The first few seconds of a sales presentation or pitch are powerful. They’re what help you create the first impression and seize the attention of your audience. However, it’s ultimately the ending that people will remember the most.
The Power of a Good Close
Sales presentations are almost always entirely too long. They carefully walk the audience – presumably warm or hot leads – through a list of features, reasons, and value statements with the hopes of convincing people to make purchase decisions. But the truth of the matter is that almost everything you say in a sales presentation is going in one ear and directly out the other.
It’s not that you’re boring or that your presentation is ineffective – though both of these could be mitigating factors as well – it’s just the way the human brain works. Attention spans are only so long – you can’t expect a prospect to hang on every word. And even if a prospect does, his brain won’t cooperate.
According to a study designed to measure how much of a presenter’s message sticks with audience members, researchers found that immediately after a 10-minute presentation, listeners could recall just 50 percent of what was said. By the next day, that percentage was halved – leaving listeners with a recollection of just 25 percent. One week later, the percentage dropped to 10 percent.
If you’re giving a sales presentation or pitch, you should only expect your listener to process 10 percent of what you’re saying. Most commonly, this 10 percent will be comprised of the opening statement and the close.
The close is arguably the most important part of a sales presentation or pitch. It’s the last thing a prospect hears and will, therefore, stay with them the longest. However, this isn’t automatically the case. If you’ve been speaking for a while, it’s possible that your prospects have grown weary of listening to you and have flipped a switch in their brain. And that’s why you need to focus on delivering a powerful close – a closing statement that commands people to listen and retain.
4 High-Converting Ways to End a Sales Presentation
The content of every sales presentation or pitch will be unique, but there are some proven techniques you can implement to make you’re close more influential, memorable, and convincing. Here are a few methods of successful salespeople use to generate consistently impressive results:
1. Distribute Handouts
Your voice only goes so far in penetrating a prospect’s mind and motivating them to take action. Digital media, while important and helpful, will eventually cause people to glaze over. But if you want to cut through the noise, there’s something you can do.
Try distributing a handout as you close your presentation. There’s something effective about holding a tangible item that increases a prospect’s receptivity and retention. Specifically, try handing out saddle stitch booklets – which are simple to print and surprisingly cost-effective – that support and clarify your pitch.
“Saddle stitch is when single sheets of paper are printed on both sides, collated in page number order, folded in half and then stapled through the fold by a saddle stitch stapler,” Amber Gauthier writes for PrintingCenterUSA. “Saddle stitch binding is one of the most common binding methods for booklet manufacturing.”
You may also consider handing out promotional items that coincide with your presentation. If, for example, you’re pitching a new bar/restaurant to a group of investors, handing out drinkware with a mockup logo will help them visualize the venture (and remember your presentation after they’ve gone home).
2. Issue a Challenge
There are a time and place for meticulously laying out an argument and letting prospects come to their own conclusions. But there’s also something to be said for issuing a specific call that demands movement.
Under the right circumstances, issuing a challenge at the close of your presentation can provide just enough of a push to generate a response. For example, you might say, “Are you comfortable exposing your family to dangerous toxins and chemicals for another month or year? Do you really want to breathe in dirty air and risk chronic health complications? As a parent, I don’t think you want to take this risk and that’s why I’m giving you an opportunity to purchase this air purifying system before I leave today.”
You’ll have to determine what’s appropriate and what’s considered overly aggressive, but don’t be afraid to issue a challenge.
3. Tell a Story
Stories are generally more powerful in helping you illustrate an idea than a typical rundown of product specs or technical components. Find a way to end your sales presentation with a story and you’ll captivate your audience for a crisp and compelling close.
Better yet, some people like to start their presentation with a story and then come back to it at the end. This has a way of tying the entire pitch together and holding your audience’s attention from start to finish.
4. Ask a Question
You want your audience to think during your presentation. Sometimes asking questions is the best way to go about it. Open-ended questions at the end of a presentation are especially effective. Here are a few examples:
- Take a minute and imagine we’re sitting here one year from now. What’s changed for your business? Are things better or worse?
- What’s most important to you? Your family, children, reputation? Now think about what could happen to these things if you don’t make a smart choice today.
- Think about what you’ve been doing over the last six months to tackle [insert key problem or pain point]. Has it been working?
By asking a question, you force your audience to engage with the pitch (even if it’s only in their minds) and feel the weight of the decision you’re asking them to make.
Close the Deal
The close is the most important part of any sales pitch. While it’s necessary to start strong and hold your audience’s attention throughout the presentation, it’s ultimately the closing statement that will ring the loudest. Try implementing some of the techniques above and measure your results.