Your marketing material looks great, your sales pitch sounds polished and clever, you’ve researched your client and you know your product inside out. Yet at some point in your presentation you get the feeling your potential client is looking for the emergency exit, and you sense you’re heading into a nose-dive.
Once a potential client loses confidence in what you are saying, it is very difficult to pull the conversation up out of the crash course it is on. A successful presentation, while it may not always result in a sale, involves many layers of preparation – and the most powerful ones have nothing to do with what you are presenting and everything to do with what you are projecting.
One of the key factors in any successful interaction is trust. If people don’t trust you, they won’t do business with you. Their ‘flight’ instinct is activated and they want to get away from you to somewhere safer. Because fear quickly locks your mind and body into a ‘survival’ reaction, there is no energy available for rational thought. Decisions made are based on fear and emotion; even if they do say yes, it can be for all the wrong reasons, so even if the sale is successful, you are potentially headed for a train-wreck further down the track.
Building trust does not require vast lengths of time and deep long-term relationships (although both of these can be very helpful). In fact trust can be literally projected from one person to another in a very short amount of time.
As soon as trust is established, both parties can be relaxed and open to receiving new ideas and making calm, information based decisions. When you feel safe and unthreatened, your brain releases endorphins. If you are able to convey your feelings of safety and trust, an almost magical process called ‘mirroring’ takes place. When one person produces endorphins, it can start a ‘reaction’ in others, prompting their brains to also produce this elixir of trust.
When you prepare for sales presentations, you not only need to present a calm and confident image, you also need to project a sense of safety so your client can trust you.
The three key ways to create trust and avoid a crash-landing
These three elements are intrinsically linked. You cannot have one without the others if you wish to create trust in any situation.
Being prepared encompasses everything from your core business message, your marketing material and branding, your outfit, hair and shoes, to your state of mind. Choice of venue, understanding of your clients needs and an articulate understanding of what your product or service doesn’t do as well as what it can do are also vital.
Credibility is a combination of elements ranging from your experience, the depth of knowledge of your product or service, your level of inner confidence, level of preparation, and honesty. If your preparation is thorough, and you are congruent with your message, your credibility will be highly convincing.
Honesty is an extremely simple and effective way to gain trust that is often overlooked. The truth in your responses, and the ability to be honest in your interactions – even if it exposes flaws in your preparation, will all help to gain trust. The grace and calmness with which you deal with tricky questions will show that you are able to stay in control even when conditions are not ideal.
Generating trust allows you to approach your sales presentations knowing you will make the right decisions, and guide your client to a perfect landing and achieve outcomes that are right for both your businesses.
Are you ready to create Your Perfect Pitch?