In the selling process, there will be a time when you present your company and its products to the buyer – this is what the meeting is all about. Be careful about leaving before having done this presentation. Sometimes you may have only a few minutes to do this and you will only be able to do this verbally; on other occasions you may have an hour or more to deliver your presentation and you will be able to support your verbal presentation with slides, graphics, photographs and even videos.

Whether you have a very short time or a long time to do your presentation, you should always something to leave behind for the buyer to ponder after you have left. In the past this would have been a paper-based presentation, perhaps comprising a company brochure, a product catalogue and a letter of introduction. Today, it is becoming increasingly important to leave behind a CD containing digital copies of these documents, as well as a short video (or Flash) presentation of a few minutes that describes your company and the products it has to offer. All of this supporting information should be available on your website as well (indeed, the website is arguably more important that the CD).

Presentation tips

Some additional tips for your presentation:

  • Be enthusiastic about your product or service. If you are not excited about it, do not expect your prospect to get excited.
  • Focus on the real benefits of the product or service to the specific needs of your client, rather than listing endless lists of features.
  • Try to be relaxed during the meeting, and put your client at ease.
  • Let the client do at least 80% of the talking. This will give you invaluable information on your client’s needs.
  • Remember to ask plenty of questions. Use both open-ended questions and ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. This way you can dictate the direction of the conversation.
  • Never be too afraid to ask for the business straight off, but do so with respect.

Stages of presentation

Your presentation (whether a short five minute one or a longer hour presentation or even a digital or hardcopy presentation) should strive to achieve five things:

  1. Attention: Get the buyer’s attention
  2. Interest: Get the buyer interested in what you have to
  3. Desire: Get the buyer to want what you have to offer
  4. Conviction: Get the buyer to believe that your offer is a good one for his firm
  5. Action: Get the buyer to sign an agreement/contract

The first two steps will in most cases be easy to achieve. The fact that you have travelled far afield to visit the buyer will probably ensure his/her attention and interest. If, however, you are selling something that the buyer does not believe that you or your country is a recognised seller of (such as selling brandy to France), then you may still have to focus on these two steps.

The last three steps will possibly more difficult to achieve in foreign markets because of the distance involved and the question mark on matters such as reliability and complexity of supply, the costs involved, the uncertainty about service, etc.