The Key To Great Presentations Is NOT A Good Electronic Slide Show.
Whatever you call it- a pitch, talk, sales presentation, lunch meeting- the scenario is the same. You have somewhere between 15 minutes and an hour to deliver your message to a live audience and to market your company, your product and inevitably yourself.
Yet most sales professionals’ fumbles at these presentations even when they know that they have the products or services that will benefit the client. To be able to deliver one’s messages to a group of audience is the next step in selling. It is a process whereby one transition from being a mere salesperson to becoming an adviser to the client. The key is to learn to market and present yourself effectively and directly to your potential clients. Here are 5 proven ways that guides you to deliver your presentation messages effectively.
1. Establish relevancy promptly.
The benefit of any presentation is the opportunity to be seen as an adviser or an expert. However the flip side is that your audience will know whether you are the real deal or a fake! And they could do it within the first 5 to 10 minutes of your presentation! Hence a well-executed start in any presentation provides the foundation to building interest and trust crucial to success in any type of professional sales presentation.
Unlike a print brochure or a sales flyer, you can customize your talk for each specific audience that you address. The most common mistake that i noticed in any presentation is for the speaker to treat all presentation as the same. It’s the classic one template fits all approach. It is like using the same floor plan to build a sky scrapper, an apartment or even a hut! That could prove disastrous for the occupant as well as the audience. The most effective way to get results in any presentation is to spend the first 5 to 15 minutes building identification with the clients. Build identification through setting up the context whereby you are able to demonstrate an acceptable or advance knowledge of their current situation and challenges.
It is a well-used format in presentation whereby the speaker starts their presentation with their own company’s history, client base, product testimonials etc. This format is arguably ineffective to my opinion. In any of my sales presentation, i would normally share that section of information later in the presentation; after i have established the relevancy of my presence and the value i could potentially bring to the client. I keep to this sequence simply because if i were invited to any meeting, chances are my organization’s profiles had been screened through already. So unless it’s specifically requested by the clients, i would begin my presentation by immediately identifying their needs and getting myself acquainted with their situation.
In order to build relevancy and identification in your presentation you must do your analysis of your prospective client’s situation to the best of your ability. Who are you talking to? What are their characteristics in terms of age, education, knowledge of your topic, beliefs and values etc.? This is your homework and you can always utilize the internet for your research. You simply can’t go wrong by starting off your presentation on the right focus which is your customer’s needs and interest. Hence from the start they can know and feel that you understand them. By doing so, you gain their trust and at the same time your client’s interest to proceed further with you in the discussion.
2. Know exactly what you are selling.
“What are you really selling anyways?”
Steve Jobs for example is a master at taking something that might be considered
technical or boring-electronic gadgets- and enveloping it in a story that made it compelling and dramatic. The most inspiring communicators share this quality which is the ability to extract and create something meaningful out of everyday products.
Elon Musk didn’t set out to sell you cars; Musk consistently maintained that Tesla’s long-term strategic goal was to create affordable mass market electric vehicles. And that generated an extraordinary response from people everywhere who were inspired by the vision that beautiful, high performance cars could generate zero-emissions and burn no oil. So similarly throughout your sales presentation, ask yourself “What am i really selling?”
Remember, your widget doesn’t inspire. Show me how your widget improves my life, and you’ve won me over. Do it in a way that inspire me and you are on your way to create a true loyal customer.
3. Organize your materials.
Some sales presenters rambles on in their speech and they have no clear connection between one idea to the other and like a tangled ball of yarn, their ideas are so messy that you as the audience actually give up on trying to understand what he or she is saying. Now this could be avoided if the presenter could learn how to organize his or her presentation using a clear cut pattern of organization and we called this the structure of a presentation.
Clear organization of your material will make it easier for your audience to understand and retain information. The sales presentation needs to have a clearly defined introduction, body and conclusion. In our presentation skills program, we teach participants to write introduction that breaks the audience preoccupations, build identification, rapport quickly and then to establish their value in the meeting. In your sales presentation, your materials should also include specific actions to reinforce key ideas, preparation to be flexible and ways to adapt to different situations. This is important when you ask important question and exchange ideas with your prospects. And finally discover ways to motivate your potential client to take the next logical step.
4. Enliven your presentation.
Enliven your sales presentation means bringing it to live. Some presentation is clear as ice and just as cold!
Learn how to make your sales presentation more interesting with illustrations, narratives, analogies, examples and case studies. One mistake even season sales presenters often make are to believe that “facts speak for themselves.” I too make this mistake and live to regret it.
I have learned that many a times, facts are facts yet the interpretation of the facts can vary depending on the individual’s values, life experience, beliefs etc. Therefore you will need to discover ways to help your audience interpret your information or statistics easily and within the right context. Hence the right choice of words and language choice will inevitably impact your success in delivering your ideas and sales messages.
Prospective clients are always longing for fresh and ‘warm’ delivery of ideas to solve their problem rather than the constant stale repetition of common solutions. Wouldn’t it be great if it could be said from your prospects that “our hearts burn within us when he talked with us and showed us the evidences!” Surely, if you are able warm the heart of your prospect then getting them to take the next step is a foregone conclusion.
5. Create stunning visuals to engage your clients
Finally, successful presentations always connect to the audience and ultimately leave them feeling delighted. Granted, not all of us have the finesse of presentation like Steve Jobs (even Steve Job improved on his presentation skills since his 1984 presentation and his 2008 presentation were arguably his best ever!). However we could adopt some of his strategies in using visuals for our sales presentation. Most business professionals give presentations with the purpose of delivering information. Not Jobs. His main purpose is to always leave audience feeling awed, inspired and wildly excited. Job relentlessly focused on improving his materials, every slide, every demo and every detail of a presentation. Instead of inundating his audience with cumbersome words and unnecessary slides, Steve Job’s presentation is strikingly simple, visual and devoid of bullet points. That’s right-no bullet points. Ever. On the 9th June 2008, Steve Jobs announced the introduction of 3G. He used only 11 slides to do so. And out of the 11 only 1 slide contains words (iPhone 3G)* the others were all photographs.
Now think about this for a moment. Compare this with the current slides that you have. Ask yourself, why are you using those slides? What is the information that you are trying to convey? Is it created to engage your clients or are some of those ‘cramped’ slides created for you to read out loud to your audience? If its existence is more for the latter, i urge you to consider revising those slides. Its existence is necessary in the process of achieving clarity for the audience.
Remember all visual aids serve one purpose and one purpose only; to engage the audience. Visual aids help reinforce key message, clarify abstract concepts, add variety and lend credibility to the presenter. They are not to be used as a crutch for the presenter. Most messages are helped tremendously by visuals and so to be successful, you got to learn the different types of visuals and how to use each for maximum effect.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” by Leonardo Da Vinci.
*source: Presentation secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo
I hope that you find this article useful in your quest to deliver a more effective sales presentation.
Have a marvellous week and take care.