Leaving Memorable Conclusions

In October of 1957, Americans were shocked to learn that the Soviet Union had launched the world’s first satellite. Named Sputnik, the 184-pound satellite orbited the earth every ninety minutes. A few weeks later, the Soviets stunned Americans again by launching a second satellite, but this time there was a dramatic twist: The satellite would contain the world’s first space traveler—a dog named Laika. Soviet radio announced that Laika would be riding in an air-conditioned cockpit as she rocketed through space at eighteen thousand miles an hour.

Unfortunately for Laika, the Russians had no way of bringing her back, and three days into her space journey, the oxygen ran out. A short time later, her satellite burned up after its orbit decayed, and it reentered the earth’s atmosphere. Subsequently, the United States government launched its own space program NASA to compete with the Russians. A space race was on, thanks in part to a dog, nicknamed by Americans Muttnick.

Many sales presenters make the same mistake the Soviets made with Laika the dog—they don’t have an exit strategy. They fly off into orbit without planning a closing strategy.

I’ve often asked, “Why are powerful conclusions such a rarity in sales presentations?” I’ve concluded that there are numerous reasons: presenters are fatigued, stressed, shaken, pressured, running out of time, etc. I am convinced, however, that the number one reason most presenters deliver poor conclusions is due to poor planning—many presenters don’t even plan a conclusion. Sound like you?

The purpose of the conclusion is identical to the purpose of the entire presentation: impression, retention, and selection – I.R.S., an unfortunate acronym! Sadly, the purpose of many conclusions is to let the audience know that it’s time to wake up. Winning presenters don’t have this problem. Their conclusions end with a BANG.

To achieve a memorable conclusion, follow these three steps:

  1. End on time
  2. Summarize hot points and competitive differential advantages
  3. Conclude with a compelling closing sentence

Let me focus on number three: concluding with a compelling closing sentence. The compelling closing sentence summarizes the most important points of the presentation and pulls things together in one final sentence. The compelling sentence tells the audience in a single phrase why they should buy from you instead of from someone else.

Examples of compelling closing statements include:

  • “By implementing X training program, your sales staff will be better trained, more skilled, and capable of defeating even your strongest competitors.”
  • “As you can see, X product will streamline your manufacturing process, improve productivity, and increase profitability.”
  • “As demonstrated today, ABC corporation eliminates X problem, is the exclusive provider of Y capability, and provides the best customer support in the industry.”

Effective conclusions are explicitly stated rather than left vague or unclear. The compelling closing sentence makes a final impression and provides buyers with convincing reasons to purchase the proposed solution.

After stating your compelling closing sentence you can easily transition into the closing stage of the sales process. Providing a clear transition not only helps buyers though the sales process, it also provides insights to the seller about the performance of the presentation and opens a dialogue to discuss other concerns a buyer may have. At PHI we call these transitions KTP’s – Key Transitional Phrases.

Example KTP’s include:

  • “That wraps up my presentation. What’s the next best step to move this project forward?”
  • “That concludes the presentation. What benefits, if any, do you anticipate from implementing the proposed solutions?”
  • “Based on what we’ve discussed, how do you see this service working for your company?”

Be genuine, fun, dynamic and most importantly be memorable! Don’t be a facsimile or carbon copy of “the next guy.” Add spice to your closing remarks to motivate buyers to take action.