Do you have a sales presentation coming up? Sometimes the hardest part isn’t getting in the door, it’s acing the presentation.
We feel your pain. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of amazing sales presentation tips and advice from sales pros. Be sure to bookmark this page and share it with your friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook, too.
If you want to learn more about the all the other aspects of delivering a sales pitch, I recommend reading How to Create a Winning Sales Pitch.
1. When a customer walks into a DIY store to buy a drill, they don’t want a drill, they want a hole…
Chris Murray, Managing Director, The Varda Kreuz Group
In the same way, no one listening to your presentation wants to hear about what you’ve got so much as what it will do for them when they own it. All the best presenters focus on how they’ll cure the itch, not the background information regarding the scratch. Learn how to do that and you’ll always have an interested audience.
2. Work the room, but persuade one.
Brandon Baker, Owner/Head Chef, Loveletter Cakeshop
My motto for making presentations is, Work the room, but persuade one. What this means is, look everyone in eye at least once, but pick one person in the room and pretend you are speaking just to him/her. The reason why this works is because the most persuasive sales speeches feel personal and one-on-one. This tone of voice is often lost when you are speaking to a crowded room because you are trying to appeal to everyone. What works much better is to make the speech personal again and really focus in on that one person you’ve chosen. Pick someone in the middle of the room so your back isn’t turned to half the room most of the time.
Not only will this technique help with persuasion but it will also help reduce any social anxiety from speaking to large groups. After all, you’re really just talking to one person!
3. Three points per slide is optimal.
Ahmed Elsayyad, Chief Executive Officer, Elsayyad Medical Group, LLC
My favorite tip is to be clear and concise. It sounds simple and intuitive yet it is what differentiates a great presentation to a boring one. Three points per slide is optimal. Additional information can be vocalized.
4. Start your presentation with the bottom line.
Mike Williams, Security Pros
Favorite tip: B.L.O.T. Bottom Line On Top
Start your presentation with the bottom line, Here is our recommendation, and here is the price. Then justify why. Go back through the issues you discovered when discussing the customer’s problem that you are proposing to solve. Relate your solution to each of the problems.
That way if their initial reaction was that your price is too high, you remind them what the problems are, and they will agree that solving the problems justifies your price. Or they can re-prioritize to get to a price that they are willing to pay for a smaller solution.
If the price is lower than they expected, you can do the deal and get to lunch.
5. Practice is the number one and most overlooked presentation skills in the industry.
Practice, practice, practice. Practice is the number one and most overlooked presentation skills in the industry. Most presenters will go over the presentation two or three times that’s a sure sign of an amateur or somebody who’s looking to do a poor job.
My friend, former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger told me that he would practice his speeches 30 plus times, this is a professional actor who’s used to public speaking and being in front of a live large audience.
Took the Governator, a professional actor, is willing to practice 30 – 40 times I think that says a lot about the importance a practicing before you go live.
Practice with a light in your face, practice projecting your voice, practice with a small audience, and practice in front of a video camera and then review your body language, your facial expressions.
Practice will give you confidence and peace of mind that you’re ready to handle any situation that may come up during your presentation.
6. Start by asking your audience: what is the most important thing you expect me to cover at this presentation today?
Most salespeople forget the true purpose of a presentation. It’s not to tell how great you, your company or your products are. A great presentation starts with understanding your clients needs and then presenting a solution that speaks directly to that need. When you get to the point of conducting your presentation, always start off (after your introduction) by asking your group this question what is the most important thing you expect me to cover at this presentation today. Then let them answer.
This question allows you to get your audience involved right away and allows you to immediately start tailoring your presentation. Now you will start off with an engaged audience and a true sense of direction.
7. Schedule a meeting or call to review the proposal… before you agree to create and send the proposal.
Karl Sakas, Agency Consultant, Sakas & Company
Tired of prospects disappearing after you send your sales proposal? Schedule a meeting or call to review the proposal… before you agree to create and send the proposal. If a prospect won’t agree to the proposal Q&A meeting, think twice about moving forward. If they won’t agree to spend 30-45 minutes with you, why should you invest the time to create the proposal?
