Most sales presenters face this situation. They are asked to present as part of an evaluation process where sales presenters from competing organizations present as well.
Now, this is a slightly different situation as there are additional challenges in presenting.
· Rival features: Previous presenters may have impressed the audience with certain product/service features at which they excel. When you talk about your product features, it may be diametrically opposite of what they said.
· Boredom: Listening to presenters one after another is quite tiresome as it demands a lot of attention and patience. You have no way to judge how exciting or boring were the presenters before you. It is also possible that most presenters repeat the same features over and over again as most products in your industry have similar basic features.
· Confusion: When your audience listens to so many offerings, they may end up confusing product/service offerings in their mind. In their minds, your star feature may be related to your competitor.
· Opposition: Some people in your audience may have already made up their mind after listening to a good presentation from your competitor. They may not want to listen to you. Given their knowledge of the products, they can ask sharper questions.
Given all these issues, you need to really be strong as a presenter to succeed. Simply having better products may not be enough, if you cannot showcase them strongly against the competition.
First, ditch your pre-prepared presentation, then think of the following suggestions:
· Do your homework: Find out who will be pitching before you and do your work on what features they will be focusing on, so that you can handle questions and product comparisons.
· Build and compare openly: If you know that your competitors have already covered certain features, check with your audience and skip those parts. This is a great opportunity to build on their presentations and show in what way your product is superior by comparisons.
· Engage: Engage your audience by asking questions about what they expect. This would make them more open to telling you what has been already covered, what is not important etc.
· Repeat: This is the best way to ensure your audience recalls your product above the clutter of your competitors. Showcase the key features of your products and product name in as many ways as possible.
· Follow up: It is absolutely essential to follow up by an email listing the important points of your product pitch. Follow up at frequent intervals till a decision is taken. This is a really important thing to do as many sales presenters stop following after one or two weeks. Since the decision was important enough for so much evaluation, it will take time. Follow up by call or email every few days, so that they recall your presentation every time.
All the best!