by Peter Watts
Here are eight ideas for creating a sales presentation outline that targets your sales message onto this specific customer, in this specific moment.
No two customers are alike, so time spent customizing your outline will infinitely raise your chances of success.
1. Link to the sales cycle
What stage of their buying cycle is the customer currently in?
Early in the sales cycle: Address broad issues
If the customer is early in their buying cycle, and you haven’t yet had the opportunity to clarify their exact needs, then address your presentation towards how your product meets challenges encountered by customers in that industry.
Mid-point in the sales cycle: Targeted problems and pay-offs
By now you will have had meetings with the customer and understand their specific issues. Tie your presentation into how you specifically address those issues.
Late in the sales cycle: Reassurance
When the presentation is the final stage before the customer makes their decision, it becomes more about reassurance that you are the best vendor to go with. Focus onto evidence of other successful implementations and after-sales support.
2. Know your key message
As part of your preparation, ask yourself what would be the one thing that you want every audience member to be saying as they leave the room. Write that message down, and ensure it is no longer than the length of a standard Twitter message; 140 characters or less.
Link every slide that you use and every phrase that you speak directly back to that key message.
One of my golden rules for presenting is “Never underestimate the ability of an audience to completely miss the point!”, so don’t be afraid to repeat your key message. The more ways you can link it into the presentation, the more likely it is that the audience will lock onto it and remember.
3. Link product features to key message: Three at most
Many standard sales presentation decks come with slides that list key product features. These slides can be deadly for any presenter who attempts to read their way through those lists.
Know in advance which specific features on the slide relate to the key points that you want the customer to appreciate, and address those points alone. Ideally address just two features. Address three as an absolute maximum.
4. Get ready for objections
What is the sales objection that you least want to encounter during your presentation?
Anticipate that objection and prepare an answer for it in advance. If you can deal with that objection, then you can deal with anything!
5. Ask for the business
You are there to sell, so lead by telling the customer exactly that! Use phrases such as “I would very much like to be able to welcome you as a customer” in order to demonstrate that you want their business and are prepared to work for it.
6. Prepare a clean hand-over
How will you guarantee that all who attend are left with easy ways to follow-up with you, or even better, with easy ways for you to follow-up with them?
Ideally, obtain attendee contact details and then follow-up by phone or e-mail to invite additional questions. Start a discussion!
7. Keep it short
Many sales presentations go on far too long. This means that customers tune-out and the key information you want to communicate becomes drowned in a morass of slides and extraneous details.
Nobody was ever shot for a having a presentation that was too short. Many though have lost the deal by having presentations that were too long. Be brutal in editing your presentation to bring it down to the shortest time possible.
8. Stand-out by customizing
The common factor amongst sales presentations that fail to win the business is that they are all standard presentations; a standard company slide deck delivered rote because the sales person didn’t care enough to customize for the customer.
This presentation is possibly the first time that this prospective customer has encountered the service-levels of your company, and in this presentation moment, you are those service levels.
Every moment that you spend customizing your presentation outline to reflect that customer, their industry, and their needs, is time well spent. It is time that shows you care. It is time that shows the customer they can trust you. It is time that shows you want their business.
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