Improving a Sales Presentation

Thursday, November 12th, 2009 , , 2 comments

improving-a-sales-presentationWant to know how to improve a tired sales presentation? A lot of companies have a sales presentation that seems to be saying some of the right things, but without getting great results. What steps should a sales or marketing team take to go from average to great? What is involved in improving a sales presentation?

Cut down on the company overview

Most sales presentations talk in great detail about the company’s history, locations, values, mission, and even diversity policy. Most of the time, for most of this content, nobody cares. Say enough to build credibility and establish empathy, but no more.

Decide which benefits are most powerful, and relegate the others

Have trouble deciding which of the dozen or more benefits you offer is the most important? The common approach is to just list all of them and hope that some of them resonate with your audience. The problem, of course, is that by saying too much you overload your audience and most of your message is forgotten. Which parts are forgotten? That depends – each audience member may remember your value proposition as something different. Great for causing confusion, awful for sales.

Move the ‘Summary of Benefits’ slide from the end to near the start

There is little more stupid when it comes to sales presentations than only talking in terms of benefits at the end of a presentation when the audience are already bored. Maximum attention levels are often after about three or four minutes – so start talking about benefits then.

This short video tutorial delves into the theory behind creating a slide that summarises the key benefits of your product or service, and how it can be used to create a structure to your slides that will help you to deliver a compelling presentation.

Sixty slides of text is too much detail

If your sales presentation usually lasts more than an hour, your prospects might wish they never met you. Often, information can be cut without being missed. When presenting a particularly complex product, or if you are expected to present for a long time, consider using multiple presentations and presenters, or hyperlinks to present in a non-linear way. This keeps the audience focused, and allows your prospects to set some of the agenda.

Let the audience know where you are in the presentation

Ever been reading a book and flicked to the back to see how many pages you have left? How would you feel if once you started reading you had no way of finding out how long was left? Without an agenda slide, and reference to the agenda during the presentation, that’s what being an audience member is like.

Reconsider the slides full of technical specifications

Technical details are often important when selling. But don’t fall into the trap of including every technical detail. Eliminate the details that are no different from competitors (unless you need to persaude the audience that you have finally managed to catch up). Instead, produce a product specification sheet, and hand this out. Then, try to bring the remaining specifications to life in your presentation. If you have an important technical advantage, what does this mean in practice? Compare directly to competitors (named or ghosted), and illustrate the benefits in real-life settings. Make something that’s hard to destroy? Take a video showing it working after being run-over by a truck. Think Steve Jobs, the MacBookAir, and an office envelope.

Listing all your products is not the same as selling solutions

Don’t just present a few slides on each product you offer. If you want to sell solutions, understand the problem that you can solve, and then present one integrated view of the solution you offer. Finding slides from five different product presentations and putting them into one jumble of a sales presentation isn’t the same as presenting a solution.

Eliminate bullet points

We say it all the time, because it’s true. Bullet points don’t work. The audience read the text, and ignore the presenter – they can’t listen and read at the same time. It’s the reason why we stop and look up when somebody disturbs us reading a good book. Six bullet points per slide on your current sales presentation? Find the visuals that help you explain the same points. Otherwise your audience will just read your slides but ignore you presenting.

Think about when to open the laptop

Some sales people “show up and throw up”. That’s to say they get face-to-face with a prospect, open the laptop, and present everything that they have to say without stopping to find out anything about the specific needs or interests of the audience. Psychologically this may be easy to do – but it isn’t effective. Instead, think of your sales presentation as just one part of a broader conversation, and consider making the presentation interactive to ensure that you address the interests and concerns of each audience.

Need help in improving your sales presentation? Contact m62 – we would be happy to help.

This short video tutorial delves into the theory behind creating a slide that summarises the key benefits of your product or service, and how it can be used to create a structure to your slides that will help you to deliver a compelling presentation.

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2 Comments to Improving a Sales Presentation

  1. #1

    Hossam Elsaeed

    7:17 pm, March 17th, 2010

    plz send this prsentation to me :)

  2. #2

    Jessica Pyne

    12:34 pm, March 18th, 2010

    Sorry Hassam, we don’t give this one out. We can’t give everything away! Please feel free to browse our PowerPoint slides and PowerPoint templates sections – I’m sure you will find lots of free downloads there to keep you going! You may also wish to register with our site – it’s free – which will enable you to access members-only content that is being added soon.