The Key Elements To Making Your Sales Presentations Better With Trevor Lee [Episode 79]
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Do you know how to maximize your sales presentations?
Great and effective communication is critical to sales, and knowing how to successfully present is an indispensable tool as a salesperson. In this episode, Doug C. Brown and Trevor Lee, CEO of Trevor Lee Media, discuss the details of what make a sales presentation truly incredible. They also speak about the importance of being yourself, how to practice and get yourself into a peak presentations state, and much more.
In this episode you will learn:
Episode’s guest – Trevor Lee
The Key Elements To Making Your Sales Presentations Better With Trevor Lee
I’m bringing you another amazing guest. He’s from the United Kingdom. His name is Trevor Lee. He owns a company called Trevor Lee Media. We’re going to talk a lot, specifically about presentation. Sales presentations, you can call them those pitch presentations. Conversations are presentations. We’re going to talk about what you do to make those better because let’s face it, we are dealing with human beings and if we learn how to converse and sell but not be sleazy, playing win-win, then we have a much better outcome. There are some rules to this process. We’re going to talk about those rules as well as we go along. Without further ado, let’s go talk to Trevor.
Trevor, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.
It’s a pleasure to be here. I can’t believe it’s been years since you were on my podcast. How about that?
Time goes by fast. It’s crazy. Somebody told me when you start to get a little older, it would go faster. I was in my twenties, when they said, “When you have children, it would go by blindingly fast.” Here I am. They were right. It sounds like a long time but it’s like yesterday we got together almost in some regards.
I wanted to bring you here because a lot of people don’t know how to do a sales pitch presentation. They do all the work, get them there and blow it out in the conversation or the presentation and nobody buys. They’re like, “What happened?” You’re an expert in this field. We had a lot of people who are like, “I wish I had something on sales presentations.” I’m grateful you’re here. Thank you. Let’s dive right in. How would you classify a sales pitch presentation? Can you give a definition for it to set the frame?
A lot of people think that when you’re talking about a presentation, in particular, you’re talking about a conference, event and a big audience. You’re presenting most of the time, particularly in the sales environment, whether it’s one-to-on over Zoom or face-to-face. For me, a sales picture or a presentation is defined as something where you’re seeking a favorable outcome for you and the people you are pitching to.
It’s not like I’m going to get up on stage or have my PowerPoint with me all the time. A presentation could be something like conversing back and forth.
It’s any sales interaction where you’ve got a definite purpose.
Let’s go there because I don’t think even people think about this definite purpose as much as they should. What they’re thinking is, “I got to make a sale. I got my manager on my back. I got my owner. I am the owner and I’m responsible for converting revenue in,” or whatever it might be. Maybe they want to make more money but they come in with the intention of, “I’m going to close this sale.” It drives me crazy when sales trainers go, “ABC, Always Be Closing.” It’s like, “What if it’s not the right thing?”
I always like building a relationship to a close. That’s fine. What would be the first step if somebody’s like, “I got it. It’s not PowerPoint. It’s not necessarily over Zoom or on stage. It’s every interaction I have as a sales presentation in this process?” What are some of the points that they should be looking at to get going and do this the right way?
There’s a couple there. You highlighted the one when you said maybe this isn’t for them anyway. Realistically, with research opportunities, you shouldn’t be making too many pitches or presentations that end in that scenario because if you do that, you’ve misread the situation, you’ve got the research wrong or something has not happened correctly in that process. You’re wasting your time and your client’s time as well. If you get past that bit, then to me, the first thing is the purpose. Write it down. What I mean by that is essentially what you want the outcome to be. That is the key thing. Why are you are doing this picture or presentation in the first place?
It’s easy to say, “I’m doing it because I want to get a sale or a new customer. I want to double the income from the current customer. I want to get some investment.” When you’re identifying that purpose, you’ve also got to have a touch of realism in there. If you are going to do a pitch and looking for $1 million or something sale, then is it realistic? Is someone at the end of that picture going to say, “Here’s the $1 million. Let’s crack on?” You’ve got to be realistic about what you want to achieve at the end of that picture presentation. A lot of people miss that.
