The Audible

It is certainly true that I use a lot of sports analogies in my writing and sales training. I like using them because in sports it is all about process, learning, practice, and execution. So here I go again.

During a football game the quarterback approaches the line of scrimmage, he has already called the next play in the huddle. However, he surveys the defense and quickly realizes that he needs to change the play. Yes, the defense is crowding the line of scrimmage, so he changes the play from a running play to a pass play. With a simple change of his cadence, the entire offensive line is made aware of the change to a specific pass play.

You may be thinking, “What does a football audible have to do with the sales process?”  Well, you may need to call an audible, change the play, during your traditional sales presentation.  Yes, it might be necessary to incorporate additional reasoning points above and beyond your basic arguments.

Why and when would you call an audible during a sales presentation? More importantly, how do you create audible sales presentations?

You might use an audible presentation when the prospect needs further persuading on a subject related to the product or service.  Or when you want to pin down an idea that is unique to your product or service. Perhaps you would use an audible to expand the history of why the product or service exists in the first place. Another instance would be an extended explanation of the statistical data that explains that customers had a problem and why your solution solved their problem.

One example of an audible that I use is a “two-choices” presentation. Narrowing down the prospect to a two options decision is an excellent audible presentation to include at the end of a well-crafted sales presentation. Perhaps you can adapt this presentation for use in your industry.

First, you present option one which is not a good option; it involves the prospect solving his own problem. The second option is much better; it is solving the problem with your product or service. For example, a company is looking for a software program for their business. The salesperson from the software company says, “It is my understanding that your tech team could devote the resources necessary to program and develop a custom software solution for your company.”  Continuing the salesperson presents the alternative, “Or you can purchase our software program and snap it in and start using it now. Although you may consider creating a custom software application for your company, let me explain to you why you should use our solution, it is already fully developed and has been tested in live situations with current customers, and the results are better than anticipated.” Now the company in this example is not considering developing a proprietary software solution, but by making this presentation the salesperson narrowed them down to two options – 1) building the program, or 2) buying the software program. The choices did not include buying some other companies’ solution or doing nothing – which are the other potential options. In this example, the salesperson does not provide every argument for the reasons why the prospect should buy his product or service during his initial presentation but holds back other reasoning points “to pull off the shelf” so to speak when the need arises.

When I recognize that I am using a specific audible presentation too frequently, I will then regularly include it in my original presentation. If not, I will hold it back and use it as a powerful last-minute argument to persuade the prospect to take action.

It may be the inclination to express every reason we have for a prospect to use our solution in our original presentation. This should be resisted because some prospects will not require every reason to purchase. However, others will need a little more convincing, and still, others may need a whole lot.

I recently assessed the number of audible presentations I had ready to pull off the shelf, and I counted eight. That’s right I have eight additional reasoning presentations that I can draw from when I need one or more of them. If I have a more difficult prospect, I might pull two or three out and use them as needed. If you are saying, “I do not have any audibles.” My recommendation is that you explore this idea to see if you can take your reasoning and persuading to the next level by developing additional audible presentations.

Remember, you need to survey the defenses of your prospect and if you think you should make additional arguments to make the sale, then do it. Audible presentations are not used every time but can be drawn upon as needed when a bit more persuasiveness is required to complete the sale.

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