As any salesperson will tell you, how you close a presentation is important. The way you summarise your points and suggest the next steps has a huge impact on whether or not you meet your objectives. If you’re a salesperson, you may have spent a lot of time focusing on coming up with the perfect closing line or question. Yet there is much more to a presentation close than that one line, and it is important to view the entire presentation close – from summary of benefits to Q&A to arranging follow-up – as an opportunity to really clinch the sale, or ensure that your audience understand your content.
But don’t worry – there is a system that enables you to meet your presentation objectives and really make your presentation effective as a whole. Following these simple steps, designed for any type of presentation, will ensure that you leave your audience in a positive mindset, persuaded by your message and able to recall your key points.
Selling or Telling?
The first thing to decide is whether you are delivering a teaching or a persuasive presentation. What is your objective for the presentation? What will you be asking your audience at the end of the presentation? If the verb is to something like ‘buy’, ‘commit’, or even ‘vote’ or ‘believe’, then you’re here to sell. If your verb is along the lines of ‘understand’ or ‘know’, then you’re delivering a training presentation.
If you’re delivering a training presentation, the acronym you should remember is QUIP. This stands for Questions, Understanding, Information, Promise.
After you have summarised your key learning points, open up the question and answer session. Ask if there are any questions, and link your answers back to one of the key learning points. This will help ensure better recall for your audience. Even better, ask questions that encourage your audience to think about the content. This ensures that they deeply encode the information, and so are far more likely to remember it.
Take these questions one step further and ask questions that test your audience’s understanding of your topic, and determine that they are confident that they really ‘get’ your presentation.
Provide a list of resources delegates can use to obtain more information. Examples include a url, an on-demand presentation, your book, or even your contact details in case they have any other questions.
Ask your delegates to do something specific in relation to the training they have received, and obtain an actual promise from delegates that they will do this in the next week. Research has shown that if you actually get people to say “I promise”, the likelihood of them fulfilling that promise can increase from 10 to 80%. Not only will this help to develop a change in behaviour, but it also ensures that the content is fresh in their minds.
Closing a Training Presentation: Summary
The key thing in a training presentation is to ensure that delegates understand what they have learnt, and will exhibit a change in behaviour. Closing your presentation in a way that focuses on these objectives will help to ensure that your training is as effective as possible.
For a sales presentation, you should remember QUINCE. This stands for Questions, Understanding, Isolate, Negotiation, Expectations.
In a sales presentation, the Q&A session should come after you have summarised the benefits of your solution. It is imperative in a sales presentation that the presenter retains control of the questions asked. Start by asking a really good open-ended question such as, “Which area would you like us to take a look at first, and why?” Then, link every answer you give back to one of your benefit statements. This well help your audience remember the key points of your offering.
In the same way as you would with a training presentation, use the question period to check that your audience have fully understood what you have delivered to them. Once you are confident that they understand, use the pre-close: “So, how do we move on from here?”
This is where you step closer to the sale, by identifying any objections your audience members may have. If your audience raise an objection, first clarify it and check that you both understand what it is. Then ask before you address the issue, “Apart from this, would you be happy to move forwards with the purchase?” This forces the prospect to consider your solution.
This area is one that salespeople tend to be quite comfortable with. Here you address the objection, and negotiate a solution that enables you to meet your prospect’s requirements.
Close again, and make this the hard close. Use the negotiation discussion you have just had to move forward. At this point, you should actually ask, “If I do this, can I have your business?”
After you have your audience agreeing that you offer a viable solution for them and they are happy to move forwards with this, you should set expectations. Agree that you will get back to them next week with a formal proposal, and obtain a level of commitment from them. Then you all know how exactly you are going to be moving forward, and this reduces the chances of the sale falling through.
Closing a sales presentation: Summary
The presentation close isn’t just dependent on a fantastic closing line – the QUINCE system should be followed to ensure that you really have your audience thinking about your solution, and ready to move forward.
A word of warning: Salespeople can have a tendency to focus on the close to the extent where they may neglect other areas of the presentation. While a good close is very important, it shouldn’t be considered in isolation. Tie the preparation of your close in with your presentation message and objectives, and you will find yourself with an ultimately much more effective presentation.
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Stuart Buckley, CEO and Founding Partner, Calltracks Ltd
We delivered the presentation to our majority shareholders today, and they were speechless, blown away. It’s almost unheard of, isn’t it – a presentation that’s actually interesting? We really stand out now – which is what we set out to do.