If I’m at an event or something and somebody has a presentation and they know who I am, sometimes they’ll say to me, “How do you think it went? Tell me what you thought about my presentation.” The first thing I say is, “What was your purpose?” They look at me with a ridiculous question, “What do you mean?” I say, “What did you want to achieve? Did you achieve it?” Most of the time, they haven’t given that proper thought.
I’ve noticed that as well in the people that I’ve looked at as companies and you go, “What’s the purpose of you selling here?” They all go, “To sell more. I don’t know. I never thought it through.” It is a presentation no matter what we think. We get this in dating. We say, “I’m going to go out and impress this person to get a date in the conversation. I get a date and then I put on my best shirt, shave and shower. I’m going to present myself in the best light because I want to see if it goes to the next step,” which is the purpose of that relationship potential. Whatever that next step might be, I don’t know that that’s going to be defined as well.
The point being is we do these things in human interaction regularly but when it comes to sales, it’s like, “I’ve got my suit and tie in the old days. I’m going to go in and wow them. I’m going to walk out with the paperwork and that’s going to be the deal.” There’s nothing wrong with walking out with the paperwork if it’s the right thing. From personal experience, I know that there are no bad clients or bad customers. There are only bad business decisions to take that sale in the first place.
Part of that initial process is what I call expectation. If I was working with somebody on this, I would say to them, “When you’re going to do your pitch or presentation, the person, team or company you’re doing it to, what are they expecting to happen?” Sometimes we don’t give that any thought at all either. It’s important that there’s this set of expectations like, “I’d like to come along and pitch to you but what I want to do is get to the point where you think it’s a good idea to have the next meeting. You know what the expectation is. I know what it is. I’ve told you what I’m planning to try and get to as an outcome then during the pitch or presentation, I want to steer you towards it.”
If you say to me at some point, “I don’t need another meeting. It’s great. Let’s go ahead,” then fantastic. If I go in thinking, “I’m going to get you to sign on the dotted line,” and you are thinking, “This is just an introductory pitch or presentation to give me a feel for you,” then our expectations are wide apart. Therefore, that’s where it’s going to break down because you are sitting there thinking, “He’s trying to sell me something. I didn’t expect that. There’s no chance he’s going to buy anything from me.”
We don’t somehow have those conversations prior to the picture presentation, particularly if it’s a big-picture presentation. We might be pitching with 3 or 4 other companies for a big contractor or something. We might have received a document saying, “This is the expectation,” and that’s great. One of the downfalls there is that people don’t read between the lines. They scan the read and think, “They want to buy.” They don’t look at what’s in the detail and then deliver the picture presentation and wonder why it doesn’t work out.
Even looking through the detail, if they have the curiosity of like, “This doesn’t seem this way,” what I found is they don’t ask. My grandmother was a cool lady. She would say things like, “If you want to know what a girl wants, ask her.”
The two core or key things when you’re doing a picture presentation are listening and watching. Most people, when they get up there to deliver a presentation, think it’s all about talking and pressing the click.
I found asking questions is far more important than presenting. Let’s say in that case, we put a slide up and ask a question of them, then we’re engaging them. We’re getting feedback. They may go, “I don’t like it,” but if we don’t know that, we go on to the next slide and give an address that so we’ve got an objection that’s going to pop up at the end anyways in some other capacity. If we ask upfront, “Does this make sense?” “Yes.” “Great. Any questions, comments or considerations?” “No. It sounds good.” We then move on. It never ceases to amaze me that people prospect for somebody for a year. It takes them a year to get an appointment and then they don’t do the research and find out what the client wants.
It creates this boilerplate presentation that’s been going on for many years. They bring it in and go do their stuff. It’s like, “No, I was not looking for Windows. I was looking for Microsoft Windows. I don’t want to build Windows.” Trevor owns a company called Trevor Lee Media. You can find them at TrevorLeeMedia.co.uk. They’re experts on sales pitch presentations. Trevor, you give people 7, 8 or whatever points. What’s point number one?
