S: How to develop a proper presentation?
T: It needs to be developed around only one, main message. If you develop the presentation for sales, it should be a marketing message. It links together the benefits that a prospect could gain from purchasing your product and the unique features of this product that provide for these benefits.
How are benefits and features related? Through simple logical chain: the features of the product, if the consumer uses them, provide him with new, unique capabilities; thanks to these capabilities, he can gain advantage, i.e. better perform the job, the operation in the process of satisfying his need. This advantage improves the satisfaction of the main (or alternative) need, as well as derived needs, i.e. delivers the benefits. This chain can be represented as follows:
Features -> capabilities -> advantages -> benefits
To this chain you should also add the main marketing formula:
Feature is the difference between this product and its competitors
Capability is a new user skill provided by product features
Advantage is an improvement in job performance occurring due to the new capabilities
Benefit is an improvement in satisfying the needs (basic, alternative or derivative) achieved due to advantages in performing the job
Costs are all additional costs, expenses, inconvenience, effort, etc. associated with possession of this product, as compared to its competitors; this concept is best explained by the term Total Cost of Ownership (TCO or life cycle cost)
These elements comprise the marketing message. Its main idea is as follows: dear consumer, by using our product to meet your needs you could gain such and such benefits due to the fact that you could better do the job; this advantage is achieved due to product features that provide you with new capabilities. Alas, you should incur some additional costs, but the benefits you gained far exceed them.
Example: Camping with our sleeping bag you get a lot of pleasure from your activities because you are invigorated after a good night sleep even at freezing temperatures, because the one-inch insulation of our sleeping bag allows you to keep your body warm all night. This insulation makes our sleeping bag somewhat heavier and bulkier than others, but you will get a better night’s sleep in ours.
Develop your entire presentation around this clear, to the point marketing message.
During the presentation, enable the buyer to generate ideas on ways to use your product. Then he will treat these ideas as his own. Then, he takes your product as a means of realizing these ideas.
S: All this is nothing more than empty promises. How to convince the buyer that you are not deceiving him, that he really can gain these benefits?
T: You can persuade people by both logic and emotions. Which option is better? Both are. While convincing the buyer combine logic with emotions. Your arguments should be extremely honest (remember? We are talking about mutually beneficial win-win sales!), and therefore, logical. At the same time, these arguments should be really interesting, and draw the buyer’s attention.
Here is what psychologists [O. Bayeva, Public and Business Speaking (in Russian, Баева Ольга Абрамовна, Ораторское искусство и деловое общение: Учеб. пособие. - 2-е изд., исправл. - Минск: Новое знание, 2001. - 328 с.; ил., ISBN 985-6516-28-5)] think about the proper choice of good arguments:
The choice of certain arguments is greatly influenced by the audience or partner's attitude toward these ideas or proposals. If you know that the audience is not inclined towards them, you need to find psychological arguments that cause certain feelings and thereby pave the way for logical proof.
The strongest psychological impact is exerted by those arguments that awaken the listeners’ emotions caused by desire to satisfy basic needs.
In order to make emotionally significant arguments you need to know well the actual needs of those people who you are addressing.
The secret to a persuasive influence is to determine what is most relevant to the partner or audience at the moment.
... success depends on “knowing how to take a partner’s point of view in order to prove to him from his own position,” French psychologist J. Piaget said.
As we discussed before, your arguments reach the buyer when you talk about the benefits that he gains by buying your product and convince him that these benefits can be gained only due to the features that differentiate your product from others. Also convince him that the additional costs associated with purchase of your product are exceeded by benefits. Such logic strikes at the emotions of the buyer and reaches him easier.
Another persuasion mechanism is the buyer’s co-authorship or even authorship of ideas on uses of your product. Then, the buyer treats your product as a means for the implementation of his own ideas. This attitude should not only be welcomed, but also cultivated. While talking about the product, make sure you ask the buyer, “What do you think would be the best way to use our product in your situation?” Another option is to ask the buyer for advice, “Do you think this product can be useful in [hotels, spas, cafeterias etc.]? How is it better to use it?” Then, the buyer is empowered to express his thoughts and demonstrate how smart he is. Moreover, this approach implicitly forms his “author’s feeling.” This feeling is the best motivation for the implementing his own ideas (or ideas that he considers his own). This feeling creates a positive attitude towards your product.
If you have a great idea on how a buyer could use your product, you had better guide him to this idea so that he comes up with it. Do not be greedy, do not fight for authorship. It is more important who owns this idea rather than who came up with it. The presentation and the whole process of persuasion should contain tips empowering the buyer to get new ideas. Give him this joy, and you will never regret it.