8. Don’t sell but illustrate.
D. Yvonne Rivers, CEO, Phoebe Marketing
Always remember, don’t sell but illustrate all the benefits for customer to buy. Customer has to want and not be sold
9. Ask, So have I answered this question for you today?
Dianna Booher, MA, CSP, CPAE, Booher Research
Start with this question: What’s your most urgent question that I can answer in this meeting today? Then write down what they say IN FRONT OF THEM either on your laptop screen, a white board, or a yellow table between you on the desk. Finally, at the end of the presentation, point to that written need or question and ask, So have I answered this question for you today?
If they say Yes, they have confirmed that you met their need and personalized your presentation.
If they say No, you have basis and reason to extend the conversation until you do.
10. Always tie a financial metric to whatever you are selling.
Jay Dwivedi, President, Xinvest Consultants
My favorite tip is to always tie a financial metric to whatever you are selling. Some examples are obvious ones. For instance, an equipment saleswoman could say that by installing their motors, the energy cost will drop by 18% leading to a total saving of $11 million a year.
Other cases require more creativity, though. So a software salesman who is only selling an upgrade to what the customer was using, it might be hard to come up with a metric, but he should still impress upon his product manager to figure out if the upgrade streamlines some routine tasks and, thus, increases productivity.
Then, it is easier to say during the presentation that, Our internal research shows that customers who have used the upgraded software for 3 months found that the daily sales reports can be created within 15 minutes and the software automatically alerts all the stakeholders. This has resulted in 3% cost savings.
11. Paint a picture of a problem.
Julio Daniel Hernandez, Co-Founder & President, Renew Energy
Most people tend to go into talking mode when it’s time for them to present. One of the most valuable things that they can do however is help people see/feel/grasp how this proposed solution can help make their lives easier…
- Paint a picture of a problem – Have you ever been in a situation where you have an article to write last minute and you are scrambling for a couple last minute sources you can use?
- Ask a question to measure interest in solution – Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a way in which you could easily find credible sources in a matter of minutes?
- Show solution (now that you have agreement that a solution would be valuable).
12. Know what questions MUST be asked, and wait for a response.
Jim Herst, CEO, Perceptive Selling Initiative, Inc.
Basic: Uncover a need or problem, offer a solution.
Intermediate: Know what questions MUST be asked, and wait for a response.
Final: Know, or learn, how to close the sale.
13. Open with a brief story.
David Hindin, M.D., Creator, Invented Magazine
I’ve found the best way to give a sales presentation is to do the following:
- Open with a brief story
- Have slides with minimal text to keep the focus on what I’m saying
- Have a clear simple message for each slide
14. Only use bullet points visually.
Patrick Malone, Senior Partner, The PAR Group
When using PowerPoint only use bullet points visually and verbally expand on each point.
15. Use fewer words.
Ita M. Olsen, MA CCC/SLP, Olsen Speech
Love your audience. It’s the only way to get rid of stage fright. Know that your audience needs your product/service. Understand what information they need and give it to them. You are doing them a favor.
Use periods instead of conjunctions. Place a pause where you’d normally connect sentences. The more pauses the easier people will process the information you’re putting out there. They can’t buy if they don’t process your message.
16. End your presentation by saying, Based on everything I’ve shown you about my product/service, is there any reason you wouldn’t do business with me/my company?
Brady Christensen, Co-founder, Book Primo Salon & Spa Booking Software
… It is a great way to transition from the presentation into the close, it gives your prospect a final chance to tell you any objections they might have, which you can overcome and finally make the sale.
17. Be brief, be brilliant, be gone.
Shannon McGurk, Keynote Speaker & Founder, Authentic Masculinity
And… let the client design the presentation.
Be brief, be brilliant, be gone is self explanatory and works.
Letting the client design the presentation just means asking questions and listening. Deep, aggressive listening is a lost art… and works.
