Sales and marketing efforts are incomplete without sales presentations or sales pitch. This is especially true for companies selling products. A killer sales presentation backed by a compelling pitch deck is key to securing more deals.
If you’re looking forward to making a winning presentation and in search of sales presentation tips, we got you.
In this article, we’ll share some useful tips and how to approach all types of sales presentations – in person or virtual.
What is a sales presentation?
A sales presentation is the verbal explanation of the features and benefits of a product or service with the intention of convincing the audience to accept an offer which may simply be to buy.
A sales presentation is usually done with the aid of a sales deck or slide deck which is a set of well-designed slides (on PowerPoint, Keynote, etc..) including key points such as success stories, product or service overview, problems, solutions, and value proposition, and call to action.
The term sales presentation is often used interchangeably with “sales pitch” but in most cases they’re different. While a sales presentation is more formal, broader, packed, and would take close to 10-25 minutes (or more) since it involves a bigger deal, a sales pitch is less formal, used during sales calls, and often takes less than a minute or two.
Sales reps often use a sales pitch in phone conversations with clients. Sales presentations are often targeted at the Executive Suite in a typical B2B sales situation.
Now that you know what a sales presentation is, let’s talk about styles that you can adopt during a sales presentation.
Sales presentation styles
Sales presentations often take place on a physical site, in person with the prospects. Sometimes situations such as public health emergencies may require that you do your sales presentation online.
Regardless of where your presentation is taking place, knowing the style you want to adopt can help you plan an effective sales presentation.
Here are some sales presentation techniques:
The visual presentation style
In this type of sales presentation technique, you’ll use PowerPoint or Google slides to complement your presentation. Although it requires a lot of effort, this technique is excellent to engage a large audience. It’s also more captivating when you have a lot of talking points.
This technique is better optimized when you consider Lawrence Lessig’s style of passing through each slide within 15 seconds. You also use a balanced mix of text and visuals that grab and sustain the audience’s attention.
This sales presentation technique is excellent when explaining a complex product or service. Here, your sales deck will be designed in a logical order to ease understanding. You’ll employ several scenarios and metaphors to keep your audience engaged.
In this sales presentation style, you create a bond with the audience using free-form question-and-answer sessions. This style of presentation is effective when learning about your prospect’s challenges, pain points, desires, or concerns related to your solution. This allows for a dialogue rather than a one-sided one.
The freeform Presentation style
This sales presentation example often appears informal and effective for impromptu situations. You won’t use slides. Here, you’ll rely strongly on your storytelling ability to illustrate your main points clearly in the shortest time possible.
This is best if you’re a sales professional who’s repeated the sales presentation at different times and already knows the main points by heart.
Regardless of what sales presentation technique you choose, before you walk into a room full of buyers there are essential preparations you need to make. Let’s look at those critical preparation points in the following section. Also, check out B2B sales, SaaS sales and tech sales.
Sales Presentation Tips
In preparing for a killer sales presentation, after figuring out the technique you want to use, creating an attention-grabbing sales deck comes next.
How to create a winning sales deck
Oftentimes, many sales professionals focus on the wrong design element of the sales deck. So, they make their sales decks colorful and fun rather than personalized and engaging which are the key elements.
The result of this is a boring sales process that drags for unnecessarily long times.
You don’t want to do that. So, here are key tips to follow when creating your own sales presentation deck.
Understand your audience’s attention span
You already know your audience do not have all day to listen to you but how much of the time they have will they be willing to give to you without drifting off? not so much.
The human brain and mind are complex places to be. But neuroscientists have helped us understand how those places work.
Research shows that the average human has an attention span that’s less than 10 seconds- shorter than that of a goldfish. This means you want to include interesting cues at different points of your deck. For example, a story, a chance for a question, an intriguing fact, or a funny anecdote.
Draft your presentation outline and script
An outline is important to create a logical flow in your presentation. While sales presentation outline may differ based on industry, these are the main sections you’ll find in a typical presentation:
- Introduction: This section will include small talk to build rapport and an elevator pitch to introduce yourself and your company.
