Whether you present to your prospects in person or upsell your customers over the phone (or vice versa!), having excellent presentation skills is crucial for closing sales. While we don’t recommend that you break through the ceiling with coffees for everyone, an animated presentation may not be a bad idea.
All right. Good morning or afternoon everyone, wherever you may be. Welcome to another edition of Vendasta’s Weekly Wednesday Sales Webinar. Today’s webinar is a little apropos because I’m presenting on presenting. So great topic. My name is Song Rattanavong. I’m the Director of Sales here at Vendasta. I’ve had the pleasure to work with some of our largest partners and national brands across North America. Again, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedules, I know everyone’s busy. I always value the time I get to present to our partners. It allows me to practice my pitch and become better at presenting to others, so I love it.
So I just quickly want to take care of some housekeeping items before we get started. Our platform story now consists of four sections. We of course have our Vendor Center that allows for third party software integrations such as Five Star and Tax Broker. We have our Partner Center which is your portal to manage your products or our products and sell more of what you’re already selling. And then we have our Sales Tool, which is utilized by over 5,000 sales professionals giving them the ammunition to have those intelligent conversations with your prospects and customers about digital marketing. And lastly, there’s the Business Center, which is the one-stop shop for your clients to see what you have to offer and the proof of performance that you’re doing all in one spot.
Our products as you know, you can see here include Reputation Management, Social Marketing, Listings, Brand Reporting, and Solutions from our marketplace. Check out our marketplace, there’s many great solutions in there. Take a look, there’s all the sales collateral that you’ll need.
I would encourage you though to keep up to date on all our upcoming features and new products. Subscribe to the Vendasta’s Product Insider. It’s very helpful to me because it keeps me informed on all the cool features that we’re releasing since I always don’t always know what’s going on myself. You want to talk to your Account Manager. They can help you get signed up.
And I’m excited to announce our first conference and I’m hoping all of you can attend. We’re having our partners speak at it, some of our largest partners present their experiences. We’re having industry experts speak at it, Google, Facebook, they’ll all come and speak. It’s going to take place in Austin, Texas as you see here on the 25th and 26th of January. So for further information please go to vendastacon.com.
So let’s get started. I mean today’s topic really hits home with me as a salesperson and a team leader. I have to present to clients as well as my own sales teams on a daily basis. Presenting has never come natural to me as I am a bit of an introvert if you don’t know me. The anxiety that I get when I’m about to present is one of the most common phobias people have. Some of you probably have it. Most of us would rather call in sick than have to deal with it. And it is so disliked that we rank our fear of public speaking higher than death. That is insane.
One of the best presenters though that I’ve had a chance to be around is our VP of Sales, Mr. George Leith. I mean guys like George, they make it seem so effortless and so natural. I just think to myself all of the time, how the hell do they do it? But it wasn’t until after some time that I realized that practice really makes perfect. If you don’t face your fears head on, you’ll never become good at it.
When we think of great presenters, people that come to mind are individuals like Steve Jobs. He was a master at presenting. As the co-founder of Apple, he needed to not only convince the general public of his vision but also his own company, right? He needed the backing of his own organization. So it was his obligation to be the voice of that company and sell the benefits of Apple’s products while telling their story.
Even though public speaking can be very intimidating, it’s a skill that most can obtain, by anyone, and today I’m going to give you some helpful advice and on how best to do it. So one of the best things you can do before a presentation is look professional. When we look good of course we feel good too. So before any big presentations take the time to go get a haircut or buy yourself a new shirt, or tie, or outfit, beforehand. At least this way if you don’t have the best presentation you’re going to look good doing it.
When you’re preparing your slideshow try not to abuse your visuals. Usually visuals are images charged with something you’re trying to portray. Whatever your visuals may be keep them simple and don’t put too many words on them. The audience isn’t there to read your slides. They’re there to listen to you present. I like to use images that people will remember to tell my story. I’ve used images of celebrities like Tom Brady and Tiger Woods when talking about public reputation and their importance. I’ve also used some personal ones of my family to tell them a more intimate story. Whatever images you’re using, make sure they look good. Vendasta provides you guys with a whole library of presentations to get you started but you should always put your own personal twist to it as that’s what your audience is always going to remember, right?
