Companies often create sales presentations for field sales reps as a support to their sales. But how well do they actually make them? What happens if they’re badly done? How can you make sure you close a sale with a winning presentation?
Peter Norvig has a pretty strong opinion on the matter:
“My belief is that PowerPoint doesn’t kill meetings. People kill meetings. But using PowerPoint is like having a loaded AK 47 on the table: You can do very bad things with it.”
But why is the director of research at Google comparing a notable, harmless, presentation-creating program with a highly dangerous weapon? Well, he’s probably been to a few tedious meetings in his time, all made worse by a bad sales presentation that’s lost all its sense.
A presentation can be a sales rep’s greatest ally when closing a sale, either in client meeting or a sales pitch in front of a handful of potential buyers.
However, sales reps are often stuck pitching using sales presentations sent to them by the marketing team, which in more cases than not doesn’t adapt to the needs of their meeting.
In the worst of cases, these kinds of presentations mean sales reps have to resort to using impersonal product catalogs straight of the shelves of the factory, which don’t help that well when it comes to closing a deal.
So here’s some simple tips on creating that killer presentation.
Making a sales presentation that translates into a sale
For sales reps, a presentation is one of the most-common means of communication in the business world. However, it’s important to understand that not everything relies on appearance.
To create a good sales presentation, you need to know some basic patterns. The techniques that work are usually based on scientific fact. For example, how we process information, how well we pay attention, the way in which we communicate with each other etc.
Let’s look at some examples…
#1. Focus on your client’s needs
You need to know these from the start.
Going back to the very first founding father of your company and running through the timeline from then until now, noting all milestones with pie charts of the market quota might seem like a good idea, but the truth is, it’s not all that useful. Why? Well because you’re talking about yourself (or at least the company you represent) and no one else really cares…
The same goes for details such as going over the invoice volume or super important partners that you’ve signed sales deals with.
Now don’t get me wrong. In any concrete case, some of this data can be put to good use. Usually, however, it services little purpose because it’s all about you and not the client (i.e. the one who really matters here!).
Therefore, before going into great detail about how great you and your company are, stop and ask yourself: “How does this relate to the needs and interests of my client?”. “Does this section of the presentation focus on any of their pain points?” If the answer is “no”, remove it from the presentation.
#2 Forget about features, focus on the benefits!
Following on from our previous point, what interests customers the most is listening to (or in this case, visualizing) the benefits of your product or service.
It doesn’t matter if the product is manufactured with a wonderful, new, but ultimately irrelevant type of polymer if it failed to solve a need of an industry competitor, or one of their own.
Let’s say for instance you sell razor blades. They are made of stainless steel, which is great! However, that in itself is not important. What matters is that as a result of them being made of stainless steel they last longer and consequently save money.
That’s what your clients and prospects are interested in – the benefits.
The same thing would apply if you sold extendable selfie-sticks. The important thing is not that it only measure 7cm when folded; the important thing is that you can carry it anywhere with you in your pocket.
#3 Numbers, facts and figures – Better lay them out in graphics
“A picture paints a thousand words”
And so it remains for presentations, too.
Bombarding your viewers with numbers, percentages, statistics and some more numbers isn’t going to help them get a better understanding of how it is your product or service is going to help them.
When it’s necessary to communicate this information, better do it through a graphic or a more visual alternative. But if you want the graphics to not only look nice but actually contribute to the sell, try applying the following principles:
- Try to use as few as possible. Two, better than three. If you can get it down to one, even better!
- Highlight only the information that contributes to the sell. If everything stands out, nothing stands out.
- Use only 2D graphics. Although 3D is fashionable and seems to catch the eye, they can actually be counterproductive. With a 3-dimensional chart or diagram the brain must interpret extra information (such as the complex spatial relationships between the height, width, and depth of the bars or pie segments). The two dimensions work perfectly and fulfil their purpose: that the information is understandable with a single glance.
#4 Try telling a story
People love a good story, and it’s been that way since the beginning of human culture. Whether through oral history, writing, or more recently film, television and even video games – storytelling permeates throughout. That is why it has become such a popular marketing technique with some studies indicating that users retain up to 26% more information.
You may be asking yourself, “and how exactly do I go about applying storytelling to my sales presentation?”
Well, through success stories.
Tell stories about your customers’ success using your product or service. What problems did they face? How did your company help overcome them? Where are they now and how has your business helped them get there?
Remember to tell it using real names, real companies and real life examples – in fact, why not try getting them to tell it for you, from their own perspective. Nothing is more authentic than the real thing.
Another thing, try not to lie; invented cases stand out like a sore thumb and do nothing but damage the credibility of your company.
#5 Get the customer to visualize themselves using the product
It is not enough to simply say how good the product is, nor will just explaining the benefits it has for the end user suffice.
You must get the customer to visualize themselves using your product or service.
Put them in a situation where it benefits them or their team in the future. Using mobile CRM as an example, it’s important to place emphasis on how the sales team could utilize the product while on the move.
Again this is best achieved through graphics, product videos and customer success stories, rather than a lengthy product description.
At ForceManager we have always been acutely aware of the needs of field sales reps. That’s why our personal sales assistant includes the ability to host visual presentations and other supporting materials for sales visits, accessible on or offline via the cloud.
You can deliver your business presentation to the customer comfortably from your tablet, smartphone, or a laptop connected to a projector.
Make PowerPoint / Keynote a valuable ally for your sales strategy!