Pre-Selling Process - Solution Presentation

Selling methods and process has undergone a lot of changes in the recent times. Gone are the days when a salesman would carry his bag and meet with the customers to explain and demonstrate the product to the customers.

Today, the marketing or sales process as well as the customer profiles has changed. Technology especially multimedia and internet connectivity have redefined the selling process.

Customer’s expectations of a product are not what it used to be. Today’s customers both at an individual level as well as at Organizational or businesses evaluate a product from several perspectives. They have well planned process and evaluation criteria to be able to choose the right vendor and product for their business. The process of buying tends to be quite elaborate. The level of competition too is very high and customers really have several options and alternatives available to them in the market today.

In a consultative mode of selling, you always engage with the customer and try to speak his language. By this we mean, that you understand the customer’s business, identify his needs and problem areas, get into his shoes and look at a solution using your product or service to suit the customer’s needs. This method of consultative selling is the most effective mode for the value that the customer derives from your effort is much higher than in any other mode of selling.

Engaging with the customer, getting to know about his business operations calls for spending a lot of time at the customer’s premise, observing the process and workings, holding discussions with various people engaged in the particular aspect of business and understanding the problems and needs on first hand basis. Usually this effort is undertaken by a solution design team that works under the leadership of the sales manager or sales person.

Once the solution has been designed, the most important aspect of the pre sales process then begins. This is the stage when you have got to present the solution to the customer. This is where you have got to prepare the best presentation that will help you clinch the deal. Multi-media technology offers us the best option to be able to build the best and most effective presentations. However a lot of time and effort will need to be spent on designing and building the presentation.

While preparing the presentation, it always helps to think from the customer’s perspective and accordingly build the same. The entire framework of the detailed presentation would need to be divided into three portions. The presentation of course, opens with a welcome slide addressing the customer followed by a statement of the occasion and the intent of the presentation.

  1. The first section of the presentation would need to give a brief of your Organization, the vision, management, network as well as brief about your performance, product and customer references etc.

  2. The second part of the presentation should deal with what you have understood about the particular customer, his organization, business as well as the requirements, pain points, expectations etc. Giving a thorough understanding of the customer’s business and his needs will help convince the customer that you are the right person that he is talking to and automatically your rating in his eyes will go up.

  3. The third section of the presentation should detail the solution design that you are proposing, the details of the solution, how it aims to solve the customer’s problems and enhance his business effectiveness as well as the details of the solution, the timelines for implementation etc.

  4. Proposing costing or pricing can either be covered in the last section or can be handled separately and subsequently too. In most cases, it is likely that your solution design document will be presented to a cross functional team at the customer’s premise.

During the presentation there are likely to be detailed discussions following which you might be required to change or propose alterations and amendments to your proposed solution. It might then be ideal to submit the pricing proposal separately to the concerned along with the copy of the proposed solution.

The audio visual presentation of the solution is one of the most important activities in the consultative selling process. Always remember to customize the presentation and leave your name, designation as well as contact information as a part of the solution design document.

Practice making presentation at your office until you are comfortable and familiar with the solution. Take time to prepare yourself thoroughly. It is always a good idea to take your product development as well as solution design team members with while you make the solution design presentation to your customer. Remember all of these gestures will impact your image in the customer’s mind.

Finally, engage with the customer and be prepared to and open to reworking on the solution as many times as required to get the best solution possible. Your perseverance and holding customer’s interest at heart helps you go long way as a successful sales manager.

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