When presenting you’re going to want to make eye contact with your audience. Connecting with your audience is important as it allows you to get visual cues. You want to see who’s actually paying attention and who’s looking on their phones. If you’re ever wondering where you should be looking when presenting the answer should be right in front of you. Don’t just single out one person but instead try to make eye contact with numerous people throughout the room. Engaging with your audience goes a long way in getting your message across. Because you know they’re actually paying attention.
You want to broadcast your advantage. Tell people why your organization is better than everyone else in the industry. Be clear with customers from the start. Perceived advantages built on many factors like greater prestige, more convenience, superior effectiveness, or a better value for the money. What I like to do in the past is reference past success stories. You know, how we’ve helped partners make X number of dollars. Or how we’ve saved them a whole bunch of money by reducing costs, making them more effective and efficient.
Either way, most businesses are only going to care about two things. How are you going to make them more money or how are you going to save them money? Making more money is typically more important to the business owner but a great motivating item or fact is that you can use fear of loss or losing customers to the competition. Business owners are super competitive. They never want to lose a customer to their competitors.
You want to use your space. I hate standing in one place when I’m presenting, I like to walk around the room. But sometimes you have no choice. If you can however walk around the room, it’s great to be able to move, make eye contact with those people. This makes it easier to connect with the people in the audience. It’s going to allow you to ask questions or sometimes even use them as part of your presentation. The best presenters connect with their audience by making them part of their performance.
We see this all the time, we see this in concerts, in shows, in comedy acts. If we make our audience feel special, we become more likable, which goes a long way in the sales process, right? People like to buy things from people they like. People are super engaged when speakers are animated. So be animated, be professional.
This is a tough one. What’s your crutch? You know we all have crutches. Mine is, I’m not sure how best to say it but what I’m really trying to do is stall for time until I find the right answer. You want to try to stop doing that, so watch what you say. We usually don’t notice it when we use these words like ‘um’ or ‘like.’
These are the common ones, it can make us sound a little stupid. If you hear it enough times it can become a little irritating. So record yourself.
If you listen to a recording of yourself where you regularly say the same words over and over, it wants to make us cringe. The first step in ridding yourself of filler words like ‘um’ and ‘like’ is to acknowledge that you do it. Once you acknowledge that you do it you can try your best and stop using them, right? The more practice you do it the better you get.
So phone presentations, I find phone presentations much easier than live ones. And the reason being is I can create a script right in my presentation. I’m doing this right now. Or I can write it down on a notepad. Either way this helps eliminate memorizing everything. It gives you a talk track of the messages you are trying to get across. However, phone presentations also have their downfalls, as you do not know if people on the other end are actually paying attention.
So five things that will help you when presenting over the phone. Number one, enthusiasm. You need to bring in a sense of energy and excitement. If you don’t your crowd will not take any interest in what you’re presenting. So be energetic.
Passion. Be passionate about what you’re doing. If you’re not passionate about the problems you are trying to solve then forget about it. The client’s not going to be interested in it either. Be patient. Listen to your audience. Spend just as much time listening and interacting with your audience. Listen for those buying cues as you are when you’re talking. So ask questions to the audience.
Confidence. Be confident in your message. Be confident that what you’re doing is the best interest of your client. If you’re not, then don’t do it. Have a sense of humor. I love to throw in some jokes, some deprecating humor. It keeps us humble and it connects us with our audience. As the old adage goes, I mean laughter is the best medicine. We all love to laugh.
So five things that you can do before your call, I mean some tips and things to do before your call. Define your purpose. What are you trying to get out of the presentation? I like to prepare an agenda so the client knows the reason for the call. And then this also helps me control the conversation. You want to have some questions prepared. Not everyone wants to talk, so without some leading questions it’s going to be difficult to have a conversation.
I also like to write down the names of the people in the meeting so I can remember them and ask them questions to get them engaged. Of course one of the most common ways to prepare is to practice, practice, and practice some more. The more presentations you can do the more comfortable you’ll get with them. With practice comes visualization. I mean professional athletes do this all the time. Golfers that can visualize a putt going into the hole are more likely to achieve it. Same can be said by presenters. The ones that can see their audience being engaged, having fun, are more likely to be successful in getting their message across to their audience.
