In any presentation, the question and answer session is the place where you can really make a difference. In fact, the Q&A session can be the sale’s graveyard. It’s the place where you don’t know quite what’s going to happen, and you can get caught out!
You have to spend time planning for it, so that you have the confidence to know that whatever comes up, you’re ready. So how do we go about preparing?
The first thing to do is to brainstorm every possible objection or question your client audience could come up with. Then, there are two actions to take:
– Build in the answers to these objections during the course of your presentation so that by the time you get to the end, there are none left!
– Prepare the best possible answer to every objection and have the answers ready for the Q&A session.
So, let’s look at the 9 secrets for handling questions…
– If you get a multiple part question, split it up and answer one part at a time. You can also ask your questioner, “Which part of your question would you like me to answer first?” This will tell you which part the questioner regards as the most important. Answer this effectively, and quite often the other parts will become irrelevant.
– Make sure you understand the question before you answer it. If there is anything you are unclear about, ask for clarification.
– With larger client groups, it is worth repeating the question to ensure that everyone understands it. If necessary, perhaps with a complex question, rephrase it to make it simpler. You can use a phrase such as, “Let me just make sure I understand your question. Are you asking…..?”
– Eye contact should be around 40% for the questioner and 60% for the rest of your audience.
– Use the questioner’s name when responding
– Check with your questioner that they are happy with your answer. “Does that answer your question?” “Are you happy with that?”
– If you are allowing questions during the presentation and someone asks about an issue that you know will be covered later, then tell them that you will be providing the answer at that time. Move on.
– When you come to the end, thank your client for the opportunity to answer their questions and clarify their thinking.
– I always add one more question: “Before we finish, is there anything else?” More often than not, the answer is, “no,” but sometimes we have uncovered a gem and it has paid dividends. I leave it with you as an option.
Employ these strategies, and you will come across as confident and assertive…and you will win more business!
By Julian Bush