- Agenda-setting: Here, you remind your audience of why they’re in the meeting, what the meeting would be like and what benefit they’ll take away. this sets the tone for the meeting
- Problem: This section includes your prospect’s main pain point that you’ve learned in your research plus the risk associated with leaving such pain unsolved. This helps you present an emotional factor
- Solution: Here, you point a picture of their situation without the pain. This section is a perfect lead for your product or service
- Product or service: Present an image of your product, product features, or an overview of your service.
- Social proof: This section helps you douse concerns in your sales presentations using anecdotes, case studies, and testimonials from other customers.
- Cost: Talk about the prices of your product or service. If you have varying prices depending on components of services, explain focusing on the one most suitable for your audience.
- Closing: Wrap up with your presentation a strong call to action on the final slide.
These sections will guide your general draft which will include the main points you want to hammer on. You can start your draft from scratch or use a sales presentation template to get a headstart. Either way, ensure you leave room for personalization.
Research for Personalization
Once you structured the bone of your presentation which can be reusable for different prospects, it’s time to put a piece of flesh to it. This means researching for custom details about whom you’re presenting to using your CRM, a discovery call, or a search engine tool. This will help you craft a presentation personalized to capture the audience’s attention.
Details you might want to research will include:
- Your prospects’ business– learn about their mission, industry, size, goals, and internal processes. This will help you plan relevant testimonials and anecdotes
- Your prospect’s pain points- find out their specific challenges and associated risks. This will help you give insights and targeted solutions,
- Who’s attending? – is it the board members who focus on long-term goals or other managers who are concerned about current realities? Once you figure it out, you can portray your solutions in a way that best suits your listener’s needs.
Collate Supporting Materials
After figuring out the custom information needed, you can begin to gather personalized materials to complement your script.
These may include
- Case studies and testimonials – gather materials such as photos of other customers using your product, reviews, and testimonials from past clients that are similar to your prospect. This helps you create social proof.
- Data or statistics – you want to support your script with relevant data that speak about your prospect’s problem and how your solution has helped others like them, to create a more captivating presentation.
- Graphs– use data visualizations to back up your claims and build more visual engagement with the audience.
- Demos: gather all props needed to help your prospects understand how your product works. If your product isn’t easily movable, make a compelling video.
- Marketing message: contact the marketing team to help you with the message that addresses the prospect’s main pain point as well as highlights your solution’s benefit.
They don’t treat every sales presentation the same. They know who is in the room, what they know, who is on their side, and what the goals are. And they know how to tailor their presentation and sell to the executives in the room. When selling to executives, this is vital.
Create a Personalized Deck
Once you’ve gathered all the materials to include in your sales presentation, your sales deck is ready to be designed. A personalized sales deck will not only guide you through your sales presentation but also create an effective connection between you and your target audience.
You can design your deck using slide presentation software like PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Keynote. This software often has sales presentation templates to help you ease your design process. You can also use a design app like Canva or approach a professional designer who knows what they’re doing.
In addition to other materials specific to your audience, consider the following for a more personalized sales deck:
- Add your prospect to the cover slide: Your cover slide would typically contain your company name and logo, but including that of your prospect too will help you create a better connection.
- Use industry-specific words or phrases: Different industries have different jargon and lingo. If you want to captivate your audience, you need to use the language they are familiar with. You should also research their specific challenges and how they talk about them. This will help you in tailoring your script and value proposition accordingly.
- Add relatable images: If you’re speaking to a group of doctors, don’t use images that depict a person from a different industry like accounting. Uses images your prospects will find relatable.
Now that your sales deck is ready, you’re preparing to go nail your sales presentation.
Before we share tips on how to make a killer sales presentation, let’s talk about the materials you need to bring to your sales presentation.
What to bring to your sales presentation
Consider this a checklist. You might have already scheduled the date and venue weeks earlier but preparation seems to be dragging due to workload. You don’t want to show tardiness to your audience. You’ve got to give the best sales presentation ever.
Here are the essential things that should follow you into the presentation room.
The Slide Deck
The success of most sales presentations relies on the quality of the slide deck.
We’ve discussed elements of a good sales presentation deck earlier. To reiterate, make your slide as personalized as possible. Additionally, consider making your deck light on text and heavy on visuals. Your audience shouldn’t have to look through a wall of texts while listening to you and watching your demo. However, ensure that the text you include has an easy-read font size and that your images are crisp. Also don’t put too much information on one slide. Brek it into parts if need be.
