowledge of the transportation industry.
If you’re using printed presentation materials, make sure
you have a packet or folder for everyone who will be in attendance. A printed
packet can be very helpful as a selling device because it gives some tangible
representation of the intangible services you are selling.
Even in your sales presentation you must remember to be a
good listener. Being a good listener generates confidence and demonstrates
sincerity in your desire to understand the prospect’s needs. During the
fact-finding session, let the prospect talk as long as they want. It’s simply a
matter of respect for the other person to let him have his say. Unfortunately,
too many transportation salespeople forget to extend this basic courtesy during
their sales presentation. Listening can’t be emphasized enough.
Most salespeople who are successful in our industry are
strong supporters of concept selling. Consequently, each devotes a major
portion of their presentation to securing agreement on the need that their
particular transportation solution fills before specifically focusing on the
nuts and bolts of how they move the prospect’s freight. We sell an intangible
service, so we can’t actually give a demonstration (you can’t physically take
the prospect along with their shipment on a truck from their dock to the
consignees dock – you can only describe what happens). The product we sell is
nothing more than a promise – a commitment to the customer to move his or her
freight when we said we would, at a reasonable price, with no damage.
Psychologically, the most memorable parts of sales
presentations are the beginning and the end, so they deserve special attention.
Engage the prospect from the beginning and get to the point quickly with an
imaginative opening that showcases the most important benefits of using your
services. Use your conclusion to summarize the key points of your presentation.
As you plan it, ask yourself what lasting impressions you want to leave your
prospect with when you finish.
“It’s not your customer’s job to remember you. It’s your
responsibility to make sure they don’t forget you.”
– Patricia Fripp
Practice, practice, practice. Increase your odds of closing
more sales by practicing your presentations. After you’ve made sales
presentations, they become practice sessions for presentations you’ll give in
Collect the ideas you’d like to suggest or selling points
you want to make; then organize them according to your purpose and the needs of
your prospect. Give your words greater credibility by backing them up with data
or testimonials. Keep your words as simple and direct as possible; use active,
not passive language; and vary your tone, volume and pitch to keep the prospect
interested. Illustrate your words with examples and interesting stories to add
color to your presentation.
Make sure the prospect realizes that you’re an expert. When
you demonstrate how much you know about your industry, you’ll gain the respect
of your customers and prospects. When people believe they’re dealing with an
expert it’s a lot easier to close the sale. Most customers want you to advise
them. When they realize that you have a great knowledge of the transportation
industry and of available carriers, then they’re happy to let you take control.
You become their consultant. It’s when a salesperson doesn’t know as much about
the transportation industry as his or her prospect that people resent a strong
sales presentation. However, there’s no doubt that traffic and purchasing
people are better informed today than they’ve ever been.
The best way to make a compelling sales presentation is by
demonstrating that you’re an expert in your business as well as his. When you
exemplify excellence in your sales presentation, the customer is eager to find
out what you can do to offer solutions to his or her particular transportation
To make the best presentation possible, you must have
conviction in the services you’re there to sell. A customer instinctively knows
whether you believe in your service. If you do, they in turn will believe in
you. Only then can you make a sales presentation that turns into a sale every