Structuring a Sales Presentation

Sales presentations should be structured from the point of view of the potential client. All of the classic “solution” type sales methodologies boil down to being able to identify what the prospects’ “pain” issues are. This is to say that bragging about your product or services is not the best way to get the attention of your would-be customer. Your job is to figure out what they need and then fulfill that need.

With that as a given, you absolutely must get to the point quickly and efficiently with all sales presentations. Time is precious, so don’t waste your audience’s time. This means the fewer PowerPoint slides the better. Everyone who has experienced the dreaded “death via PowerPoint” syndrome will agree that with slides less is more.

The same holds true to the number of words or images on a slide – the fewer the better. Keep it very simple and get to the point. Don’t put your entire presentation on the slide deck. Most of it should be spoken directly to the folks you are selling to, with eye contact, and as much interaction as possible. Get the people you are presenting involved throughout the session, encourage them to ask questions, and get a good dialogue going. The more involved they are, the more attention they are paying to you, which is all to the good.

You should have one main presenter and no more than one or two others. You may want other experts to be in the room with you, in case specialized discussions ensue. Use humour sparingly and deftly, if at all. Some people are good at injecting a bit of levity into a presentation, but most of us are not. Never make fun of your competition, of course. Unless absolutely necessary, don’t even mention your competition at all, referring to them only as Brand X. Everyone will know who you are talking about.

Hand out colour copies of all your slides after your presentation has been completed, never before. You want their attention to be focused on you as much as possible and you don’t want people reading ahead. Be very careful as to when (if at all) you discuss price. And before you get to the pricing part, be sure that you have communicated clearly the value you will provide. Make sure that you ask for the sale at the conclusion of the event. If you get agreement, you are done, as far as presenting is concerned. Once you get to “yes”, you’re done.

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