18. Humor is a great lubricator.
Jordan Markuson, CPCU, Assistant Vice President, Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Funny stories always break the ice. Instead of using business cards, everyone in our company uses stamps (see right) to leave our contact info. It’s eco-friendly, it never runs out and it makes for a nice ice-breaker at the beginning of every meeting.
19. Don’t wait for them to be confused or lost to ask questions.
Yasin Abbak, Co Founder, Paired Media
Too often, people approach sales presentations like a performance: there’s a script with a beginning, middle and end, and engagement is not part of the equation. But sales presentations are rarely to a room of more than 10 people. Acknowledge that opportunity to connect with your audience on a personal level, and use the intimate setting to check in periodically.
Don’t wait for them to be confused or lost to ask questions; ask them if you can elaborate, if they need an example, or if they have any questions about the topic you just covered. And, this is the kicker, respond authentically.
Don’t just jump to your next slide or bullet point. Leave room for authentic conversation. Not only does it make the presentation more engaging and personal, but you’ll open up the opportunity for them to give you what you need — their objections — so you can convert them into partners.
20. Start with the end first.
No buyer wants to sit through your features, benefits, mission, vision, commitment to customers, corporate history, etc, until and unless they know what’s in it for them when they buy your product or service.
To start with the end, the speaker should ask the buyer to imagine their life after having purchased and benefitted from the product or service. This is a conversation between the salesperson and the buyer, not a list of benefits from the seller’s perspective. And the seller must remember that the buyer is never wrong about what’s in it for them. Do not correct the buyer!
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21. During the sales presentation remember to ask for feedback from the prospect.
Robert Chen, Black n Bianco
Sales presentation is vital to any successful business conversion. In order to have a successful sales presentation always keep in mind of the prospect when you write the presentation.
Understanding the prospect will help you produce a sales presentation that will fulfill their needs and pique their interest. During the sales presentation remember to ask for feedback from the prospect. As you can use the feedback to prescribe a solution to their problem offering a higher chance to close a sale.
Implementing these two tips will help you avoid the likelihood of failure, but don’t be discouraged if you did not convert any sales as they are very valuable learning experiences.
22. If you begin by telling them you are going to talk about 3 whatever, their mind will relax.
Kimberly Mecklenburg, CEO, Mecklenburg Media LLC
The sales training programs I create are based on neuroscience-how the brain works and why we do what we do-so my tip works because it fits the brains model.
If you begin by telling them you are going to talk about 3 whatever, their mind will relax (because they don’t have to worry about how long you’re going to talk) and the western brain has been pummeled into being able to only accept 3, perhaps 5, ideas/points at one time.
If you really want them to feel involved and more like to buy, ask them to tell you at the end which of the 3 points was most important/likeable/necessary. Again, western brains in particular are happiest when they have a specific task to perform.
23. Don’t present!
Mike Schultz, President, RAIN Group
#1 tip for sales presentations: don’t present! At least, not exclusively. Make it a conversation. Sure, there comes a time in a sales meeting to show product, tell stories, or otherwise ‘present’, but if you want the buyers to be engaged, engage them! Ask them questions about what will make it a good meeting for them. Ask them what they’re hoping to accomplish. Stop regularly during any presentation to ask, What questions do you have?
And I say deliberately ask What questions do you have? versus Do you have any questions. The answer to the latter is usually, No. If you ask, What questions do you have? you get much more response.
24. Keep your speaking points down to 5 mins.
Jessica Magoch, CEO, JPM Sales Partners
My best tip is to keep your speaking points down to 5 mins. A presentation should resemble a conversation, with the sales person listening more than talking. If a half hour meeting has a 15-20 mins presentation included, the salesperson is already behind and the customer disinterested.
25. Leave the customer with your value as the last impression and not a sticker tag.
Kenny Nguyen, CEO, Big Fish Presentations
When presenting, frame your pitch in the value-price-value structure. Give the value first to let the customer know what they’re getting and how it’s going to help them, deliver the price that’s commiserative to the value (even it may sticker shock them), then end up by restating the value. By doing it this way, you leave the customer with your value as the last impression and not a sticker tag. This strategy has helped us grow exponentially in closing our deals.