The model you’re referring to is the 7Ps of presenting model. That does revolve around Purpose. The second thing is around People. We’ve touched on that as well. Understanding who your audience is is important. It’s very simple. You ask, “When I turn up to do my pitch or presentation, whether it’s face-to-face or online, who’s going to be there?” You can find those people. You don’t have to be sent their biographies.
It’s understanding whom you’re going to be presenting to and finding out their expectation. The biggest problem we have in sales is the assumption. We assume that we know what the client is looking for. As you quite rightly said in your example about Windows, we often get that wrong. If we’ve worked hard for a year to get in there and do that picture presentation, then surely it’s got to be worth the time and effort to get the preparation right.
I have seen this assumption thing happen. There’s something called bias. We all tend to sell to people the way we want to be sold to. I’ll never forget that there was a real estate agent. They had a little over $4 million home that the husband and wife were going back and forth. The wife’s like, “I love this house. I want this house. Look at this.” He’s like, “It’s a little more than I want to go.” She’s like, “Look at the pool out here. The kids could be out here.” She’s selling him every single way on buying this house. “Look at this bedroom, that and this.”
He’s going, “I like it all. It’s an important decision.” She’s like, “Look at the neighbors and the schools that the kids are going to go to.” She’s a pro on the house. He goes, “I want to think about it a little bit.” The real estate agent says, “This is an important decision. I agree with you. You should probably take 48 hours and think this through to make sure you want this home.” In the meantime, in those 48 hours, the real estate agent called back. The people went and bought a home for $4.6 million versus $4.2 million in the same neighborhood.
In that case, they would have invested in the house. There could be an argument made like, “They got a better house.” “How do we know? They might have got a worse house for $4.6 million.” The point being is the real estate agents’ buyer’s bias assumed that that person would then think like them and would want time. She gave them time and lost a sale. If she got a 2% commission on $4 million, that’s a pretty good payday to sell a house. Trevor, the first rule in marketing is to research your audience. Figure out who’s buying, what they want to buy and how they want to buy. It should be no different from anything else that we’re doing in life for communicating with sales.
If there are two things that businesses or readers could do better when they’re delivering their next picture presentation is it is to prepare better, run through it and practice it a bit because if it’s worth that much to you, it’s got to be worth a bit of practice rather than turning up. When you practice, it gives you an idea of how the flow’s going to work. You can sense check whether you’ve got your purpose right. Not everybody is very confident about delivering presentations. Some people are too confident. If you practice, it will make it all feel better in terms of the flow you’ve got. Have you included the right content? Have you got too much in there? One of the challenges that lots of people in the business face is they’re not very good when they’re putting that picture or presentation together.
Particularly, if they’re going to support it with some slides because they’re doing it to several people. They’re not very good at leaving stuff out being what I call that ruthless editor, “Why am I putting that in there? I think it’d be nice to have. I want to tell them how great I am at whatever.” More often they don’t need to know that. They already know that. That’s why they’ve invited you around. It frustrates me when I see people waste a picture or presentation because they haven’t thought it through well enough.
Do you think that’s because they don’t have the end in mind?
It might be. What you said about you spending a year getting the pitch and then what do you do? You roll out the presentation that you’ve been using for the last twelve months.
I’ve seen people do that in the tech business. The technology is not even the same.
That is inexcusable. I like this idea. I’d like that technology because I thought that was obsolete but it’s back on your agenda. They’re like, “Let’s have some of that in our company.”
I swear dial-up and DSL still exist like, “Stop.” You said something that a lot of people might go right over because it sounded so natural to you. When somebody’s too confident in a presentation, then they tend to miss the obvious. That’s what I find. What do you find when somebody’s too confident in a presentation?
