1. Don’t actually start with the presentation.
Many salespeople start giving their presentations the minute they walk into a prospect’s office. The problem with this is that they haven’t taken the time to understand the challenges that their prospect is interested in addressing. The first half of your meeting should be dedicated to learning about your prospect’s business and understanding what they hope to get from your product. Ask questions, and discuss with them. Once you do this, you can deliver a presentation that will enhance the discussion with your prospect, instead of replacing it.
2. Keep it relevant to your prospect.
Most sales people have heard of the 80-20 rule: 80% of your presentation should be about the prospect, 20% should be about you. While it might be tempting to show off every single cool feature and benefit that your product offers, this can actually be pretty overwhelming for prospects. They don’t care about every last detail – they care about what makes your product the right fit for them. Keep your presentation relevant to the prospect and their concerns. Once your presentation has covered these items, you can end it. Your prospects will remember the information that actually matters to them and will influence their decision.
3. Keep it short and sweet.
Being eager and educated about your product is always important to your sales presentation. But be careful not to go on and on or your prospect will start to lose interest. Once that happens, it can be really tough to get their attention again. Present only the information that’s absolutely critical for them to understand your product and how it benefits them.
4. No recitations, please.
Commonly, when we have to remember a lot of information about a particular topic, we will only concentrate on the words rather than the meaning behind them. We basically memorize lines until we don’t have to think about them anymore.
Many people who are nervous about public speaking (yes, even some sales people are nervous public speakers!) adopt this method in an effort to reduce their stress about presenting. But memorization can actually contribute to the issue and take away from the message you’re actually trying to convey.
Obviously, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your presentation first. And getting a few practice runs in before your presentation will help you feel more confident. But remember – you’re not memorizing lines. It’s much more important to focus on understanding the message you’re trying to convey.
5. Use PowerPoints responsibly.
PowerPoint presentations are a go-to resource for just about every salesperson, and have been for decades. But far too many people still misuse PowerPoint, which causes many otherwise great ideas and sales to fall through.
Here are a few common ‘PowerPoint Sins’ and some tips on how to fix them before your next sales pitch.
- PowerPoint sin #1: Your PowerPoint is not a teleprompter. Many people rely way too heavily on their PowerPoint to tell their story. Your PowerPoint should act as more of a reference to help guide you as you present your material to your prospects.
- PowerPoint Sin #2: It’s a presentation, not a novel. Your audience showed up because they want to hear what you have to say – not because they want to read through 300 slides. If you have a lot of details that you really feel your audience needs to know, give them handouts after the presentation. Your PowerPoint isn’t the time or the place to go over them. Besides, if you let your audience know that you’ll be passing out handouts afterwards, this will give you the added benefit of allowing them to sit back and actually absorb what you’re saying.
- PowerPoints Sin #3: There’s WAY too much going on. PowerPoints is full of a lot of really fun features, some of which can add to your presentation. But remember that a little goes a long way. Try to avoid flooding your slide with graphics, colors, fonts, sound effects, animation, and large blocks of text. All this is going to do is distract your audience and take away from your message.
- PowerPoints Sin #4: No one can read your font. Make sure the font style and size you use are clean and easy to read, even at a distance. One simple method you can use to test this is to stand about six feet away from your computer screen and see if you can still read the font. If you can’t, your audience won’t be able to either.
Whether or not you’ve mastered these tips can make or break your sales presentation. Now get out there and knock their socks off!