It’s a common occurrence when a salesperson makes a proposal: The customer gets on the Internet, finds a cheaper price, and challenges the salesperson to do better. What should the salesperson do? If she’s equipped with a tablet, she can level the playing field. She can use a wide range of apps, websites, videos and slides to support her spoken words to move the sale forward.
She might show a video of a customer giving the product a rave endorsement, bring up photos of successful installations, check inventory, provide exchange rates, translate technical terms, and, when the deal is done, take a digital signature. Before we know it, presenting with a tablet will become the expected way to make a presentation. Salespeople who cannot do it will risk becoming obsolete. (Tablets also are becoming invaluable tools for many of a salesperson’s workaday tasks—making or changing customer appointments, booking reservations, scanning images, taking notes, connecting with the company’s CRM system, etc.)
The key to selling with a tablet isn’t being more technologically adept than the customer. It’s being able to use external displays to present information clearly, persuasively, and meaningfully. What you say is as important as what you show. Nobody’s persuaded by razzle-dazzle or a data dump. The salesperson and the customer must be the stars of the show, and the technology a supporting player.
It’s easier to access external content with a tablet than a laptop: You can bring up:
• Preselected websites—to describe what the customer’s competition is doing.
• Yelp—for customer reviews (assuming they’re positive).
• SignNow or DocuSign—for the customer’s digital signature.
Some successful salespeople like to hand the tablet to the customer for easy viewing of the display, and encourage them to touch and swipe the information. This can be especially effective when presenting to more than one person, as the tablet can be passed around. It’s best to offer the tablet rather than simply to hand it over, because it might not always be welcomed.
A tablet’s ease of use can potentially undermine the salesperson’s effort, however. Proud of his ability to access a wide range of sights and sounds, the salesperson can easily find himself giving more attention to his tablet than to his customer. The customer deserves much more eyeball time than the tablet, of course. Moreover, the salesperson shouldn’t launch into his show-and-tell about his company before having a dialogue with the customer that establishes trust and helps make clear the customer’s situation. And, as in any sales call, the salesperson should spend much more time listening than speaking.
It’s important to be selective when deciding what external material to use. The effective tablet presenter begins the planning by identifying the main points that should be brought across. Then she selects the few displays that will best add impact and clarity to support her key points. When making a tablet presentation, less is usually more.
Don’t get locked in to using the content in a particular sequence. Always be ready to adjust your presentation as the customer clarifies his needs or you’re told that the sales call has to be shortened. Anticipate the questions the prospect might ask, and have displays available to help you answer them. The visuals should be simple, easily read and easily explained. More complex information should be presented in a handout./>/>
Tap the screen to bring up a new visual, think about what you plan to say, and quickly turn to the customer. Give her a chance to see or read what you’re showing before you begin to explain it. Keep your eye on the customer as you do the explaining.
Every important sales call should be carefully rehearsed. This is particularly true when presenting with a tablet, because there will be many opportunities for glitches. You should learn in advance if it’s certain you will have connectivity. You should know how to open, close, and navigate the content, make certain that URLs are bookmarked and apps are preloaded and tested, and check that the battery is fully charged.
A properly planned tablet presentation can eliminate the need for the bulky loose-leaf binders that some salespeople still lug into a prospect’s office. Also you’ll impress the prospect with your ease with technology.
The future belongs to the salesperson with a tablet.