Sunday, September 29, 2013

Making a Sales Presentation? Don't Make These Mistakes!

Lord have mercy, where did the summer go! The leaves are turning color, falling off the trees, and messing up my 2.5 acres...which I now have to clean up! Fall often means quoting church directories, school directories, school and/or sports photography for next year (yep, it is normally done this far in advance), and other photography events...All prime candidates for Photography for Income.

As photographers, we don't normally have to have real sharp presentation skills, but when you are doing Photography for Income, the time may come where you have to put them into play.Years ago, I was doing a presentation for a church. We were pitching a church directory.

There was a photographer from a local studio, and a representative from a national church directory chain. The local guy stumbled and bumbled...he was CLEARLY out of his comfort zone. The guy from the chain outfit was slick and polished. He went through his presentation smoothly. 

Amazingly, BOTH presentations were very close in content! 

1. Who is "Our Studio?"Company and what is our history?
2. Overview of Our Studio Products and Services.
3. What Your Church's needs are.
4. The solution and how Our Studio can help Your Church.
5. Display of portrait samples.
6. How Our Studio will deliver results.
7. The support Your Church will receive
8. How we will manage your account
9. How Our Studio Innovates! (the future of Our Studio & Your Church)
10. Benefits of working with Our Studio.
11. How we will launch Your Church Directory:
  • Program and launch planning.
  • Recruiting congregants as appointment setters.
  • Scheduling portrait sessions, photography, and sales
  • Target Delivery Date.
  • How Our Studio will deliver portraits to Your Church.
12. Your Church's feedback and results
13. Our Studio will now open this to Your Church for Q&A
What a snorefest! The board making the decision was bored just 10 minutes into the thing (no pun intended, by the way). Here's why: they didn't give a rat's ass about the first NINE topics of discussion! What they WERE interested in were items 10 through 13...and I am being kind by including #12.
Here is what needed to be done: they needed to focus on the prospect’s issues and concerns (and their studio history sure as hell isn't one of them!). So why didn't these people speak directly to the prospect’s concerns? Well I am only guessing, but I would guess that they felt the still had to sell the church on their company, and by talking about their company they would sell the church on their business and eliminate any nagging concerns the church board had..
I have yet to encounter an executive team or decision making board who was interested in a person’s company--decision-makers don’t care! All they want to know is:
1. That you understand their problem/concern (or want/need/desire), and
2. How you can help them resolve that issue.
I walked in and said, "Wow! You asked for a drink of water and you got Niagara Falls! (chuckles and guffaws). Look, you know who I am, you know what I do, and you know I am the best at doing it. I am going to get your church directory appointments set in one week using volunteers from the church. I will photograph all 600 families in one week. That's right, one week, not three like the people before me stated. The photography will be finished before October 15th, the viewing and sales done before Halloween, and the finished portraits delivered before Thanksgiving. 
"Your finished directories will be delivered before Valentine's Day, barring any unforeseen events such as mechanical breakdown or labor disputes...I have no control over those, so I'd be lying to you if I said I could guarantee it 100%. Now does anyone here have any questions, or do you just want to authorize my studio to get this going? (again chuckles and guffaws)
"Why are you laughing? You want to stretch this thing out until Memorial Day with these people, or do you want things done right, done right the first time, and done right now? Does anyone have any questions?"
I answered 4 questions. After that, it took 7 minutes for the board to make a decision.
Afterwards, the guy from the big chain outfit offered me a fairly decent amount of money to come work for the place he worked for. "Thanks, but no 44 weeks out of the year doesn't appeal to me."
The other studio owner didn't talk to me--he was pissed. It didn't matter...his studio didn't make it to prom time the following spring.
Look, the next time you have a sales presentation - or even a sales call - invest some time finding out what your prospect wants and focus your efforts on those things. Skip the yadda, yadda, yadda about your company and tell them exactly how you will help the prospect achieve their objectives.
This approach saves time and really sets you apart from you competition. Not only that, but you will never hear someone complain that you took two hours to explain what could have been done in fifteen minutes. And if you are doing Photography for Income, that is a big plus.
Until next time!

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