Five Elements of Sales Presentations That Wow
Sales presentations can be tricky. There’s a lot riding on your shoulders and it seems like any wrong move can blow the deal.
An effective sales presentation isn’t only a matter of doing your homework just to say the right things and answer every question. It’s also about being more convincing and relatable than your competitors’ presentations. If your audience finds you more likable than those other reps, you’re halfway there.
Successful presentations also require good utilization of your presentation slides. The way you create your slides will influence how you deliver them in front of your audience. Should your slides be designed for you to depend on them throughout the presentation…or should you veer off-course and only refer to them minimally? (We will give you our answer shortly.)
You also need to think about your audiences’ current challenges, how you’ll address those challenges, and also your own professionalism and enthusiasm during the presentation. No pressure, right?
While there are not any shortcuts in sales, there are several field-tested principles you can employ to deliver highly effective sales presentations. Here are five elements of sales presentations that wow:
1. Focus on Your Audience, Not Your Product
Anyone can get a few people into a room and praise a product or service via PowerPoint. But focusing on your product is unimaginative and ineffective. Not to mention that your audience can usually Google all the specs and bullet points they’d ever need, with or without your presentation.
Highlight your buyers’ challenges. While you’ll need to educate your prospects about what you offer, only share the minimal amount of product information needed for solving their problems. Deep down, no one in your audience is there to hear about your product. They’re really there to hear about themselves. So, give them what they want in your presentation, which is for you to:
- Empathize with their frustrations
- Make them feel justified for being frustrated and tell them they deserve better
- Make them feel relieved that they can now do something more easily (or more quickly, more profitably or whatever it is they’ll get from a buying decision)
Your competitors are already giving your audience lists of features and product specifications. Prospects don’t need those things from you. Instead, show them why their lives – or at least their work – will be better with your product instead of the competitor’s.
2. Make Your Presentation Visually and Mentally Simple
Information overload is a sales killer. It makes presentations forgettable, tiring and downright painful to sit through. Also, too much information has a way of introducing new concerns that the audience hasn’t previously thought of. When worrisome statements or facts arise, movement through the sales funnel slows down.
Don’t cram. Use only a little text in your slides and focus on visuals. Reduce clutter and cut out anything that’s not crucial for closing a deal. As with anything, less is more.
Along with making your presentation visually simple, its information should be simple as well. The best presentations make complex concepts easy to understand. If you can demystify something for your audience or give them an “epiphany,” you’ll gain instant credibility.
3. Design Your Slides for the Sole Purpose of Supporting a Conversation
Sales presentations are best when they’re merely a roadmap for holding a conversation with your audience. To be truly effective, your slides shouldn’t be used as a script. Otherwise your audience will wonder why they didn’t just read the slides on their own.
Instead of being a script reader, you should be seen as an expert with valuable insight that your competitors can’t match. Experts hold conversations. They don’t read scripts. Embrace spontaneity!
A few tips…
Consider your slides an outline. Since you are leading a conversation in your presentation, design the slides as a simple overview of your main points. You might stray from these points, but that’s ok. No one will mind.
Use your slides as “seasoning.” Incorporate a few splashes of entertainment, humor, colors, small video clips or other elements to keep your audience’s attention. But, only add such seasoning if you feel it will help you earn a sale.
You can also reserve some optional slides for charts and statistics just in case someone asks to see such info. Just don’t make these statistics your focus if they’re not going to make or break the sale.
Let your audience lead the conversation. Don’t fear unexpected twists, turns or straying from your slides altogether. Even after you’ve done your homework, you will never know what your prospects’ biggest concerns are until they tell you.
Embrace interruptions. Amateur salespeople get cold sweats at the thought of hitting a wall of unanticipated comments or questions. Such interruptions are golden opportunities, not brick walls. They happen because there’s something more important on your audience’s mind. So, when you get sidetracked, thank your prospects for nudging you into a deeper priority.
4. Tell a Story
Now that you’ve designed a presentation to support a dialogue with your prospects, it’s time for a more advanced tactic: storytelling. We’ve all heard that storytelling is an effective way to connect with people and close more deals. But not every salesperson does this right.
Skip the brand narrative. Your brand narrative, where your product or service is the champion of the story, isn’t the best way to go in sales presentations. This is one of the biggest mistakes salespeople make. As we touched on above, your attendees aren’t really there to hear about your brand or your product. They showed up to hear about themselves.
What should you do rather than focus on your brand narrative?
Make your audience the hero. Your storytelling should paint the audience as the main characters. The product or service is merely a supporting actor who’s there to help your prospects win in the end.
Weave a beginning, middle and end. To begin the story, paint the setting. Describe the way things currently are with your prospects – including their challenges and frustrations. Next, portray a picture of what they could become if they wielded the right tool (the product). For the ending, present a call to action, such as a buying decision that enables the prospect to become the hero.
5. Be Passionate, or Don’t Do the Presentation
For the above tactics to be effective, you need to have passion for your product. It’s so important to express a genuine enthusiasm and energy in your presentations.
If you’re bored with your product, your audience will sense your apathy. Your mediocre presentation won’t fly and you won’t close the deal. If you don’t have the passion it takes to perform enthusiastically, consider deferring the presentation to another salesperson.
What’s so magic about passion?
Passion feeds knowledge. It makes you crave the continuous learning you need to stay up to date.
Passion makes you care about your audience. When you believe in your product, you want to help everyone else experience its benefits.
Passion keeps you sharp. When your prospects have questions or objections, it’s your passion that will help you effectively answer these questions and turn them into buying decisions.
In short, passion for your product enables you to transition from a mere salesperson to a brand evangelist.
Even New Salespeople Can Win
Creating and delivering sales presentations is intimidating, especially for new reps. But that doesn’t mean you can’t close big deals, even on the first couple of tries.
Whether you’ve got decades under your belt or you’re only just entering the field, you can do this. Accept the challenge and roll up your sleeves.
If you are new to selling and wondering if you have what it takes to deliver sales presentations that wow, run through this checklist:
- Am I genuinely passionate about this product/service?
- Am I able to empathize with my audience?
- Can I intently listen to my audience and hold a valuable conversation with them?
- Can I keep cool when faced with unexpected twists and turns?
- Am I good at researching and keeping informed with this industry and its trends?
- Can I critique myself and make improvements where needed?
If you answered “yes” to all or most of these questions, you likely have what it takes to deliver winning sales presentations.