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6 Tips for Preparing and Delivering a Knockout Sales Presentation

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6 Tips for Preparing and Delivering a Knockout Sales Presentation

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: December 22, 2011 Updated: March 2, 2012

Most of us in our business lives are required to deliver some form of presentation, and most of us breathe a deep sigh of relief when it’s over, when spotlight is off and we can sit back down.

But if your business success hangs on your ability to deliver a knockout sales presentation, then it’s worth spending some time refining and perfecting your technique.

Here are some tips for upping the ante and going beyond a one-way sales presentation by assessing your delivery, building rapport, using alternatives to PowerPoint, and finding a way to make your product or service fit the customer’s need.

1. Step Back and Evaluate your Presentation Skills

To help determine how you are doing today and where there may be room for improvement, follow these steps for evaluation your presentation skills:

  • Get Objective Feedback - Take a colleague or mentor along to your presentation meetings over a period of a couple of weeks and ask them to review your performance. A simple analysis of your strengths and weaknesses is all you need, along with a discussion about where you can improve.
  • Listen or Watch Yourself – One of the most effective ways to gauge and address your presentation skills is to record yourself delivering a mock presentation to other people. Use Skype, webinar software, or a video camera to capture a typical presentation and play it back. This is a technique commonly used by professional presentation training companies because it captures the critically important elements of a presentation – posture, voice, gesture, tone, and confidence. You’ll be surprised at how effective it is. Use the feedback and your own self-assessment to address your weaknesses and build on your strengths, and repeat the process once a week.

2. Do Your Research First

Each customer and each sale is unique, so be sure to do your research so you can effectively tie your presentation to the customer’s needs and establish a rapport based on a mutual understanding of their challenges and goals. Your research should include a review of the customer’s competition, their market, as well as any media, coverage that relates to industry trends or customer news. If they are active on social media, follow them and read their blogs.

3. Tailor your Presentation to Your Audience

You probably have a canned sales presentation for each product, product suite, and so on. But consider tailoring it to the profile and needs of each customer. In addition to using the research you have gleaned to tailor your delivery, be sure to ask ahead who it is you will be talking to and adjust your presentation accordingly. For example, a technical audience will have different priorities and needs than will senior business management.

4. Ditch the Hefty Slide Deck – Less is More

Instead of using 50 slides to pitch your product, keep your slide deck brief. It should really only be a frame of reference for the key points you need to communicate and the story you want to tell. Too much information and you lose your audience and any chance of building rapport. Likewise, snipping copy and relying too heavily on bullet points will break down and confuse the story you are trying to tell. Instead, refer back to your research, tie your customer’s needs and challenges to the points on the slides, ask questions, include examples, and focus the presentation on the room and those in it, not on your slide deck.

5. Go beyond PowerPoint with Web Presentation Tools

Remember: PowerPoint doesn’t have to be your one and only go-to presentation tool. There are many free and low-cost web-based alternatives that can take you beyond bullet point slides to create dynamic presentations you can take and access anywhere. Examples include Google Docs Presentation, Prezi (a very cool alternative to PowerPoint that will certainly keep all eyes from wandering to their Blackberries), SlideRocket, and more.

If you have the budget, you can also take advantage of mobile tablets to dynamically showcase product demos, client video testimonials, and more.

6. Be Yourself

Once you are comfortable with your material and confident of your delivery, don’t forget to let yourself shine through.  Above all, don’t read what’s on the screen; your eyes should be on the audience. Being genuine and personable is critical to gaining customer trust.

Good luck!

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About the Author:

Caron Beesley


Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley


Apology. Spelling error. I mean what if panic sets in during a presentation. Yumiko
What is panic sets in during the presentation? What is the best thing to do? I guess most of the time, I will just go into reading, which is bad. Any ideas? Yumiko


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