Smile. Positivity is key to presenting. Smiling on the phone comes across to your audience even though they can’t see you. Having a positive mind frame allows you to relax and stay within the moment. This allows you to concentrate, handle abjections, any nerves you may have. I love to stand up when I’m presenting over the phone because it allows me to project my voice better and allows me to stay focused. You’ll also want to try and eliminate distractions. I know it’s tough but this means putting away your phone or avoiding any background noise that might be distracting.
So one of the toughest things when doing a phone presentation is knowing when your audience is done talking. So depending upon what you’re presenting, it’s okay to ask the audience to wait until the end before asking questions. As you know, you may be answering them later on in the presentation. Interruptions can affect your timing and rhythm, ultimately throwing you off. So letting your audience know ahead of time to save their questions to the end is not a bad thing.
Again, practice is going to help. It’s going to help with your cadence in timing by slowing things down. This will help you enunciate your words and others will understand you better. We typically speed things up when we’re nervous and this will come across to our audience as well. So slow it down.
So whether presenting over the phone or in person, a great tip is to look at yourself in the mirror and record yourself practicing. How is your body language? If your arms are crossed this may come off to the audience as anxiety or insecurity. So to keep things light, try to stay relaxed. Keep your arms wide open, tell a joke or two to get started. This will help relax your audience. It will open up dialogue that will, in the end, lead to resolving any fears or reservations they may have.
So how is your message transferred? We all know that people like to talk with their hands. I talk crazily with my hands. So I love using a headset when presenting over the phone as it frees up my hands. It helps me to stay focused when presenting. It helps me to stay relaxed. I mean it’s crazy how our body and mind are so interconnected. By keeping our hands free this makes it less likely for us to use those crutch words and stay on top of our game.
The great thing about phone conversations or phone presentations, you can use a script. So prepare a script. It’s okay to use a script. You just don’t want to sound like you’re reading from one. It’s important to get comfortable with the script. You want to put it into your own words, you want to use your own words, use your own flair when doing the presentation. If you are not comfortable with certain words then remove them altogether.
Keeping the script simple is a good thing. If your presentation doesn’t need to be technical, then your story should be easily understood by any family member, your grandparents, your brother, your sister, or a friend. I love the motto Keep It Simple Stupid. It goes a long way when preparing your presentation and a long way in life. So keep it simple.
As we talked about the importance of speed when presenting, you want to slow it down. To help you slow it down, you want to make sure we are breathing. Pause every once in awhile to take a breath. As the tone and inflection of your voice is important and it will be affected if you are not breathing properly. Friendliness can be projected through the words that you use and the emphasis should be on using courteous, thoughtful, and caring language when presenting. Using words such as ‘we’ instead of ‘me’ or ‘I’ will help you project positively.
What we’re thinking can also come through the message, so make sure you’re not daydreaming. It affects the tone in your voice so take care of the things you’re thinking about as not to project a different message from the one that you’re seeking to put across. And of course, you want to use positive language as we talked about. While smiling and staying upbeat is important, using positive imagery and language will also help. Having a positive word in your arsenal keeps everyone in a good mood, yourself in a good mood.
One of my first sales managers, when I was selling life insurance, he loved to use the word brilliant. He used it so often it kind of got annoying but I loved it. Brilliant is such a fantastic word to use. It portrays light, excellence, and intelligence, which then leads to positive feelings and thoughts. Use these words in your day-to-day life. Use awesome, use brilliant, use exciting. I mean use it in your presentations as well because it will keep you and your audience upbeat and friendly.
So my strategy is pretty simple. I like using the four Ps of presentations. It helps me reduce my anxiety before I go present and it makes the best out of the opportunities that I am given. I like to use a Wayne Gretzky quote. Yes, I’m using a Wayne Gretzky quote because we’re from Canada. I mean, you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take. So if you never take advantage of those opportunities to present you’re not going to get better. And you’re missing out. So you’re missing out on those chances. You’re missing out on those opportunities. You’re missing out on becoming the best presenter you can be.