This show of yours is called CEO Sales Strategies. What I often find, it’s the kind of CEO level. No disrespect to them because I know they’re reading this. They’re the ones who think, “I’ve done this picture presentation. I’m very confident about pitching or presenting. I know how to do this. I don’t need any help. I’m great at this.” They’re the ones that sometimes get it badly wrong because they are overconfident. They think they don’t need to prepare or practice. They’re not that good. Some of them are great. Some of them are good but a lot of them aren’t great and they think they are. That to me is the overconfidence thing. It almost comes with the territory, “I’m the CEO, I must know what I’m doing.”
Years ago, I was with someone who was a world-famous trainer. I’m not going to say the name because I like this person very much but I had a pre-call with somebody because I worked with these people as an independent running their teams and they wanted to talk with this person. I queued up the call. This happened twice. They get off this call. I call them back and go, “How did it go?” They go, “What happened? The guy told me I don’t qualify and I’m not big enough.” I said, “What are you talking about? You make $10 million a year.”
They’re netting out a very healthy profit on that. It was that overconfident thing that they missed. They never even asked them what they were making. They assumed by the size of the employee count in the company that they only had a few employees doing $10 million a year. That was one area of overconfidence. The X area of overconfidence was with a company called Intuit. I queued up a company called Intuit for this same person. They went in and the person was like, “All they did was talk about themselves for 45 minutes.” I then asked the buyer, “Is this something you still want to do?” They go, “Yes, but not with them.”
I had to go back and close that deal. The fun part about that was $435,000 of that deal to these people. That may not sound like a lot to somebody who’s selling $20 million items but the reality is this was a consulting package. It’s a high profit.” That overconfidence bites people all the time. Please tell me if I’m right or wrong on this. I always feel like if I go out on stage or present in any capacity, I always have a few little butterflies in my stomach. If I don’t have them, I try to get myself to that place where I have a few butterflies. I ask these questions, “What about this or that? I don’t know that,” so I got to go research it. Is that the right or wrong way of doing it?
We know that lots of people are nervous about presenting. They don’t like the idea of public speaking and standing up in front of people. They get themselves in a bit of a state. There are various ways you can deal with that. To answer your question, it is good. If I do stuff, speaking or anything like that, I always say, “I want a little bit of an edge because it sharpens me up. It gets me focused. I’m ready to deliver whatever I’m delivering.” If I just rock up and lob along because I’m not feeling any sort of sense of nerves or anything like that, there’s a danger. I’m not right up at the highest energy level I want to be. It’s good that you’ve got that little edge and a few nerves.
I love what you said, “Keep this a little bit of tension in the process.” The person I’ve seen do this the best and people might be surprised by this is Mr. Tony Robbins. I assume he still does. If you don’t, Tony, I apologize. He will go through an actual process before he goes out on stage. He gets himself ready and in a peak state as he teaches. He goes out, delivers and kills it every single time. People love him on stage. If no one feels that they should be doing this, take a look at a guy who owns billions of dollars worth of companies doing this successfully through the years. You’ll see professional athletes do this.
We’ll see anybody who’s a true champion of what they do traditionally will do this type of thing. That’s what I have found. You look at even musicians. I saw Billy Joel years ago. The guy came out like the first time he’s ever been on stage and the audience reacted to him so amazingly well. Here’s the thing. Elton John came out on stage. He was tired. I don’t know if he wasn’t feeling well but the moment Billy Joel walked out, the whole place lit up and I was like, “What are they all here to see Billy Joel?” It kicked into me. This feeling like you’re doing it for the first time is an important point. I believe it also gives us the vulnerability to ask questions. Have you found the same thing?
I agree with that entirely. I’m involved in a lot of sports and warming up is a big part of it. We’re going to out there to deliver our pitch or presentation. When I’m working with people, I say, “Do a warm-up. I don’t say go and run around the block ten times but do a few stretches of the shoulders and a few deep breaths. Get yourself in the zone.” When you do go out there, you are highly energized and ready to make an impact. As you experience with Billy Joel, you have to get that engagement virtually straight away. Either through your body language or what you say or your first slide.
That’s like Billy Joel or Tony Robbins. They are going on big audiences but on small ones like one-on-one, the rules don’t change. You want to get yourself into a peak state and get yourself a little bit vulnerable.
