Giving a sales presentation is difficult for even the most seasoned professionals. More than simple public speaking, a sales presentation has the added high stakes element of being for potential clients. Not only must you avoid making mistakes you’re also setting up a relationship that could last for years to come. Many of the rules for giving a great presentation in general overlap with sales presentations, here we’ve combined a few to make your next presentation go well.
Say the Right Thing at the Right Time
This may seem self-evident but it is important to consider the appropriate type of sales presentation. Are you meeting with one, two, or three people? Going in like a TED Talk with power point slides, charts and graphs may not be the best option. Consider instead putting what would go into your deck into a printed brochure. It’s ok if that brochure is 5-10 pages instead of a trifold. That way the meeting can be more of a conversation and less death by PowerPoint.
The other crucial component to this is going in knowing what they need, not what you want to sell them. One of the great sales axioms is “under promise, over deliver.” Too often, inexperienced sales people go in with a whole menu of options and the goal of getting potential clients to try one of everything. This is a high pressure proposition that doesn’t really help anyone. Not every client is going to need every service. Instead, consider going in with only what they need and then offering them value added services downstream. This way people continue to discover what you can offer over the long haul instead of just saying no to an overwhelming menu out of the gate.
Be Relentlessly Helpful
Another component to presenting toward your clients’ actual needs and not your revenue dreams is being relentlessly helpful. Let them interrupt your presentation with questions, talk around related issues and even talk up other complimentary vendors. If you’re approaching this like a broader conversation about how they can do business better and how your expertise can help them do that across a range of issues, you’re offering up a relationship that extends beyond what you might invoice them for. This places you as more of a confidant and not just another vendor. People are more likely to trust people who have helped them in the past without an expectation of immediate return over people who are just there for a pitch.
Get In, Get to the Point, and Get Out
Being relentlessly helpful also means getting in, getting to the point and getting back out. Just because you’re having a conversation and not reading scripted slides doesn’t mean you should get too far off task. Prepare for the meeting by reinforcing your unique value proposition, key ways you can help, and set definite action items during the meeting where you can. Once you’ve checked off this list, get out politely. If you’re in for longer than an hour, chances are you’re wasting people’s time. No one likes meetings in general, just because yours involves great services doesn’t mean that they’re going to like being in a meeting with you all afternoon.
Don’t Forget the Follow Up
Sales process can start to get automated very easily – read your slide deck, send a thank you email, and then wonder why no one is buying. That’s partly because your sales process is just that, a process and not a relationship. The follow up should provide something small and helpful along with a polite thank you/reminder of outstanding action items in a unique format. Sending a follow up email that is formulaic and clearly sent from a CRM system isn’t going to win you lasting relationships or contract dollars. Build trust by taking a personal touch to your follow ups and show that even if they say no they can walk away with a little piece of wisdom from you about how to do business better. They’ll remember that the next time and are more likely to come back to someone who was focused on better business, not just another contract.