Also, make sure your deck fails the airport test. What does that mean?
Assume you forgot a printed copy of your presentation deck at the observation area of the airport. If a random person were to go through and understand the deck without trouble, then your deck passed the airport test. But it failed as a sales deck. It can be better called a report.
While it would be intriguing, a sales presentation is designed to be experienced through the lens of the presenting sales professional. That’s why your presence is important. If your audience can walk themselves through the deck, then you don’t need to be there.
To make the most effective sales presentation, your prospects have to see your products in action.
Look at Aaron Krause’s presentation on Shark Tank in 2012 example. He presented his product, Scrub Daddy- a sponge with morphic ability. He made a demo of how the sponge changes shape in two bowls of water at different temperatures while cleaning dirty kitchenware and greasy countertops.
This presentation won Krause a $200,000 partnership with Lori Greiner. This is a great example to pull sales presentation ideas from.
You might want to raise an objection at this point that not all products are portable. True.
For items that are larger than the presentation space or products that require on-site setup, consider recording a video earlier on for the presentation.
For a digital product, make sure the tech is working, and provide systems to test the product (if it’s an app, have your prospect download it) and test it before you begin your presentation. You can demo using a projector if it’s a platform.
These may be contact information, free educational resources on how to use your product, or sales literature. It can also be an essential part of your presentation such as a QR code that allows prospects to download the demo on their devices.
However, you want to ensure this material is simple enough not to overwhelm your audience. You may want to distribute all handouts after completing your presentation so you don’t distract your prospect’s attention.
A presentation is often not a solo effort. You need a team consisting of one or two other sales professionals who might help you manage the slides, handle a part of the presentation, manage the audience and handouts, or help with the demo.
Before walking into the room, make sure everyone knows their roles and practice to make sure the roles are clear.
With all these in check, you can go into the meeting room to deliver a killer sales presentation.
How to Deliver a Killer Sales Presentation
We’ve covered the preparation phase of a sales presentation, now to the most interesting part- action. Here are some tips on how to nail your next sales presentation.
- Begin with a highly personalized small talk.
You already understand your audience enough to know their attention span and specific details about them. This information when used in small talk, can help you build rapport and help you ensure you and your prospect are on the same page as you ease into your presentation.
For example, you might note a new change in their administrative board members and congratulate them. You may even make a remark on a hobby of theirs to show connection and help them relax.
- Use a conversational tone
Yes, this is a professional setting, but you don’t want to sound too formal. Being too formal is rigid and boring. Throw in some light humor, if it comes naturally to you. If it doesn’t, maintain a conversational yet respectful tone. Speaking simple will not only help your audience relax, but it will also position you as a subject matter expert and a quality partner.
Part of being conversational is to encourage questions throughout your sales presentation. Let your audience know that they can ask questions or make comments at any point during the presentation. This helps you build more dialogue and engagement in your sales presentation.
You might be familiar with the Indian proverb – “Those who tell the stories rule the world”. In essence, storytelling empowers people. It helps you capture undivided attention especially when it’s a stimulating and compelling story. Stories have the potential to make your prospects feel connected, motivated, and part of something larger than them.
Bear in mind that storytelling in this context isn’t just mere narrative. An effective format will be to take your prospect’s through a hero’s journey.
The hero (your prospect) has a problem. For example, losing time meant for more productive work due to the old way of doing things. Then your hero meets a guide (brand) and is on a journey to find a solution to their problem (your product or service): how to cut down time and maximize productivity. In between, your product’s features as superpowers. Then give guidance (your CTA) that will solve their problem and provide a happy ending for the hero. This will help your prospect understand your sakes presentation better.
Infusing your sales presentation with a story involves appealing to the soul. Unlike mere information which captivates the mind, a story involves emotional triggers and imagery that captures the senses and ultimately catches the soul.
To make the most of your stories, blend them with the relevant statistics, facts, and figures to make your sales presentation more impactful and memorable.
Even if you’re trembling in your shoes with anxiety, you want to appear as the most confident person in the room. After all, people are here to listen to you, the expert, speak. You want to own the room while you speak. How can you do that?
