It is very common for sales staff to use tools like PowerPoint to deliver information to sales prospects during a sales cycle. What is also very common are areas where we can tighten up our message and execution while giving sales presentations to deliver huge improvements in our sales effectiveness.
Below are a few examples of areas where tweaking our approach could be the difference when delivering presentations:
Number of Slides
It is very common for us to include too many slides when we build presentations. This is very natural because there is so much that we want to share with the prospect and so much that we think they are interested in. And we may be correct that there prospect is very interested. But what is also correct is that they are likely very busy individuals and have a limited attention span. If you factor that in as you finalize your presentation, it can be helpful to trim any slides and tighten the message to make it as concise and powerful as possible.
Amount of Words on Each Slide
Not only do we typically put too many slides in our presentations, we also often put too many words on each slide. The problem with this is that it is challenging to read and listen at the same time. When you put a large number of words on each slide, you are creating a competitor for yourself when trying to keep the audience’s attention when delivering presentations. If the audience is reading the slide, it is likely that they are not fully listening to you.
Focus the Presentation on the Prospect
It is also very common for us to build presentations that are too focused on ourselves We start out talking about who we are, what we do, where all of our offices are, our history, etc. While this is important information for the prospect to have to ultimately make their decision, if you are at an early stage of the sales cycle, you can make a bigger impact on the prospect by shifting the message from being on you to being more on them. The way to accomplish this is to talk more about their challenges and their interests and how you can help with those.
Shorten the Introduction
As sales people, we can be very good at being hosts when delivering presentations. This is where we perform very thorough introductions, detailed agendas, and then sometimes roll into our corporate overview. The challenge with this flow is that there are two points where you have the highest level of attention from the audience and those are the beginning and at the end of the presentation. In the middle of the presentation is naturally a lull or low point in terms of attention and comprehension and it is during this lull where we often deliver our key messages. Trim up the introduction portion so that when you are taking advantage of the high level of attention that you have at that time.
Trial Close Regularly
Trial closing is checking in with the prospect to see what their thoughts are and we can often not do this enough while delivering presentations. This is such a powerful sales tactic to use as it will give the sales person very valuable information. When applying to presentations, if you trial close regularly through the presentation to check in and see what the prospect's thoughts are, the feedback provided could help you to tailor your message and flow throughout the rest of the presentation to improve your sales effectiveness.
Present an Evaluation Plan
We often wrap our presentations by asking for questions and then try to get the next meeting. If we present an evaluation plan when delivering presentations, we can map out all of the needed steps and actions that remain and get the prospect’s agreement or feedback on the direction forward.
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