At some point in your sales process, your team will deliver “the big pitch.” This event could take place at your place of business or at your prospect’s office. If you invite them to your place of business, we call it “The Big Show.” If you are visiting them, it’s “The Road Show.” This isn’t just your usually Monday meeting. This is a big deal. Don’t assume that just because you got the meeting that you got the deal. You and your team have to rock it! Below are some best practices for a winning presentation.
Agenda in advance: This one’s pretty basic. Make sure it’s not an after-thought. Or, at least express the objectives at the beginning of the meeting.
Script, practice, practice: The key to a successful big show/road show is a practicing a written script. Think of this meeting as an event planner would think about a wedding. Write down all the steps. Everyone has a role. Seating assignments. The key speakers know their questions and talking points (see more on our Power Tools). Have a dress rehearsal.
In college, I was part of a team pitching for startup funding. Before our big pitch, we figured out the conference room for the event. We practiced every word, how we would move around the space, and how we would answer anticipated questions. It paid off and we won the grant.
Improve your improv: No matter how much you script and practice be ready for anything. Chris Conrey once told me an important skill that sales professionals should improve is improvisation. Be prepared for changes in attendees, timing, or discussion. You can’t anticipate everything. Just make sure you have a point person who can go with the flow and keep it on track.
Ask yourself if you moved the ball forward: All meetings should be action oriented. What has to happen in this meeting to move the ball forward? If you have a well-documented sales process, this meeting should move you to your next step. In order to move the ball forward, you need to have your eye on the ball (again, part of your scripting). And for those meeting haters out there, if you achieve everyone’s objectives end the meeting early! Don’t assume you have to make it last 60 or 120 minutes just because that’s what’s on Outlook.
Only close the meeting with defined action steps: Make sure that reviewing action steps is on your agenda. Go around the room to collect action steps identified by everyone in the room.
I hope this post gave you a few new actionable ideas for your next big pitch. Good luck!