Tempting though it may be to do an Obama-style mic drop to close your sales presentation, there are at least five better ways to do it. Here they are.
1. Return to your opening
Repetition is a great instrument in rhetoric. In our blog on the 5 great ways to open a sales presentation. we included methods such as telling a story, asking a question and presenting a shocking/awesome stat. Each of these techniques lend themselves really well to a return at the close of your presentation.
- You could resolve the story, by explaining what the characters did next and what happened as a result. Presuming that you’ve got your story right and it really resonates both with your audience and your offering, this resolution can act like a call to action in disguise.
- You could repeat the question and hope that now that you’ve delivered your presentation they have a stronger emotional response (How do you feel about…, What is important…., When did you last…).
- You could return to the fact and highlight the relevance to their business. For example, ‘The average B2B business reports that up to 90% of content goes unused. Don’t let that be you’.
2. A call to action
This is a bit of an obvious one, yet so many salespeople continue to end their sales presentations with a slide that simply says ‘Questions?’. Of course, questions are great, but we’re hoping you’ve been encouraging your audience to ask questions throughout. By the time you’ve reached the end, you should have built up enough momentum to ask for more than just questions. You want action. So what kind of CTA could you include at the end of your sales presentation?
- ‘Join us’. This doesn’t just apply to organizations pitching for membership - if you’ve properly communicated your brand identity you can invite your customers to join you on your business mission, or subscribe (metaphorically speaking) to your vision. For example, iPresent’s goal is to help marketing empower sales through content that speaks to the customer at each stage of their journey. If you believe that great content has the power to shape that journey, you might be inspired to join us.
- ‘Buy now’. Again, it’s an obvious one and you might not want to put it quite so bluntly, but if the timing feels right you should ask.
- ‘Get started’. This one feels a bit gentler than ‘buy now’ but has the same end result. You’re easing your customer along the buying process rather than pushing.
- Some people advise ending with a challenge. ‘Are you going to continue to let up to 90% of your content go to waste?’ For us, as always, it’s about taking an individual approach to each meeting. Some people will take the challenge in the spirit its intended, while others will be offended. You want a challenge that motivates rather than one that alienates, so try using positive action words that are inclusive rather than negative phrases that encourage defensiveness.
3. A customized summary
Your entire presentation should serve to reflect back to your customer what you know about their organization – how they fit into the market, what are their challenges, their goals, their vision – and how your business can help them solve those problems and achieve their goals. So make sure you do your research. We recently ran a Twitter Poll and it was quite shocking the number of salespeople who don't research their prospect before a meeting.
The summary serves to emphasize all those points as succinctly as possible, reminding the customer that you are there for them. Your product/service was created for businesses just like theirs. Presuming you’ve got your assessment of their organization just right, personalized content will build customer trust. If there are any misunderstandings about their business, then hopefully they will have liked you well enough to clarify and they’ll give you an opportunity to redefine what you bring to the table.
If you know you have time in the meeting after your presentation is finished, this summary also lends itself well to an open-ended question like ‘What am I missing?’ to encourage further discussion.
4. Next steps
Letting people know what they can expect from you after this meeting can be another good technique to build customer trust. For example, for a long sales cycle, it makes sense to keep the customer informed of each stage of the process. If you agree, I’m going to write up your personalized proposal by next week so that you share it with your colleagues. I imagine you’ll need a few weeks to look that over but if you approve the proposal, we’ll then move on to the next stage (and then briefly outline that stage too). Knowing that they have time to make a decision and consult with their team can be very reassuring to customers who are used to being rushed.
Even if you’re trying to speed things along, the use of a ‘next steps’ close can be really helpful to build urgency and keep the customer in the loop on what they can expect from you as well as what you expect from them.
5. Something memorable
There’s a reason so many radio adverts end with a jingle. It guarantees that even if you don’t remember anything else of the advert, the jingle will stick with you. Now I personally wouldn’t recommend ending your sales presentation with a jingle (though I guess in certain situations it would work!), but you can use similar techniques to fix your business in your audience’s minds. A great quote, an awesome stat, an acronym, a mnemonic – all these devices can have the same ‘earworm’ effect as a jingle and may stick with your customer long after your presentation is over. (Therefore, choose wisely. These earworms could define your relationship with that customer!)
Any (or all!) of these devices should be customized to your audience and the deal stage. Whatever you do, try to end the presentation without ending the conversation. You want to talk more about what you’ve just presented, after all, and to hear the customer’s objections or questions so that you can move forward with the deal.
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