Imagine that there are four sales professionals standing in front of you, all of them with records of success. On paper, they all look outstanding. One of them is going to end up closing a six-figure sale with your company today. After watching their body language for a few minutes before presentations start, you can already tell that you're not likely to work with salespersons #1 and #3. These two people won't make eye contact; in fact, they seem to work hard to avoid it. They keep shifting on their feet, and #3 mops the sweat off his brow every few minutes. They talk at you (not to you), detailing the minutiae of their products. Clearly they’re more comfortable with their product than they are people.
During their short presentations, salesperson #4 says "um" a lot and keeps losing her place. Conversely, #2 maintains comfortable levels of eye contact, knows her products and services inside-out, and she conveys the confidence to deliver them as needed by your company. She focuses on your business issues and uses her product knowledge to support her points about solving those issues. In all honesty, you didn't need to hear anyone speak after her. The confident manner in which she made her presentation sold you on salesperson #2, and you knew she was the right person to help your company meet its goals.
Would you like your sales team members to feel more like salesperson #2? Better yet, how about if they convey this level of confidence every time they make a presentation? Use our tips to increase confidence and bring out the successful leader in each of your sales team members.
Convey Confidence & Customers Will Feel Confident in You
1. Speak Volumes without Words. Your posture, body language and the way you dress give clients a first impression that conveys confidence or a lack thereof. Wear clothing that fits well and lends to your professional appearance without becoming the focal point of the meeting. Stand or sit straight with your arms relaxed by your sides or in your lap. Maintain a relaxed smile as often as appropriate as this makes you appear confident and approachable. Do not cross your arms on your chest; this is a defensive stance that pushes people away and sabotages confidence.
2. Build Speaking Skills. Solid speaking skills are key to a successful sales career. Invest in a speaking coach or explore local organizations where team members who need to become more concise, focused and confident speakers, can practice and build confidence. Good eye contact and positive body language will get a client's attention, but strong speaking skills will seal the deal. As with many skills, practice makes perfect. Frequent opportunities for your team members to practice public speaking outside of work will strengthen this important skill when they make sales calls.
3. Do Your Homework. Prior to a sales presentation, research your intended client and their needs. Write out your presentation and practice it, preferably in front of someone who can provide objective feedback. A well-rehearsed presentation allows you to portray yourself with confidence through professional speech, body language and knowledge. If you already know your products and services inside and out, you can focus on customizing each presentation for the receiving audience. This will make clients feel that their needs are important to you.
Quick Tips for Stronger Presentations
- Be aware of non-verbal body language. Your body is the ‘billboard’ for your message; make sure your words aren’t saying one thing and your body language something else.
- Dress like your prospect or client. If you have a big meeting, don’t be afraid to ask what the dress code is in the office, so you fit in. If the office is casual and you show up in a black suit, there’s a potential disconnect from the moment your prospect or client sees you.
- Talk to the ‘style’ of the group or person in front of you. Listen to and assess the communication style in the room. If you describe your solutions in excruciating detail to someone who isn’t concerned about the process, you’ve lost them. They will tune you out quickly, and impatiently wait for you to finish.
- Practice your opening. A strong start makes it easier to have a strong finish.
- Say your presentation out loud to yourself. Let your ears hear what your mouth is saying before you talk to your prospect or client.