We have seen it all before. Presentations permeate the business world and we’ve sat through them enough times we have run out of patience for anything less than a professionally polished approach. Sales presentations are still the norm but the expectations are so much higher.
That said, presentations are still essential for pitching products. You will always be pitching to a blend of visual, kinesthetic and auditory learners so you better arrive to your sales meetings capable of communicating ways that reach everyone in the room. A rock solid sales presentation goes a long way toward making that happen.
Following the popularity of a previous post, “How To Create the Perfect Sales Presentation,” we put together six tips for crafting an effective sales presentation.
1. Start with a Solid Foundation
There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Thousands of professionally designed presentation templates are waiting for you on the web. The trick to picking the right one is to dive a little deeper. Presentation programs like Keynote and PowerPoint offer stock templates straight out of the box. Do not use these. Look for a third party template that is professionally designed. Your company may provide you with a template worth using or you may have to invest towards buying your own. Either way, make sure you are using a template that is clean and doesn’t look like something you or your prospect has seen a million times before. Lifehacker suggests some good presentation templates to check out.
Bonus tip: Don’t overload the foundation. It is tempting to slap your logo, name and contact information on every single slide. Resist. Good design will provide that common thread and you have surely shared your card and contact information in plenty of other places including on the first and last slides.
2. Start with a pain point
The product you are promoting was designed to solve a problem. Start there. Make it personal. You should know enough about the people you are pitching to tell the story of the problem they are facing and the pain point your product is going to solve. Tell it at the beginning of your presentation. A short paragraph or even a few lines is sufficient.
This approach captures your prospect’s attention and demonstrates your expertise. It shows that you are aware of their current situation and causes them to sit up and take notice.
3. Skip the corporate spiel
You sound insecure when you continue to hit the same hammer over the head. To set the mood, many sales people spend far too much time talking about their company. They have been coached into believing this approach builds brand trust. It doesn’t. Highlight your expertise in the very narrow subject matter that is relevant to this pitch and flash a single “jewel” slide that boast familiar brand logos of companies that have invested in your product.
Your prospects want to know how you can help them solve their particular problem. Tell the parallel story of how you’ve done something similar to for someone else they like, know and trust and move on.
4. Be solution-oriented
No one wants to feel like a failure. While you need to start with a pain point to remind everyone why you are there, you don’t need to harp on it.
Highlight your prospect’s successes and tell them why your product will help them experience more of the good stuff. Be specific as you describe the wins they’ll achieve and make it personal. Name-dropping the people in the room in middle of a story about success gives them a confidence boost in themselves and by extension, you.
5. Everyone is counting on the ROI
A business investment that doesn’t generate sales above and beyond its cost to procure just doesn’t pencil out. Go into your presentation crystal clear on how your potential client will see a return on their investment in the short and long term. ROI is about more than the dollar. Be prepared to talk about how the company will increase sales, reduce costs, make more money, gain more market share, or improve productivity.
You need to spell out exactly how these results will be achieved. And, you need to be able to do it quickly and clearly.
This is obvious and shouldn’t be overlooked. Unfortunately, it often is. No matter how well you know your prospect and your product you simply cannot expect to wing-it. The business climate is far too competitive for that type of approach. A complete rehearsal cultivates confidence and lends you the time you’ll need finesse any rough spots. Not only that, a complete rehearsal gives you a much firmer sense of how much time you should request. You never want your prospect shifting in their seat because you’ve taken up more time than they scheduled for you.
Bonus tip: Leave a little time for Q&A. Even a thorough presentation will call to mind questions. Make sure you finish with sufficient time for additional discussion.
Once you’ve nailed the presentation…
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