Thursday, July 26, 2007

Selling in Person

Markham, Ont. marketing consultant Keith Thirgood offers great advice today on selling in person in the latest newsletter from his firm, Capstone Communications.

Since the article doesn't seem to be online at their website,, I will paraphrase.

Thirgood’s starting point is a question from one of his clients: how should sales people use sales and marketing materials when meeting with clients?

If you're talking to a large audience (10 plus), Thirgood suggests using PowerPoint to illustrate key points. (That's "illustrate," he insists: “Don’t reproduce every word of the presentation in heavy, tedious slides.”)

But with smaller audiences, PowerPoint is inappropriate – even uncomfortable, when pitcher and prospect are both staring at a computer screen instead of making eye contact.

“Printed materials that the salesperson can hand to the prospect, write on, circle important points on, etc., are more effective,” says Thirgood. “These sales support materials should be clean, simple, colourful and of a personal rather than ‘corporate-speak’ nature.”

Save marketing brochures and spec sheets till the end, he adds – they're usually too formal and complex to make good sales tools.

But they do have a role to play. Near the end of the meeting, the salesperson should gather the sales sheets he or she has been using, and with great dignity, “put them into a company-branded presentation folder along with spec sheets, the corporate brochure anda pre-done sales letter.”

Assemble your package carefully, says Thirgood. “Make it like a gift, not a rushed afterthought. Make it feel like something of value. This way the package is more likely to be kept and the spec sheets passed on to their technical staff for evaluation.”

In sales, it’s the little things that make you stand out.

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