One-to-one is probably a little less formal. You’re probably not going to march into the room and all that stuff. I honestly think that delivering a presentation to a smaller audience is much harder than to a bigger audience. Not everybody would agree with me because they are like, “If there’s a 100 people there, I’d be terrified but if it’s just you, then that would be fine.” It’s because you’ve got to make that one-to-one work straight away. You might know the person, which is great and that’s helpful.
If you don’t know the person, then it means you’ve got to get that interaction. Doug, you have experienced this in doing these shows. When you meet some people you’re unsure about for the first time, you’re trying to build that interaction or rapport between you as soon as possible so that they’re relaxed and they can be great guests for your show.
When you were saying this, I wrote this down, “Your attitude equals your altitude.” With 100 people, you can miss a couple of those and you won’t notice it in those interactions. If you have 1 or 2 people, you’re sitting there and it’s not going well. With 100 people, you can distract and say those 2 aren’t going to interact but the other 98 are or whatever it might be. Larger presentation groups are much easier. There’s more uniformity to it and it’s virtually impossible if you have 1,000 people in the audience to individually connect with each one of them on such a level.
As long as you can connect with the general premise of what everybody’s looking for, it’s a lot easier. In the smaller groups, you could do the same thing but they’re going to ask more specific questions. You’re in the United Kingdom. I’m in the United States. Does this work universally across the globe or is it just for people who speak English, for example, as their primary language? What have you noticed working all over the world?
You have to be aware of cultural differences without going into great detail on that. At the end of the day, the true thing is to be your authentic self and not necessarily try and change the way you are going to present or pitch too much. You want to get the pleasantries and process correctly if you’re working with different people and get some advice on maybe how to do that or if you are not sure how it works or you’re dealing with people in a country you’re not familiar with, for example.
Nevertheless, it’s still that people buy from people bit. You want your true self to come across. Interestingly, I had someone on my show. He used the term authentic imperfection. In other words, “Don’t try and be spot on with everything. Things may not quite go right. As long as it’s the authentic you, that will help engage you with that audience, whether that’s one-to-one or one-to-many.”
That’s awesome because that can be your intention for coming in. You got the expectations plus the intention, which equals the attitude you walk in the door with. If we walk in with that expectation and we know what it is, we walk in with the intention that, “I’m going to serve these people. I’m going to be my authentic self.” Even if it goes bad, it doesn’t matter because it was supposed to go bad.
No one that I know of or have ever heard of selling to someone else when somebody says, “No,” ever had their head explode and that was the end of their life. It was just a no. You pick up and move on. That is a key point of authentic imperfection. That’s gold because when we walk in and we know we’re doing our authentic selves, it either works out or doesn’t but the reality is you’re doing what you can do. You’ve laid it all out on the mat and you walk away as friends one way or another.
That shouldn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to adapt because it might mean, for example, your pace of delivery might need to be slightly altered dependent on your audience. The tone of your delivery might be slightly different as well but that doesn’t mean you’re not being your authentic self. In any presentation, ideally, you will want to change your pace and tone, bring in pauses and ask questions. It might be that you do those slightly differently depending on your audience but it’s still the authentic you.
The match and mirror side of this in cultural differences in understanding those is very important. I had a client who was born in China. She used to have a very soft tone. All the people around her that hired the company had a very soft tone like, “I can come in like this.” I adapted to a softer tone, a little bit more mellow coming in. The rapport was built instantaneously from doing that. Everything you’re bringing up is all awesome points here.
I was a professional DJ for almost one decade. I got invited to come to a party. I showed up. I was the only English-speaking person in the room. It was a Chinese 50th-anniversary party. I didn’t know because the last person’s name was Baker who hired me. I’m assuming. That goes back to the assumption thing. I want to let people know that you can make mistakes like this. I get there and think I’m in the wrong place because there’s no Anglo guy or girl in this place. It’s full-on Mandarin and Cantonese. That’s all they spoke.