So the four Ps I use when getting ready for a presentation are preparation is number one. Number two is practice. Number three is personality and number four is performance. First rule of Fight Club is never talk about Fight Club. I’m kidding. First rule of presenting is to prepare. Spend the time necessary to figure out the message you are trying to convey. What’s your audience want from the presentation and what is your goal from the presentation?
Most of the time we’re trying to convince someone of the importance of what we do and the benefits of it to their business. So it’s important that we plan out these presentations in advance. You want to make sure you have everything you need. If you need a projector make sure one’s available. If you need the internet find out if you can get access. If not then find an alternative. Preparing is crucial when doing a presentation. Nothing makes a presentation go sideways faster than technical issues. Technology is great when it works. It sucks big time when it doesn’t. We’ve all experienced it.
Practice, practice, practice. It’s the key to any presentation. An actor doesn’t go on stage without rehearsing their lines, so why should we? You will want to time out your presentations and not go overtime. If you have 30 minutes to conduct your presentation make sure you can finish it and still leave time for some questions. However, you don’t want to over prepare. If you rehearse your presentation too much it’s going to sound like you’re reading or memorizing it. So granted you need to be prepared enough to know what’s going on, what you’re talking about, you want it to flow naturally instead of sounding like it’s memorized. If you ask any experienced speakers what you shouldn’t do, they’re going to tell you not to rehearse your presentation too much because it’s not going to sound natural. So make sure your presentations sound natural.
Put some personality in it. Don’t take yourself too seriously. What do Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, key lime pie, a dolphin, my daughter, and the Icelandic soccer team have in common? Bet you don’t know but some of you would. I’ve used them all in one of my presentations to tell a story. So be yourself. We all have interests and funny stories. Use them to your advantage. Most of the time when we’re presenting if you tell a good story that’s the only thing your clients are going to remember. So it’s okay because it makes you memorable, right? People love hearing things that are personalized. As it humanizes us and gives them a sense of connection. If you can’t be funny, not all of us are funny, then make sure you stand out in other ways like you’re clothing Mr. Brandon King.
So you can do all the planning and the practicing in the world and then you stand up in front of your audience and still deliver a poor performance. It sucks but it happens. So to avoid this you need to turn up your performance. It’s about turning up your emotions. So if you’re normally cheerful, you need to be brighter and more cheerful so that you can reach the entire audience. Of course being prepared is going to help you focus on other parts of your performance like attitude, presence, and taking command of the stage.
It’s okay to fail as long as you learn from it. Performing poorly is not the end of the world. No one is going to die because of your bad performance. So just learn from it and move on.
So some things not to do. I mean here are some tips, things you should avoid. Don’t chew gum as it makes it harder for us to understand you or it makes it harder for people to understand you. Don’t drink too much coffee in advance because it’s going to make you jittery. Don’t use inappropriate content because something that may be funny to you is not going to be funny to others. Never arrive late. This is so important. It gives the audience the impression that their time is not important to you. It also gives them the impression that you’re not reliable, so please give yourself enough time to set up beforehand.
Some other helpful advice is to eat ahead of time. So you’re not presenting it on an empty stomach. It’ll help with the nerves. So listen to some of your favorite songs beforehand because then it will get you upbeat and light. I did that right before the presentation. I love to listen to Aloe Blacc’s I’m the Man.
Again, thanks everyone for your time and taking the time out of your busy schedules today. I hope you got something out of my presentation. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me. My phone number’s there, my email’s there. I’m Song Rattanavong, the Director of Sales here at Vendasta, signing off from sunny Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Have a wonderful and prosperous week and keep on keeping on.
Director of Product Sales
Song Rattanavong has been selling B2B solutions since 2005 with a simple mantra: if you do what's best for your clients, increased sales will follow. Having worked with a number of A list brands such as MTV, Puma, and VISA, this Canadian with a Laos ancestry and a Thai name has acquired a sales approach that is just as multidimensional. When he is not on a sales call helping his clients make money — yep, we see the irony in that, but hey, that's how we roll — he can be found either on a golf course or a soccer pitch.
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