Writing Powerful Sales Presentations
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Wouldn't it be great if those adverts worked to close the deal in every sales situation?
In fact, whether it's your job to sell products, services or ideas, whether externally or internally, can you afford not to look at ways to finesse your next sales presentations?
More specifically, can you overlook what your pitch does to the hearts and minds of your clients?
Most of us who have been on the receiving end of a PowerPoint Sales Presentation know how it feels to be presented with slides only decipherable to their author. Presentations like these actually work against all the positive reasons which brought the opportunity about in the first place.
I won't bore you with a recent experience I had with someone who was so desperate to go through his presentation slide by slide that they scuppered any chance he had of me ever parting with my cash.
Okay, I will bore you. Suffice to say, it should have been a doddle for him. I actually wanted to buy the product he was selling.
Instead, never mind his PowerPoint Sales Presentation, after the first 10 minutes of his weary efforts I was sorely tempted to have him frogmarched off the premises.
There are so many ways that presentations can be crafted to take their audiences with them - even when the audience might indeed be initially resistant. To actually create resistance in someone who was initially very receptive to the product, takes real lack of awareness and a reliance on poorly crafted and written presentations.
I wanted to tell the poor man how I felt, after all, it is a professional passion but just as I was trying to find a tactful way to do so he had to rush off to inflict the same experience on his next victim.
The facts are that he was very personable, very persuasive over the telephone and still was for the first few minutes before he switched on his laptop.
And so his sins were?
1. He insisted on following his pre-programmed structure, even though the first slides were irrelevant to me.
2. His slides were mostly cram packed with bullet points of the text.
3. The ones that weren't text used poor quality graphics and tried to be 'whizzy'.
4. From a visual perspective, let's just say a nightmare. There was no logical structure, nothing to help me navigate the journey.
5. Some of the language felt patronising.
6. Lots of the detail was superfluous this was after all a visual aid, intended to support our conversation, not a show for us both to watch on a small screen
7. Company mantras and logos crowded out any chance of clarity there might have been.
8. Every slide looked the same actually not true.
9. He abdicated responsibility, went into Sales PowerPoint auto-pilot thinking that it was stronger than he was. I felt presented at.
10. Do you need a tenth?
I wanted to scream. I didn't. I sat politely, albeit looking decidedly cheesed off. I'm sure he just felt I was normally that quiet; noncommittal my middle name.
The fact is that at Impact Factory our first instinct is always to support the sales presenter, to build upon their unique strengths to present their pitch with confidence and authenticity.
The PowerPoint sales presentation and how it is put together is our secondary concern. Still, it is an extremely vital one - we know it can be a tremendously powerful and impressive ally, especially where it has been constructed well and where it allows flexibility.
So back to my anecdote. Did he close the deal? I think you know the answer dear reader.
It may be that there is less money around, due to the recession. Or else, there is less confidence to spend as we enter into economic recovery. Or else real caution in buying anything in the face of a further expected economic downturn.
The fact is, given the current climate, we need to be firing on all cylinders.
So what have I just done in terms of attempting to lure you into Impact Factory's not so evil lair? How are you being addressed? What's in it for you to keep reading?
We offer you an opportunity with us to reflect upon what works in your sales presentation. We unpick the flavour it may leave behind with your clients or colleagues. Might they smell it as 'hard sell', or as a script that trots out on auto-pilot, or else, do they get a sense of your integrity?
Do you dwell on potential threats or dangle likely carrots? What is your style?
Okay - so firstly we will always want to help you get clear about a few details. Specifically, what do you already have to help you to 'close the deal'?
Those involved in sales are usually already strong people-people able to build rapport quickly and conscious of their style in terms of securing deals, which their clients will also perceive to be valuable to them too.
Apart from their personal strengths to close the deal, many of those who work within sales often use presentations as their trusted steed.
We are not talking here about all the things salespeople do before, during and after they use their PowerPoint presentation, we are just focussing here upon the tool, as a supporting visual aid to you and your sales pitch.
We know for many professional sales teams, their PowerPoint sales presentations are a vitally important element in the sales process.
The key question is: Does your steed do the job? Is it really up to it? Note that I avoided saying that it may be ready to be put down. As an animal lover, I prefer to avoid the metaphor. Nevertheless, what is all too often the case, it may benefit from a bit more careful attention.
We know for some that closing the deal means showing their clients every slide in the right order each slides content faithfully shared.
Let's face it, some busy sales teams have to use generic presentations. Sometimes these were created by a fellow colleague in the mists of time or someone who isn't even in your department. Sometimes, quite frankly, its logic may be totally lost to you. Sometimes it may include slide after slide of bullet-pointed text, or else it is packed with so much information you could hyperventilate just by looking at them.
What you may need to reconsider is the content your sales presentation builds. Is there a compelling story or journey to take your clients on? Could there be? What would entice them to stay with you? How does each slide work? In fact, through every aspect of your sales pitch, where are the hooks and the bridges?
So when closing the deal is so important to all of us in the world of business again whether we interpret the sale of a product, service or idea to clients or colleagues why wouldn't you want to spend time looking at ways to develop, freshen up and finesse your next sales presentation.
Why not have a ponder over these pages, or better still buy now while stocks last! Oops.
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"Boring and time consuming is what initially sprung to mind...well these things usually are aren't they?! "Fast forward to the Presentation Workshop and words such as 'fun', 'interesting' and 'insightful' replaced prior conceptions. Surely our manager had made a mistake...was this really the grey and corporate Presentation workshop we were supposed be attending?"
Agnes Paraskeva - Digital Sales - Bloomberg
"I've found I'm much more in control of conversations. I've also been using the power of the pause quite a bit and am staggered at how people react to me due to me not reacting in the way they thought I would!"
Natalie - britishlegion.org.uk
"In November I presented to approximately 150 colleagues and suppliers for an hour. The feedback was very positive and some even commented on my confidence, clarity and content being much better than the same event last year. The only thing I’ve done differently is attend your course!"
Jason Smith - Category Director - Graham Plumbers Merchant
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