3 Jedi Mind-Tricks for Your Next Presentation

Last Updated Sep 19, 2011 6:26 PM EDT

The most important mindset in a presentation to understand and control is your own.

I was pitching this past week with one of my client teams and I reminded them of my rules for mentally preparing for an important presentation:
  • Never show up "needy"
  • Own their "why"
  • Sell to the "ask"
Let's take these one at a time.

1. Never show up "needy"
Every time I grocery shop hungry, I regret it. I buy junk food, I buy too much, I often forget the important items I went to the store to get. I'm just hungry and getting fed becomes all that matters. The same thing is true in sales. When you show up needy, you lose your better judgment. Just like skipping the nutrition information on the package, you don't ask all of the questions you should. You load up your "basket" with the wrong sales with the wrong ingredients and it makes for a bad diet of bad deals.

Needy people come across as needy and that scares prospects. Sure, in middle-school, the needy girlfriend gave you lots of attention and that might have felt great. Move forward 15 years in life and you have enough experience to know that those actions are good signs that she is most likely bat-shit-crazy. When you are needy in your head, you generate all sorts of warning signs that put off your prospective buyers. They have seen this type of sales person and company before and they know that needy people make exaggerated claims and dubious promises.

You have to jettison your needy emotions and get to a more objective place in your own mind when entering into a presentation.

If you are smart, you make certain that you are full before you grocery shop. Likewise, when you are going into a presentation, you need to be full. That means having a little self-talk. Explain the answers to these three questions to yourself:
  • I don't need this sale because...
  • I don't want this sale unless...
  • The other sale I am more excited about than this sale is....
Let's be clear, I do not want you to put negativity into your mind. I want you to secure your objectivity and power by removing your neediness.

2. Own their "why"
Do you have your prospects' "why" figured out? Why should they buy from you? Why can't they get the outcomes they want from anyone else? Why would doing nothing be disastrous for them?

We have our why figured out. We know what we think the reasons are that companies buy from us, what our value proposition is our framing language. But do you have their why figured out?

By understanding their why, you can see them as needy, or at least needing. This puts parity into the conversation.

3. Sell to the "ask"
Your ask is what you want the buyer to do next. Do not sell past the ask. Sell to the ask. If the next step in the process is a meeting with a higher level of decision-makers and influencers, then sell to get that meeting. If it's a deeper dive assessment, well, make that your target.

When you sell past your ask, to the contract, for example, you create resistance in the buyer. You are moving too big, too fast and it is incongruous to the process that they believe is necessary for you to truly understand them, their problems, and circumstances.

I coach many sales teams and I find two big problems in this area; either sales teams do not define the ask and set a question in front of a buyer as to what the next step is, or they ask for a level of commitment that has been unearned at this point in the sales process and there is a palpable disconnect in the room.

To have the confidence for the ask, know what the next step is, who needs to be a part of it, how long it will take and what resources will be required. These sound simple -- but if you don't have your ask planned, then you hand over the sales process and the buyer will set it for you. That's not her job; it's yours.

By getting your own mental house in order in preparation for a meeting, you show up with your power, your message, and your ask lined up. That gives you a winner's mindset.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr Spike_stitch cc

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