Sales Presentation: this is how they’ll know your nervous

Sales trainer Jeffery Gitomer teaches that in a sales presentation “we are trying to gain the prospect’s trust by being likeable, believable and transferring confidence.” It is very difficult to achieve any of these things if you are communicating to the prospect that you are nervous and uncomfortable.

Here are three ways that we tell our prospect we’re not so certain of what we’re saying in our presentation.

How you stand. I can immediately identify when a speaker comes to a portion of his presentation that he is not comfortable with when he crosses one leg in front of the other at the ankle. Be on the look out for this habit and you’ll likely see it at the next presentation you attend. You now know the speaker is either unsure of what they are telling you or that they have not practiced this portion of their presentation sufficiently. Instead, to communicate confidence and assuredness, we should have both feet flat on the floor about shoulders width apart.

Where you look. I’ve seen sales people deliver almost entire presentations either looking at the floor or at their power point screen. By the way, the old advice about looking over the audience’s head so you can avoid eye contact is not very good advice. Everyone will know what you are doing and it won’t make them any more comfortable with you as a speaker.  Rather, be sure to make deliberate and confident eye contact with every person in the room. As a result you will build rapport and trust with the prospect (more on establishing eye contact here).

What you do with your hands. I’ve seen presenters put their hands behind their back, fold their arms on their chest, rub their hands together like an evil scientist from a 1950’s sci-fi movie, stuff both hands in their pockets, click pens, jingle pocket change, etc. Instead, keep your hands unclasped so you can gesture naturally – just as you do in a typical conversation. When not gesturing rest your hands at your mid section, right in front of your belt. It feels a bit strange at first but if you practice you’ll grow accustomed to it and your audience will never notice.

We’re all a little nervous when delivering that big presentation but there’s no need to let the prospect know it (more on handling nerves here). Instead, communicate confidence through your presentation, build rapport with the prospect and put yourself in position to close the deal.

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