Five strategies for a Winning Sales Presentation

22nd January 2014

We’ve all seen it, been there – potential clients listening to a presentation, eyes glazed over and their minds anywhere but on what we are saying.  Whether you’re selling yourself or your products and services, it’s critical to avoid the mistakes that put prospects to sleep and kill the deal.  Here are five must-follow rules to win over prospects and seal the deal. 

1.      Listen before Pitching 

One of the worst mistakes is talking too much about the wonders of HB&O, instead of asking questions and listening to a potential client’s needs.  The prospect probably did some research about us beforehand anyway, so don’t waste precious minutes going on about your qualifications.  “Nothing is more annoying that when some-one is pitching you, and it’s all about them and their services.” 

2.      Put in more preparation time 

No matter how good you are at thinking on your feet, don’t wing the presentation.  You’ll risk jumping all over the place without a logical flow.  Take the time to prepare and to practice from an outline, making sure the presentation covers all our points clearly and concisely.  Prepare an agenda, and stick to it! 

We should always review a prospect’s website to learn about what they sell, how they make money and where we might be able to assist.  Also check for any mutual connections on Linkedin.  Give them a call or send them an e-mail asking more about the prospect’s personality and what you could say that would make the meeting successful.  Sometimes people will give you a heads up with how you should approach the prospect, and it can be invaluable. 

3.      Liven it up

Many professionals don’t realise just how boring their presentations are – too many facts, a flat monotone, tired stories.  Sometimes professionals have been giving the same presentation for so long they just slip into autopilot.  In today’s competitive market, presentations must be entertaining in order to obtain and maintain the attention of prospects. 

Be creative, put some energy and passion behind your presentation.  The tone you use and your vocal variation allow you to project your own personality and to create a positive response whether you are speaking to one person or a large group of people. 

4.      Don’t use visual aids as a crutch 

If brochures, hand-outs or slides could sell a product or service on their own, companies would not need salespeople.  Depending too much on visual aids can give us a false sense of security.  We tend to think it isn’t necessary to prepare thoroughly because our props will lead us right through the presentation.  We let the visual aid become the star and virtually run the show. 

Strategically place visual aids in your presentation to highlight major points, but remember that your style and personality will have much more impact.  Most importantly, ask yourself whether a visual aid is for you or for them?  If it’s for you, to get you through your presentation, scrap it.  If it’s for them so they can visually understand your presentation, keep it.  Never forget people buy from people. 

5.      Be ready to take the next step 

Not every presentation is going to end with a sale, so it’s up to you to establish the next step in the process.  Be ready to schedule a subsequent meeting or follow-up phone call, which will show you’re serious about working together.  You may not have the client yet, but at least you have something set up so things can continue to move forward.