Imagine being wrongly accused of a crime and having to present your case to a jury. You’d want to use every possible advantage to win them over, right? When the stakes are high, good trial lawyers know a few secrets to a successful presentation – how to quickly establish credibility, present a strong, persuasive case, and win over skeptical jurors.
While you’re not technically on trial in sales, you also need to win over often skeptical buyers. And a dry run through of the facts is not going to cut it. Being able to present a strong, persuasive case is a critical skill for salespeople today in an increasingly competitive market where buyers are reluctant to change. Fortunately, trial lawyers have a few secrets up their sleeves for a successful presentation that we can apply in sales to improve our results.
Trial Lawyers’ Secrets to a Successful Presentation
1. Make your case early
Trial lawyers spend a disproportionate amount of time preparing and practicing a compelling opening statement. Why? According to research, most jurors arrive at their verdict during or immediately after opening statements. The rest of the trial is spent justifying their initial decision.
Your buyer also begins to form their decision the moment you start your presentation. Like a trial lawyer, you’re smart to spend your time planning and preparing a powerful opening that grabs attention and lays the groundwork for your case. In your opening, give your prospect a compelling preview of key points or outcomes.
Example: Today we’re going to show you how you can eliminate 80% of the manual processes that are costing you upwards of half a million dollars annually.
2. Learn about your audience
To win over a jury, a good trial lawyer needs to understand what makes each juror tick and craft a message around their findings. That’s why law firms spend big bucks researching jurors’ backgrounds, experience, and beliefs in order to develop a winning strategy. During the selection process, lawyers start to not only hone their understanding of each individual juror, but to develop a connection with them as well. By the time the case reaches trial, the lawyer is well-prepared to present a tailored and persuasive argument.
Similarly, you need a good understanding of your buyer – his needs, experience, and goals — before your presentation or meeting in order to present your case. It’s important to schedule discovery calls with your buyer and key decision makers in advance of your meeting. Avoid “selling” during these discovery calls and instead, focus on gaining understanding and building rapport. Read here for tips make the most of your discovery calls.
3. You are always “on stage”
The moment a trial lawyer steps into the courtroom, she is on stage. Whether questioning a witness, talking to a judge, or consulting with her client, the jury is always watching. It’s those inconsistences in words or behavior raise red flags and erode the lawyer’s credibility.
In sales, you are also on stage whenever you are on-site or in front of a potential customer. Everything from the way you handle questions, to how you treat the receptionist or handle a technology challenge contributes to their overall impression. Be on time, treat everyone with equal courtesy and respect, and stay calm if plans change or problems arise.
4. Close on emotions
A jury typically reaches a verdict behind locked doors – outside of a lawyer’s influence. To create lasting impact closing statements must be strong as research shows emotions play a major role in decision making. That’s why trial lawyers use their closing statement to make one last appeal to jurors’ emotions.
Like that closed jury, salespeople are often not present when buying decisions are made. While a strong, memorable closing is called for, most sales presentations end on a weak note. Make the closing of your presentation more impactful by including an emotional element. Try restating what’s at stake for your buyer and highlight the difference between their current and future state. To learn how to master the One-Two punch of Logic and Emotion, click here.
Winning over skeptical jurors or buyers doesn’t happen by chance. Try these secrets to a successful presentation to help your prospect reach the right verdict!