Is it true practice makes perfect? In almost every endeavor, the more you perform a particular task, the better your skills become. But do we really want to practice on our clients? In every presentation there is certainly a bit of trial and error going on, but the tipping point of the buying process is not a good time to be overtly practicing. The process of mentally rehearsing a presentation is a way of practicing your presentations, and it works. Let’s give the concept of visualization some consideration and see how you might apply it to your travel planning presentations to clients.
Visualization is the process of mentally rehearsing a skill to perfect technique. In sports psychology visualization is an important training tool used to enhance concentration, the quality of play and to reduce competitive pressure while in an actual real-time situation. Athletes using visualization techniques are taught to mentally image the perfect golf shot or free throw, tracing each move from start to finish and to dress the visualization up with a full backdrop of the crowd, the noise, the other players and all of the set and setting of the real game. The techniques are proven to enhance performance.
In the same way that there is a relationship between visualization and physical performance in athletics, so too mental imaging can work to your benefit in the buying process. Developing the ability to envision your interactions with a client, making a presentation, answering the client’s questions and successfully concluding the buying process can help you to interact with more self confidence and likelihood of success.
Begin the process by absorbing good information on buying interactions. Read good books and articles on marketing and sales and integrate a business and sales oriented mentality that is authentic and comfortable for you as an individual. Prior to a meeting with the client, spend some quiet time running through a visual enactment of the meeting. Choose a place where you will be undisturbed and free of distraction. As you mentally rehearse the presentation, include every detail, from the way you are dressed to the initial handshake, the seating arrangements, the background noise. Even phone presentations may be rehearsed in this way.
Visualize yourself making your presentation, using your sales collateral and other presentation materials. Use your intuitive sense to project what likely objections your client will raise and how you will address the client’s concerns. Mentally rehearse couching your presentation in language designed to touch the emotional needs of your client’s desire to travel. Visualize your client’s enthusiasm and excitement about their upcoming trip. At each step, add detail that paints an entire picture.
Rehearse the presentation in this manner more than once, changing up the client responses and concerns, elements of the setting, and other variations in the environment. The idea is not to create a rigid and structured circumstance for presentation. To the contrary, seek out a flexibility of circumstance in your mental rehearsals and the ability to respond naturally to changing and challenging variations that will naturally occur.
Mental rehearsal is not merely positive or wishful thinking. Visualization is not the same as daydreaming. Instead, it is a powerful way to enlist mental energies. By rehearsing over and over the skills, attitudes and techniques necessary to successfully interact with your clients, you will earn the “muscle memory” required to do so naturally when it comes time to make your presentation for real.