Sales presentations become so much more compelling at the point when you have identified and agreed all your prospects requirements, and have tailored your presentation so that it illustrates how you can completely satisfy their agreed requirements. If you can then add your unique strengths to what the prospect is looking for, your proposal becomes stronger and much more persuasive.
Here are ten suggestions that help improve the effectiveness of any presentation:
1. Find out in advance how much time you'll have and plan that your presentation will take approximately 75% of the allocated time. This leaves sufficient time for questions and through handling of any objections that you may encounter.
2. If you are in a competitive situation, find out when the other suppliers are scheduled to present and if possible try to be the last presenter. The reason this can be so important is because your prospect can make a proper comparison of your presentation in light of your competitor’s presentations, meaning that they are better equipped to recognise the added value you provide. This also creates a stronger possibility that you can get a decision from them at the end of your meeting.
3. When structuring your presentation start with a quick review of the prospects' goals and objectives, and then list their agreed requirements. This will determine the sequence and structure for your presentation, because ultimately you’ll want to highlight how your solution meets each one of their requirements. During your fact-finding meeting you should have obtained a priority of their requirements so that you can address their most important requirements first.
4. Throughout your presentation incorporate relevant customer testimonials that validate the points you are making, and if you refer to research statistics ensure that you quote the source.
5. At the beginning of your presentation you want your prospect to be interested and compelled to listen to what you are about to present. That’s why structuring your opening in a format to appeal to all types of prospects makes it easier for them to understand your message. Therefore, open your presentation by addressing 4 main questions:
• Why will the prospect benefit from your presentation/products/services?
• What will be covered during your presentation?
• How will you be conducting your presentation?
• When will the prospect be able to ask questions?
This simple structure is based on David Kolb’s work on learning styles, where he categorised people’s ability to learn into four learning dimensions:
• Concrete experience - learning from specific experiences, relating to people, and sensitivity to feelings and people
• Reflective observation - careful observation before making a judgment, viewing things from different perspectives, and looking for the meaning of things.
• Abstract conceptualisation - logical analysis of ideas, systematic planning, acting on intellectual understanding of a situation.
• Active experimentation - ability to get things done, risk taking, influence people and events through action.
Bernice McCarthy, developed “The 4MAT” system based around these four main learning styles, each of which asks different questions and displays different strengths during the learning process.
The Four Learning Styles are integrated into a cyclical approach that:
* Begins by explaining WHY the audience will benefit from your presentation. This provides concrete motivation in an innovative way to create interest and an openness to want to hear what you have to say.
* The process then continues by explaining WHAT you are going to talk about. This enables the audience to think through the concepts you are about to present and formulate them in an analytical way.
* The next stage is the abstract conceptualisation stage that explains HOW you'll be delivering your presentation.
* This then leads to the final stage; the active experimentation stage where you want to encourage IF questions so they can apply what you have said to different contexts.
6. Use visuals in your presentations because a picture is worth a thousand words. Support your important points with graphics and images yet keep them simple to maintain interest while conveying relevance. This is particularly important if your prospect has a dominant Visual Communication Style.
According to the Robbins Research Institute, they have identified the 12 most persuasive words to use when selling. These are: Discover, Free, Guarantee, Love, Money, New, Proven, Safe, Save, You, Results and Exciting. By combining some of these words into your visuals as well as in what you are saying will help ensure your prospect remains alert and interested.
7. A good presentation will clearly communicate all of your unique strengths and reasons why you are their best choice. Ultimately, most prospects want to know two things:
- Can you do what needs to be done?
- How can you do it better than the other options we are considering?
8. Seek to gain agreement throughout your presentation either non-verbally or by asking questions, for example, "How does this sound?" After demonstrating a capability you could ask, "How would this be an improvement?" or "How would this help?" Interactive presentations keep prospects more involved and interested. Throughout your presentation focus your attention on your prospect, checking that they are receiving your proposals positively.
9. Handle small customer objections as they occur and agree to handle larger objections at the end of your presentation. This ensures that the flow of your message remains on track, and you may have answered their objection during the process of presenting.
10. If your prospect is not in a position to make a decision at the end of your presentation, schedule another appointment. Come up with a reason to get back in there.
Even if the decision is not in your favour, you’ll receive some valuable feedback that you can incorporate when you next present to other prospects.