Creating an effective sales presentation

In this competitive business world, an effective sales presentation will often determine whether someone buys from you or from one of your competitors.

Coaching teams for their final presentation has taught me that most sales presentations lack impact, and are seldom compelling enough to motivate the other person to make a buying decision.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” -Charles Darwin

Here are 7 Steps that will help you create an effective sales presentation to separate you from your competition:

Step 1. Make it all about them. One of the most common mistakes people make when discussing their product or service is to use a generic presentation over and over again – you become bored, and the buyer knows it.

To say the same thing in every presentation, hoping that something catches the eye of the prospective customer, is nonsense. All of us have been victim to this approach more times than we care to remember, having seen too many “canned” PowerPoint presentations.

The presentation of your product or service must be adapted to each and every situation; remember it is all about them, so modify it to include specific points that are relevant to their particular problem or challenge.

Place the company’s logo on your slides and describe how the key slides relate to their situation. Get specific on how the product or service solves their specific problem or challenge. Do pre-meeting research by asking them what they are interested in. It is critical to ask your prospect probing questions before you start developing your presentation, long before you start talking about your company.

Step 2. Create a connection between your product/service and their problem or challenge. In a presentation to a prospective client, if you can, prepare a sample of the product as they would eventually use it. Then the prospect is able to ask questions and see how his team/company can use it in their environment.

Always discuss the benefits of your products, not the features. Do not tell your customer what they will get by using your product versus your competitors; ask them if it makes sense, ask if it fills their needs and handles the problem or challenge, and be prepared to offer additional solutions. After all, that is what you are selling – solutions – not specific products.

Step 3. It is all about them, so get to the point – this is why you are there. Know what your key points are and make them quickly. I remember listening to a sales person who rambled at great length about his product. After viewing his product and learning how much it cost I was ready to make my purchase. He continued talking and, in spite of his ignorance and lack of attention, I wanted the product. Make sure you know what key points you want to discuss/present and practice verbalizing them before you meet with your prospect. Learn to shut up after presenting.

Step 4. Be enthusiastic. If they don’t experience that you care, neither will they. If you really want to stand out from the crowd, make sure you demonstrate enthusiasm and energy. Use your voice effectively and vary your modulation. Record your sales presentation, particularly if it is on the phone. This will allow you to hear what you sound like as you discuss your product. Be prepared to be surprised and ready to change.

Step 5. Give the prospective client an experience, so that it is all about them. A friend of mine sells sales training and he often uses the whiteboard or flipchart in the prospect’s boardroom during his presentation. Instead of telling his client what he will do, he stands up and delivers a short presentation – he gives them an experience. This approach always helps his prospect make a decision.

Step 6. Do YOU believe in your product/service? If you don’t – well you need a different job or product. Most of us have a built in ‘BS’ Meter and it will go off if you don’t truly believe in your product. After all, if you not excited about it, how can you expect your customer to become motivated enough to buy?

Step 7. Be authentic. Without doubt, this is the most critical component of any presentation. Trust is the single biggest factor in sales today – with cynicism at an all time high, if they can’t trust you they will not buy!

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo da Vinci