Using Team-Selling Tactics For Presentations

By Kimberly L. McCall

For certain presentations you might need to send in a cross-functional team, but keep in mind that adding additional bodies can create a positive impact or make the meeting go awry. Take a few pointers on running an effective team-selling presentation from Steve Waterhouse (www.waterhousegroup.com), a sales consultant and author of The Team Selling Solution: Creating and Managing Teams that Win the Complex Sale (McGraw-Hill, 2004).

Don’t try to do too much at once. The number of presenters should be dictated by the meeting goals. It’s okay to have five presenters for one client if you need five areas of expertise to achieve your goals. It’s not the number of people that can create the problem, it’s the number of goals. If you attempt to cover too much ground, you’ll confuse issues and end up addressing fewer goals. Cover the general issues as a group, and then break down into smaller groups for details.

Match personalities. One way to pick the right people for the presentation is to match the personalities of the client’s team with those on your team. Select people who’ll get along, especially if there is an individual on the client’s team with whom you do not particularly hit it off. While you might face a problem with the buyer, he or she might get along famously with another person on your team.

Choose one master of ceremonies. The person who owns the account, usually the sales rep, is the MC and makes all introductions. Each team member should address his or her own issues. For credibility reasons, the sales rep should not do all the talking. In the eyes of the engineers or IT managers, the sales rep is not an expert.

Team members should keep their eyes on the speaker. The listeners on your team control the client’s eyes. If the person listening looks at the client, the client will return the look and be distracted from the speaker. If the listener looks at the speaker, the client will also focus attention on the speaker. Listeners should look at the speaker and pay attention. If you look focused and interested, everyone will be focused and interested.

Delegate one person for all follow-up items. The sales rep, as owner of the account, must make sure the necessary follow-up activities happen. This doesn’t mean the client will not talk directly to members of the team – they should. The rep is the one person who can make the next steps happen and the client should know that.