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Coach Your Presentation Team to Sales Success

In sales presentations, prospective clients expect to meet the people with whom they will be working. These individuals are not necessarily polished presenters who are comfortable in a sales role. Many of them are not in sales for a reason - they purposefully avoided it. This can be a challenge for the sales leader whose job is to prepare and coach a diverse team for sales success.

The good news is that most buying committee members understand this fact, and do not expect Oprah Winfrey to show up to engage and entertain them. Having said this, the team that is best able to connect with clients and tell their stories in the most compelling way, is the team that usually wins the deal.

So it is important that sales leaders are able to effectively coach their team members. Outlined below are six guidelines to use when coaching team members.

1. Be selective on what you coach. Ask yourself:

Will this particular skill, behavior or message truly have an impact on this person's performance? Is it something that the person can really change? Some things are just not coachable - especially in the short term.

2. Highlight the positives. This is not just about making someone feel good, but you also want them to repeat the positive behavior in real time.

3. Be specific. It is important that you take very detailed notes when someone is practicing so that you can provide specific feedback. For example, instead of saying "the way you closed was really great" it is more helpful to say "I thought it was particularly powerful when you said in your closing ' if you remember nothing else...." It is also helpful to include the why with your feedback "because it emphasizes your expertise".

4. Place a premium on authenticity and connection. Don't get hung up on traditional presentation skills. The end goal is to win the deal which is more about the personal connection at this point than anything else. If someone is uncomfortable standing, let him sit for his section. If someone repeatedly stumbles on slide content, consider having her tell a story about how they applied the content instead. If you want to see more enthusiasm, ask the team member to share with you what she most loves about what she does, then, after listening ask her to bring the same level of enthusiasm and energy to her section of the presentation.

5. End on a high. One of the most important parts of your job is to get the team and each individual member feeling great about their performance and their contribution to the upcoming win.

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