Guest Post by Toke Kruse
A sales presentation is critical because it shapes product or service impression, customer loyalty, and company reputation. Unlike doing school reports or giving an inspirational speech, a sales presentation significantly affects cash inflow; one of the factors considered by the management in evaluating a company’s financial performance.
These factors make it more stressful for salespeople to deliver a presentation to clients. Naturally, you should work hard to close a deal and bring the target money in. Ideally you should be able to maintain your credibility, confidence and composure despite the pressure. In order to create an effective sales presentation, give some thought on the following factors:
Salespeople are often encouraged to follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of presenting is about the audience; 20% is about the product. During your sales presentation, don’t jump straight onto cool product features right away. First give time to examining the challenges your audience faces and empathize with their plight. Adjust your content, structure and style to fit your audience’s concerns and needs. This shows them that your main purpose isn’t to sell, but rather to provide solutions.
If you have any doubts about the product or what you’re saying about it, the audience can “read between the lines” and sense this. If you don’t firmly believe in your product, it’s going to affect your presentation delivery. So as part of preparing your presentation, gather as much information as you can about your product, company, and industry. Learn how the product came to be, the main problems it solves for your audience, and how its features justify the price. If you know your product inside and out, you can answer any type of question your audience may throw at you. Be informative and be honest; don’t frustrate them with superficial answers.
Customer Success Stories
Storytelling has proven to be a good strategy in engaging a presentation audience. A story taps the listeners’ emotions: the gateway to lasting retention and positive impression. In working to generate sales, the best tales to share are customer success stories, with plots your audience can easily relate to. Don’t hesitate to name-drop or state accurate quantitative facts, if it adds to credibility. Names and numbers strengthen the value of testimonials.
Another sales presentation requirement is thorough material preparation. You should be thoroughly familiar with your slides, with how they are arranged, and how to present them. When preparing, let these questions guide you:
Does your presentation include what your audience really needs to know? Don’t fill your slides with too much text — highlight the most important points instead.
- Does your presentation look clean, uncluttered and professional? Ensure elements such as colors and layout complement and forward your brand.
- Do you use photos, graphs, charts and animations that provide straightforward messages? If they distract your audience rather than smoothly directing attention and informing, you will have a hard time conveying your desired messages — you will be interfering with yourself!
Some audience members may ask for additional information about your product. This is why it’s also a good idea to prepare a tailored microsite that you can share with them toward the end of the presentation. A microsite is a customized web page tailored with additional information and resources about your product. Instead of providing handouts or emailing a copy of your deck after the presentation, you can simply send interested audience members a microsite access link via email. Make sure the microsite you use has a content tracking feature. That way you can be notified when the microsite has been accessed and what materials your customer engaged with so you can make smarter follow-ups.
Call to Action
Toward the end of the presentation, be sure to ask your audience to do something. Do they need to answer a questionnaire? Do you want them to write down the phone number of their department head? Should you tell them to expect a call in a week, asking for their feedback? Ideally your call to action should be designed to be useful to you in measuring your presentation’s effectiveness.
About the Author
Toke Kruse is the CEO of Slideshop.com, a leading provider of pre-designed PowerPoint templates. Toke is a graduate of Copenhagen Business School and has launched nearly a dozen companies since entering the world of entrepreneurship at the age of 18.