26. Teach potential customers something new about how they can reach their desired goal.
Michelle Murray, Brand Marketing & Innovation Consultant
Don’t ever underestimate the power of challenging your customers existing beliefs if your services can help them get superior results.
Even if you’re the best in the world at what you do, it won’t matter unless you can communicate it effectively.
ABC – Always Be Closing!
27. Pictures do speak louder than words.
Dina Lynch Eisenberg, Outsourcing Strategist, Outsource Easier
Impress with a custom designed PowerPoint presentation. Pictures do speak louder than words and good design says you have attention to detail and pride of work. Happily, it’s not expensive. You can get your business presentation for under $50 on Fiverr or Upwork! Look for a designer whose style you like that has worked in your field to ensure a good fit.
28. Whenever possible—wear your product and rock it out.
Olga González, CEO/Founder, Pietra PR
My favorite sales presentation tip is–whenever possible—wear your product and rock it out. For jewelry, it makes a world of difference. I always tell designers they should be their own brand ambassadors, and they should drape their friends, family and anyone who looks great with their product, even if it is just to borrow. Word of mouth is everything, and when people see product looking amazing on someone else, they will buy it right off of someone—literally. Happens to me all the time.
29. Go in with the idea that you are going to have a conversation.
William Bauer, Managing Director, Royce Leather Gifts
If you go in with the idea that you are just going to talk, talk, talk, and make the sale, it’s going to be a struggle. But if you go in with the idea that you are going to have a conversation and build a relationship with the prospect, you’ll have a much better success rate.
30. Share some industry specific information in relation to the work we’ll be conducting together.
One of my favorite sales presentation tips is to share some industry specific information in relation to the work we’ll be conducting together; correlating that information to a conservative return on investment for my services.
I found that most business owners and professionals often times bury their heads inside the business, and look less at their landscape. By taking a 30,000 foot view of the business, industry, and services provided my clients have a better understanding of the investment they are making in my strategic planning services. This has helped me to reduce my sales cycle, and increase my close ratio by 75%.
31. Follow the 10/20/30 rule keep the audience engaged, entertained, and informed.
Gino Pascucci, Business Development, Premier Trust
Follow the 10, 20, 30 Rule: Most presenters miss the objective of their presentation with small font, too many slides, and they touch on too many points that the audience leaves feeling confused. The presenters that follow the 10/20/30 rule keep the audience engaged, entertained, and informed.
The rules are simple: no more than ten slides, twenty minutes, and thirty point font. You should be able to get your point across in twenty minutes and leave the other forty minutes for questions. If you need more than ten slides then you are going over too much material. If you can’t fit all your thirty point font on one page then you obviously do not know your material well enough to be presenting. Bullets are for the NRA please do not use them.. Instead use pictures and mind provoking text. Remember, just hit the high notes and give the audience enough to keep them entertained.
Try to evoke an emotion instead of bombarding the audience with statistics. For example, you could give a full page of statistics on how the Japanese compared to other countries are not having children and that their aging population is causing a huge cultural problem. How will this affect how Japan interacts with the rest of the world in the future?! Or you could put on a slide, Japan is selling more depends than diapers, (insert a picture of baby diapers). For one it is humorous and people will remember it, and two you can go into your exciting statistics afterwards explaining why this is a problem. Bingo!
32. The more focussed you are on your micro niche the easier it is for you to use language and concepts that resonate with them.
Trish Springsteen, Award Winning Public Speaking Coach, Mentor & Author
Know your audience/ your market / your micro niche – know what you want to achieve in this presentation – what you want your clients or prospective clients to take away.
If you don’t know your destination then how can you take your clients on the journey with you. The more clear and precise you are the clearer it is for your audience to see you and your expertise. The more focussed you are on your micro niche the easier it is for you to use language and concepts that resonate with them.
It becomes much easier to shine a light on you and your products / services for everyone to see. You become very focussed. I believe this is essential before you even try to construct the presentation or look at how you present.
A big thank you to everyone who added their awesome sales presentation tips. Do you have any tips that we haven’t listed here? Let us know in the comments below!
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