I said, “I’m going to be my authentic self,” and I did. I played with the kids because a lot of the children were there. They couldn’t even speak the language. I couldn’t speak their language but we had the greatest time. We used to get rating cards and ten is the highest. This was like ten plus because I showed up as my authentic self. I made the sale and we got out of the work out of it on top of this. The point being is that’s a presentation too. Everything you’re bringing up is important.
A good point as well is that you have to be ready for a surprise and be able to adapt to it just in case. If you’ve got plan B, great but you don’t want to bug yourself down too much with too many Plan Bs. You need to be ready for that surprise moment.
I could talk to you all day, as we do every time we get together, even though a couple of years ago, I remember we had this conversation, we were on the phone for a long time. I appreciate you bringing all these points to the show. Any parting thoughts or things before we conclude our interview?
I would reiterate the very two very simple points. If you want to improve your win rate or whatever you call it when you’re doing pictures and presentations, no matter how high up you are in the company or how long you’ve been pitching or presenting, put the time into the preparation, which includes the research and it’s well worth practicing a couple of times just to be sure that you’ve got it right.
If people want to get ahold of you, how did they do so?
TrevorLeeMedia.co.uk is there. Book a free fifteen-minute chat with me on Zoom. You can follow that and it’s a very simple process through Calendly to do that. My podcast is Better Presentations More Sales, the one you came on. You were on episode 139. It’s up to 237 now. The angle there is to try and help people who are delivering pitches or presentations with their skills in that area and their sales skills, combine them so they increase their chances of success rather than think, “1 in 4 will do. I’ll take that.” Why would you settle for that?
Trevor, thanks for being here. I’m very grateful. Until next time.
It’s been a pleasure. Nice to see you again.
Trevor brought this up, “Practice, practice, practice.” Just because you have a presentation in some capacity something is working, that’s great. Keep it going. You can always innovate slightly on this and understand more about your client. I’m not saying deviate from what works. I’m saying make it better. In other words, if you got a presentation that’s converting at 30%, can we make a convert at 35%, 40% or 50%? That’s what you want to do with practice. When we’re getting involved and we’re having so many conversations, sometimes we can be confident or overconfident that we forget and lose our edge. You’ll see this in all types of life like in sports, professional dancers, people who are professionally selling and in all walks of life such as musicians, actors or whatever it might be.
It would be somebody skilled in the trade of repairing, lawnmowers or something. They get overconfident in their presentation when they’re having conversations. They don’t pay attention and burn their hand. It hurts. Practice. That is important. Come in with the right intention and expectations. How do you get that expectation? By coming and bringing forth the information that you learned in your research. Never make an exception because when we assume, sometimes we think people are looking for what we have and we don’t ask, then what happens?
We miss the mark and your presentation doesn’t work as well as it could. There are a lot of rules and things around communication in general. Go back and read this over and over again if you would. Pick out the points that we highlighted throughout this and infuse them into your daily life. You’ll have better conversations, sales presentations, pitches and more closes for yourself. If you own a company and a sales team, I implore you. Have them go through this information as well, set meetings up, go through that process and practice and you will feel better. If you love the content of this episode or any episode that you want specific content on and you feel you deserve to have it done, in other words, you want to have some information on the show, reach out to us.
Maybe you are the person who can deliver it or we must go get another expert to source and get that information for you. Either way, reach out to us at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com. We’ll review what you sent to us and if it makes sense or doesn’t, we’ll respond to you either way and let you know. If you’re looking to get yourself to 1% earners in the world in sales, maybe somebody you know or your sales team or you’re looking for 1% earners in your company, reach out to me at Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com, @DougBrown123 or call the company direct at (603) 595-0303. If you like this show, please review it. Give it a five-star if you feel it deserves it. I would be very grateful if you did.
Please tell your friends about this. Tell people that you think could be helped by this particular show. I’d be so grateful. Go out and sell something. Sell a lot of it. Do it ethically. Play win-win. Sell it profitably in a high manner and help somebody win to get to where they want to go. You and them will feel better. You’ll make a lot of money and they’ll be happy they gave it to you. Until next time. To your success.
- Trevor Lee Media
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