As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you will have had to make a few sales presentations during your business life! Are you guilty of spending little or no time preparing for these crucial sales presentations? You’re busy schedule probably doesn’t allow you the time you need for adequate preparation; well, hopefully this article will help you by providing a useful framework with 4 key steps to prepare for a killer sales presentation. Whether you are presenting to a large audience at a conference or to a small group of executives in your prospects offices, these 4 tips will help you deliver a better sales presentation which will hopefully lead to more business.
Be Prepared for your Sales Presentation
- Appearance is important; you need to create the right impression for your prospects, so make sure you are dressed adequately and look the part.
- Prepare note cards that will help to guide you through the presentation, that way, you won’t forget any of the important points you want to get across.
- Prepare the room: Room layout is vital and can affect the whole atmosphere for your presentation. Sometimes, you may not have a say in how the room is set up, especially if you are presenting at a conference with other speakers; however, if you do have the option, take advantage of the fact that seating can have a big effect on your presentation. For example, a “U” shape – if you are presenting to a smaller group – is much better for interaction, eye contact and promoting discussion.
- Check your equipment at least 15 minutes before your sales presentation: Nothing could be worse than starting to speak and seeing that the microphone doesn’t work or the projector doesn’t display your slides. Make sure you also have a contingency plan…just in case!
Know Your Audience
It’s vital that your presentation suits the needs, interests and abilities of your audience; you don’t want them yawning or, even worse, falling asleep, do you?
Here are a few points to keep in mind about your audience?
1) Number of People
2) Why is the audience assembled? (need for your information, interest in your topic, etc)
3) What does the audience know about your company?
4) What does your audience need from your presentation? (Ideas, information for making a decision – like buying your product or service J- entertainment)
5) What is the audience’s likely attitude toward your presentation? (Will they be tolerant, sceptical, hostile?)
6) Characteristics of the audience? (How many people will attend? Ratio of male/female attendants? Age?)
7) Audience expectations? (What is the level of formality? What is the standard room set up? What is the typical format?)
Define Your Sales Presentation Objectives
What do you wish to achieve as a result of your sales presentation? There are two types of objectives: Primary – a commitment to do business – and secondary – follow up to next stage, information gathering (which leads to commitment) –
Define your objectives in terms which are:
- Specific (linked to the stage of your relationship with the client or prospect)
- Achievable (Make sure you can achieve your objectives with the people you are presenting to)
- Realistic (Reasonable within the time frame)
- Results oriented (Some concrete evidence of your success)
- Time bounded (By when this should be achieved)
Research the Subject of Your Sales Presentation
Your objectives allow you to decide how much of the subject you need to cover in your presentation; remember to keep this and your audience in mind when you prepare all the material for your sales presentation.
So where do you start? I would recommend using a mindmap (I personally use NovaMind Mind Mapping software) but a piece of paper and a pen will work fine. Brainstorm ideas on your presentation topic by placing the topic in the centre of the page and then write down the first element you think of that is related to it, connecting the two with a line. Keep on doing the same by adding sub-elements; don’t worry about the order the ideas are in, just get them on paper and you can organise and prioritise later. If you haven’t used mind mapping before, you’ll be amazed at how easily the ideas start to flow!
Once the ideas are all on paper, it’s time to prioritise and decide what must be included in your sales presentation.
1) Select what you MUST cover in order to achieve the objectives you have set for yourself.
2) Identify what you SHOULD cover to make a good case.
3) Cross out all irrelevant items and you’ll be left with content you COULD add to the presentation if you have sufficient time and without going off topic.
Now that you have a list of relevant topics in order of importance, all you have to do is write them out in a sequence that will be easily digestible for your audience.
And that’s about it. If you follow these 4 steps, you’ll be in a great position to deliver a killer sales presentation; that’s exactly what we’ll cover in the next post about sales presentations: The structure and delivery of a great sales presentation.
Photos credit: jscreationzs