Here are a few suggestions;
Leverage body language techniques: stand up straight with your shoulders pull back and chin up in a posture that exudes confidence. Move freely and appear natural and relaxed in your tone. Maintain eye contact especially when you’re being asked a question. Smile intermittently and make gestures but not in a way that distracts the audience from your speech.
A little showmanship won’t hurt: Aside from showing off your product or services, show that you know the product in and out. Be flexible in your presentation and go off script when needed, For example, if during your presentation, your audience asks you a question you intend to answer later on or not at all, consider settling the question at that moment. This will keep your audience engaged and portray you s a savvy professional.
Tell your audience what to do and what’s important to focus on: Your audience is often clueless about what to do during the meeting aside from listening. So after you briefly introduce yourself, set the agenda by telling them what points you’ll be discussing and at what point they can ask questions. You should also tell them what to do with whatever material you’ve given them and what to do after your presentation.
Get straight to the point: Don’t dwell too much on background information. Always focus on the main point on each slide. This will help you make a more engaging presentation. As a pro tip, the beginning and end of your presentation are the most important parts to focus on. Those are where you should put the main points.
Avoid apologizing: Saying “sorry” a lot conveys nervousness. First, stay on top of every technical issue that may make you apologize. If mistakes arise, instead of saying “sorry”, pause, take it in stride and continue your presentation with confidence.
Be Authoritative: Exude confidence when you talk about how your product is the best solution for the prospect’s problem. Instead of saying “I think…”, say, “I know… ” or I’m confident this product can solve your problem.”
In case you’re asked a question about the product which you don’t yet have an answer to, don’t say you aren’t sure. Rather, tell them you’ll check with your team and get back to them in a follow-up email.
- Frequently switch things up
Don’t be afraid to do something outside the expected. For example, your audience might expect you to show a demo of your product on a slide, but you can break them by bringing in a whiteboard to illustrate before going back to your slide.
Also. if you’re presenting with a team, endeavor to have different people take different parts of the slide based on your area of expertise. Switch between persons smoothly. Make sure that each presenter doesn’t spend too much time on a slide to maximize time. This would ensure that each person brings genuine confidence and enthusiasm that helps to keep the audience engaged.
- Anticipate challenges and embrace uncertainties
An exciting part of sales presentations is the moment of uncertainty. While you may have everything mapped out from start to finish, all may not go as planned.
You may have to answer questions you didn’t plan for or handle comments you didn’t expect. You may not even get to make it through to the end of your slides.
Ultimately you may face challenges with getting an agreement from your prospect. Anticipate what objections they may have and tackle them earlier on. Be well prepared and confident.
This should have been the first tip, but we assume you’re reading this in preparation for your next presentation. So, having read all the foregoing, make sure to practice on your own and with your team before you set out to make your sales presentation.
Rehearsals help you figure out which gap is left to fill, and how well-prepared you are. Simulate what your presentation room will look like, think like people who would be there to figure out objections and concerns they may raise during your presentation. Check out some sales related guides, sales productivity, sales analysis report, churn rate and sales funnel template.
What to do after a sales presentation
You think you’ve made the best sales presentation yet. You’re on the final slide with nothing more to say. What then?
Take questions and feedback
Your prospects may have asked questions all through your presentation, or they may have waited till you gave them a chance to. The truth is, the questions never really end.
Close your sales presentation by giving actionable advice and open the floor once again to more questions and thoughts on the presentation. This helps you identify and address the deep concerns your prospects may have.
During your presentation, your prospects should have expressed interest in the business relationship offer.
Help them ease the process by offering to send them a trial product, a proposal, or a follow-up meeting.
It’s important to be clear on these steps. If you don’t hear from your prospect soon after you send a proposal, be sure to send a follow-up email.
A good presentation makes the difference between sales and more sales. It’s your chance to prove to prospects that your product is indeed the solution to their problems.
Tell a captivating story, exude confidence, be honest, and show them what your product can do. You’ll have a killer sales presentation that draws your prospect to the end of your sales pipeline.
If you need sales presentation ideas, leverage the internet to check out great sales presentation examples and check out great sales presentation templates to give you a headstart.
Go win it, champ!