“Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. And then, tell them what you told them.” — The best advice ever on giving an effective sales presentation.
Sales presentations are tricky. The content, context and design are integral parts, and they must be in sync. Unlike storytelling, where you foreshadow events and hold the audience in suspense while adding twists and turns, sales presentations demand that you lead with solutions. This concept flies in the face of every creative writing premise or the principles of skilled novelists. However, high stakes client interactions, where the entire decision-making team is present, are often dependent on an effective sales presentation. Therefore, the entire business relationship can hinge on the quality of your efforts.
Focus and clarity define an effective sales presentation
Knowing your audience and the specific purpose of the presentation is critical to success. This is advice provided by the folks at skillsyouneed.com. Further, they add, when creating content, focus on information that tells how your company will solve a problem for the customer. Using headings or bullet points, highlight three unique features that contain the solution. Next, assure that the language is clear and understandable by someone outside of your industry.
Your audience can grasp three points at a time
It’s not a coincidence that three is a magic number in teaching, writing, speaking, and effective sales presentations. It’s what the human brain can handle. Therefore, build your presentation with an introduction, a main message and a conclusion. In your draft, you can further group important elements in sets of three until an outline is formed.
An alternative structure suggests using the questions “What?,” “Why?” and “How?” to link your message and call for action at the end of your meeting. According to the article, this can provoke further questions from the audience and contribute to a more conversational flow of information.
Insist on visual consistency throughout your presentation
While your content makes the point, your visuals make it pleasingly professional. Utleystrategies.com suggests design tips to keep in mind when building an effective sales presentation. In addition to the ideas from above, the author suggests proper relationships of white space, font selection, graphic presentation, and more. Also important is your use of colors, images and illustrations which should be consistent with your company’s logo and other associated brand elements. Importantly, a good layout can become a template for future presentations. Also, consider that your presentation could be scanned or copied for use when you are not present. Consequently, you want the sequence to flow logically without requiring additional interpretation.
Tips for giving a live stand-up sales presentation
Effective sales presentations are not always delivered with visual aids and slide decks. In fact, live person-to-group presentations are often delivered without the trappings of projectors, computers and graphic images. Although they are well-prepared and coached, TED conference presenters often begin their journey as inexperienced speakers. In this Harvard Business Review article, Chris Anderson, curator of TED, gives insight on how they help teach the art of public speaking to those with a story to tell. Here are some highlights:
- “Frame your story” – Determine where to start and where to end. Share with the audience why you care about your story and why they should too.
- “Plan your delivery” – The more intimate and personal the delivery, the better it will be received. Reading requires less practice but gets much lower ratings than presentations in which the words are internalized and delivered verbatim.
- “Develop stage presence” – Actors are coached and so are speakers who have mastered this skill. Common mistakes are distracting body movements and other nervous habits. Interestingly, eye contact is the most important physical act onstage.
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