Have you ever showed up to give a sales presentation with a spring in your step, the feeling you were about to hit a home run with a sales prospect, and then end up striking out in front of a really tough audience? Would the sound of crickets chirping be a welcome break from the silence which is your "room" of prospects?

Here are seven ideas which will help you deliver an engaging presentation which will help you move the needle on your sales pipeline to the win column.

1. Tell Good Stories, Don't Read Them 

Have you ever been in the audience of a presentation where the slide deck was packed with words, and you started to wonder why the presenter even showed up and didn't just send the presentation with a recorded voice? The best sales presentations have visual aids with graphs, images and hey..even memes which add context to your pitch. The reason which wordy slide decks can cause a silent audience after a while is that everyone is reading along with you, making sure you get all the words right! 

Take a page out of the books of SEO writers. Have a single word or phrase on each slide which

  • Inspires emotion
  • Demonstrates you've done your research
  • Drives home the point of the slide you are working with, but keeps your audience hanging on the rest of the words you are saying

2.   Tune In to WIIFM

When you are delivering your presentation, don't make it all about you. Why not save a few minutes to articulate what you know about your customer, and what you know about them. That can set the stage for you to pitch your value proposition relative to the customer's needs. Fact is,everybody loves to hear bout themselves, not to mention you get a great opportunity to build their business case for them to buy your products or services.

Make sure spend a good deal of the presentation tuned into "WIIFM" or "What's In It For Me" (from your customer's perspective)

Check out social media, check your CRM system for their previous interactions with your company, and do some other leg work to find out why your customer needs your stuff. If you have a customer success story which tells a similar story to what your customer is facing, it will knock their socks off. 

3. Learn to Love Objections

If you are getting objections during your presentation, treat them as proof your audience is listening to you. Leverage the objection handling skills you learned in Sales School.

  • Confirm that you understand the objection
  • if possible, address the objection with tact, confidence and using examples
  • Ask the customer if you have addressed their objection
  • If you have addressed the objection, ask for permission to continue
  • If not, ask if that objection could be resolved, if they would be willing to do business with you

4. Don't Overload Your Audience with Data

There is a fine line between thorough and excessive when it comes to presentations. It's like watching Game of Thrones on HBO compared to reading the novels. The customer can be more engaged by the story and the potential benefits of your solution if they don't have to wade through a bunch of information which isn't really that important to them. 

If you are at the presentation stage, and you don't know what the benefits your customer is looking for, you probably didn't do your homework. Don't assume you know the return your customer is looking for, use their words if at all possible. 

5. Finish Strong with a Call to Action

Even after a great pitch, it can be tempting to thank your customer for their time and attention, shake hands, collect your gear and ride off into the sunset, hoping the customer will call and send an order. Truth is, sometimes you need to lead a horse to water to make them drink. Ask the customer if you have met their objectives with your presentation, and if the answer is yes, say you are interested in their business, and ask if they are interested in doing you the honour of contracting with you. 

You don't have to go aggressively after the business, just make sure you are at a point where the customer knows you are interested in working with them, that they are confident you can deliver what they need, and there is no question in the customer' mind as to how they can do business with you. Identify the key points of contact on both sides, define any action items, and leave the meeting with clear objectives for next steps. 

If you need practice with delivering a great presentation, and follow up call to action to decision makers, why not practice on your boss, or other company executives and get some feedback on your delivery?

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