Presentations are critical across every stage of a business – from the initial job interview, to sales pitches, meetings, and keynote speeches. Presentations is about marrying different skills and disciplines to convey your message in a way that engages audiences. Since we looked at the importance of presentations in boosting company culture, it’s a good idea to look at how to properly craft a sales presentation and entice audiences to use your product or service offering.

Sales Presentation Narrative

Sales pitches can feel loaded since no one really enjoys being sold to – rather they want to feel connected to the solution a product or service can provide. Like any form of presentation, it’s better for audiences if your sales presentation has a narrative. Facts and figures can help demonstrate a point, but a story ensures people remember and hopefully empathise with what’s being said – so start with writing your sales story.

When putting together the narrative of your sales pitch, begin with the problem your product or service is designed to solve, the primary challenge you can help your audience overcome. Understand your audience’s motivation (it may help to create a buyer persona), highlight their common pain points, and then tailor their journey towards what you can do for them.

Audience Attention

Everything presented to your audience should be based on the value you can offer them specifically. The key is delivering this message through a story that is primarily focused on the changes (and potential improvements) rather than their challenges. Then it helps to create a sense of urgency around your offering, expressing a story about what may happen if the audience doesn’t change, framing the consequences of their inaction.

If your audience is following your story and relates to the changes they need to make, your present your solution. This isn’t about highlighting features; but focusing on benefits, changes, and improvements that could be realised with your product or service. This is where you provide value to your audience in real terms.

Now it’d be okay to dive into features, but don’t get caught up in jargon or heavy detail; rather position your features against the old way of doing things. Present your product/service features as solutions that will solve your audience’s problems.

Sales Presentation Design

Most presentations benefit from the use of a slideshow because it helps break up the monotony of what’s being said, offers the presenter other ways to illustrate their points, and helps create a more engaging experience for the audience.

The purpose of any presentation design is to convey complex or dull information in a digestible manner, like using data visualisation. Within a sales presentation, graphs, charts, and other infographics can be used to make data and figures more compelling to your audience. If what you’re saying feels numerically heavy, some visual aids can help make the information more digestible and relatable.

Using PowerPoint for presentation

Using a PowerPoint or presentation deck allows you to create a multimedia experience for your audience. This means the inclusion of video content, animation, and even interactivity. This could mean useful interviews with other customers or company representatives that can lend credence to your sales presentation.

A sales presentation PowerPoint can also help reinforce your branding alongside your messaging. Your presentation design can reflect your company’s brand colours, ethos, and best aesthetics in a way that helps engage your audience and offer credibility to what’s being said. The deck can also be customised for the audience, helping them connect to further.

However you choose to use your sales deck, remember to keep it simple. The presentation design should simply support your message, not present it.

Sales Presentation: Hands-on and Handouts

Sometimes the best proof is your product’s abilities is the product itself. If you can potentially bring a sample product to demonstrate its benefits directly, that may help you clinch the sale. Interactivity greatly increases engagement and helps people connect with your product – think of those wonderful iPhone demonstrations by Steve Jobs back in the day. It’s one thing to be told how powerful it is – it’s entirely different showing them.

However, handing things out during a sales presentation doesn’t necessarily have to be your physical product. Handouts can be as simple information packs or something more advanced like a tablet accompanying visual elements to your presentation.

We’ve had clients use iPads to provide an interactive presentation within their sales pitch, it helped the message resonate and the audience explore the content at their own pace. While this might be extreme, the key is balancing what’s being said with what’s being demonstrated visually.

There’s also an ongoing debate about the efficacy of handouts in terms of sustaining audience attention. I won’t push you one way or the other, just remember to keep it as simple as possible and don’t let your visual presentation aids steal your spotlight.

Sales Presentation Follow-ups

Asking and encouraging questions of your audience can be challenging but are a great way to break up your presentation and engage audiences directly. A key to this is to put forward rhetorical questions without pressuring them to answer yet giving them time to ponder the question.

Ask audiences to raise or lower their hand depending on if they meet certain criteria can also create audience engagement and get them used to interacting with your and one another. You can further this by asking them to share a question among themselves. This helps take the pressure off individuals while still engaging and hopefully putting forward more thoughtful answers or questions.

Interactive polls are great way to keep audiences engaged while gathering some useful audience data. Our favourite app for embedding live interactive polls into PowerPoint is Sendsteps. This app uses text messaging and web platforms to collect audiences’ votes/responses, which are displayed instantly in your PowerPoint presentation.

Before the presentation, put together your questions, customise how the chart looks, and how your audience can respond. During the presentation, invite the audience to respond by visiting a webpage or texting. After the presentation you have access to an online dashboard that reports your
findings.

This data, along with your presentations reference material can easily be incorporated into your follow-up emails. Even if you decided to not share the findings or your presentation deck, sending thank you emails demonstrate your willingness to provide ongoing support and field any further questions.

A quick cheatcode to capturing audience attention during a presentation is using introduction animation. We’ve put together some pre-made animated assets so you can easily incorporate your content and kick off your sales presentation with some animated finesse. Download the animation templates here

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