You’ve been to lots of sales presentations. How many of them held your interest? Unfortunately, that number probably isn’t a very big one. Many presentations are not at all exciting ’ a salesperson talking about a product generically in a monotone voice, ultimately getting around to the PowerPoint slide that asks the audience to buy his or her product. Do you even remember the details of the presentation? Probably not. But sales presentations don’t have to be that way. We’ve put together some strategies that will help you create engaging, effective, and sales-producing presentations that will not leave your audience bored to death.
Preparation is important, and it means much more than simply creating your slides. Before you begin anything, you have to decide what the purpose of your presentation is. What is the desired outcome of your presentation? That may seem like a silly question. Of course, your desired outcome for the presentation is that your prospect buys your product. But what exactly is your purpose?
Criteria for Success, Inc. suggests that you ask yourself the following questions:
One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make when presenting their product or service is doing it generically. They use the same presentation for every prospect, hoping that something in the presentation will appeal to the prospect. This isn’t an effective strategy.
Just as each person and company that you prospect are unique in the business challenges they face, so must be the solution you are hoping to provide. That means that every presentation you make has to be tailored to the specific prospect you are talking to. In order to do that, the information gathering part of the sales process has to be comprehensive. The more you know about your prospect, the better your presentation will be received.
Just as a movie, television show, or novel starts with something to grab your attention and keep you interested, your presentation must too. Holding an audience’s interest starts with capturing it at the beginning. Give them the opening of a story that you will weave into the presentation, concluding with how your product can help them. But make it interesting ’ depending on the audience you can use jokes, analogies, real-life product success stories, or anything you think will keep them interested.
Did you ever take a class where the instructor stood at the front of the room and lectured in a boring, monotone voice? Did you even remember what he was talking about later? It was probably very easy to tune out as you thought about other things. Many salespeople make that same mistake.
When you are making your presentation, your voice, body language, and enthusiasm have to capture your audience’s attention just as your content does. Make your presentation dynamic and interesting by varying your voice modulation, moving around a bit, and sounding excited. You may want to consider recording yourself practicing your presentation to see how you sound to your audience. Listening to recordings of yourself may not seem like a fun thing to do, but it is helpful to understand what your audience will hear.
Anticipate objections and address them before your prospects make them. If you’ve done any selling previously, it’s likely that you know what the common objections are to buying your product. By addressing them up front in your presentation, you can remove some of the hesitation your prospects may be feeling. It will also encourage your prospects to see you as an expert in your field. Showing that you understand their concerns and reluctance only solidifies that you are in this thing together, one of the keys to consultative selling.
Perhaps the most vital piece of any presentation is that you truly believe in your product. Your prospects will be able to read it on your face as you discuss it. Consider these questions from Creating a Powerful Sales Presentation, on Business Know-How’s website, ’’When you discuss solutions, do you become more animated and energetic? Does your voice display excitement? Does your body language exhibit your enthusiasm? If not, you need to change your approach. After all, if you can’t get excited about your product, how can you expect your customer to become motivated enough to buy?’’
Now you’re ready to ask your audience to take the next step in the sales process. To close your presentation, return to the purpose you had in mind from the beginning. Have you answered the questions you had, and addressed enough information that your prospect can now make the decision to advance in the process? Ask them to take that next step with you.