The big day is almost here. You’ve built a strong relationship with a mammoth new client. And over the past few weeks, you’ve generated strong rapport. All that’s left is winning them over with an engaging sales presentation.
But you know the templated sales deck your company provided won’t make the grade. And with a game-changing commission on the line, you’re prepared to put in the extra work this time.
This six-step sales presentation framework will tighten up your pitch and share some killer sales presentation tips. With them, you can create a truly valuable presentation that leaves your buyer saying, “Where do I sign?” rather than “what product or service is this dude actually selling?”
#1 Research, Research, Research
The first step to building the best sales presentation is research. Research on the company. Research on the challenges they’re facing today. And research on the audience you’ll be presenting to.
Your research should guide your presentation and uncover insights and angles to use during your pitch.
Below are a few sales presentation tips to guide your exploration of these categories.
- Company – You should have a general idea of what the company does and its industry from preliminary marketing data. But you shouldn’t stop there. Look into their company history. Get a feel for their culture and values. Examine annual reports and build their figures into your deck. The key here is immersion. The more you understand about their business, the more you can tweak your presentation to match it.
- Challenges – Perhaps the most essential part of building your sales presentation is catering to the buyer’s specific needs. Is their industry undergoing a massive shift? Are new competitors breaking into the space more rapidly? And how do these challenges relate to your product? Use these challenges as a jumping-off point to get your prospect listening and give them real-world applications for what you offer.
- Audience – Will you be presenting to a decision-maker like an executive? Hit the metrics that matter. Is it someone that’ll report to a higher-up later (i.e., a gatekeeper)? Provide them with the sales collateral (product brochures, use cases, case studies) to make it easier to get decision-maker buy-in. Protip: You always want to get in front of a decision-maker if you can help it (part of the MEDDPICC sales methodology).
#2 Focus on Their Pain Points First & Your Product Second
Too many salespeople make the mistake of focusing on how great the product is. But you have to remember—you aren’t actually selling a product. You’re selling a solution. A prospect won’t care about how innovative your features are if they don’t see how they solve their problems.
Instead, put the main focus on their problems. This is key when building a sales presentation that is going to have an impact on a prospect. Please educate yourself on the buyer’s pain points and put them in the sales presentation’s spotlight.
The core benefits of taking this approach include:
- Showing you’re informed about your buyer’s problem. The more you understand their problem, the more they’ll trust that you have the solution.
- Gives buyers the opportunity to fine-tune the problem. Your prospects will be able to clarify the situation if you misrepresent the challenges they face. Then you can tweak your approach to match their needs.
- Builds trust. Just 3% of buyers trust salespeople. As a trusted advisor that understands your buyer’s needs (not just a salesperson), you’re in a unique place to offer insights and value to their business (not just a pitch).
- Differentiates your product from the competition. Executives get countless sales pitches every year. And even the most charismatic salesperson can easily get lost in the rabble. But when you sell a solution rather than just a product, you stand out from the crowd.
The best sales presentations will add value to the buyer in the presentation itself. The buyer should walk away with some action points and not just a pile of marketing material in their hands.
#3 Engage (a Bit) at the Outset
How should you begin your sales presentation? Simple—with a conversation.
So many salespeople tend to jump right into the thick of things. No small talk. No “getting to know you” chit-chat. And most importantly, no learning more about who they’re presenting to.
Getting to the point is an understandable impulse. After all, time is money. And the more you spend on niceties, the less time there is to focus on the meat (selling your product).
But starting your presentation with this mindset is a mistake. Because when you skip over the casual conversation, you’re also missing the chance to:
- Build essential rapport
- Learn about specific challenges your buyers are facing
- Better tailor your pitch to address their unique needs
So, take just a few minutes to chew the fat with your audience. Keep things focused on the business, though. A friendly remark about the weather is a great icebreaker. But a 10-minute conversation on the rain is a waste of time.
#4 Keep the Conversation Going
One of the biggest myths in the industry is that a sales presentation is one-sided. Get in. You present your case. And get out. The only time you engage with the buyers is before and when you answer questions at the end.
But staying so structured is a misstep. And it’s hurting your numbers.
Instead, take a few moments throughout your presentation actually to talk with your buyers. Ask if a point is resonating with them. See whether the challenges they’re facing match up with the pain points you present. Then, inquire about solutions they’ve used in the past to try and solve those challenges.
You can use the information you gather to shift your presentation on the fly.
This isn’t a mindless sales presentation technique where you’re trying to tick a box. Ask questions throughout your presentation and you’ll be keeping your audience engaged.
Nothing spells “doomed deal” like a room full of glazed-over eyes. Shifting the focus to the audience for a moment resets their attention span and brings their concentration back to the sales presentation.
Protip: Shift your presentation every 9 minutes.
According to sales revenue intelligence platform Gong, the best performing salespeople switch up their presentation every 9.1 minutes.
If you’re searching for a quick way to improve your sales pitch and build more effective sales presentations then this is it.
When you’re planning out your deck, keep the 9-minute rule in mind. Try to space out sections with a mix of different focuses and mediums like:
- Slide presentations
- Product demos
- Video testimonials
- Detailed case studies
- Bring in a new speaker as a subject matter expert
The more varied your sales presentation is, the lower your audience’s likelihood of having their heads in the clouds.
#5 Optimize Your Sales Deck
Your company may recommend using their time-tested B2B sales deck. And averaged across industries, with generic key points, it may bring in some great results. But if you want to perk up your buyer’s ears, you need to drop the cookie-cutter approach.
Instead, optimize your sales deck with the tips below to keep your audience more engaged throughout the presentation.
A. Cut Down on the Number of Slides
Prospect overwhelm is real. And a 50-slide deck that drags on and on can be a bit too much to swallow.
Sales professionals often feel productive building out a deck like this but think it from your prospects perspective. Your prospects are looking for tips to help them solve an issue from your sales presentation. Not death by slides.
Rather than throwing everything you have into your sales deck, keep it relatively simple. For example, highlight the key images and statistics. Include dynamic media like videos to simplify your sales presentation. And leave the “in the weeds” content to other sales collateral like case studies and product specs.
Focus on customer stories rather marketing collateral to build an effective sales presentation.
B. Streamline On-Slide Content
You’ll also want to cut down on your on-slide content too. It can be tempting to include all the information you’re covering right on the screen. But doing so leads to buyers simply reading your presentation rather than focusing on your delivery.
When you’re selective about the info you display, you control your prospect’s attention. And that gives you the power to:
- Sway them with storytelling
- Highlight important points
- Address pain points head-on
- Show a visual data rather than numbers
C. Use Social Proof Strategically
Social proof is a vital component of any successful sale. Positive reviews can be powerful, even if the buyer doesn’t even know the reviewer. 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.
This is something that sales and marketing teams will battle over. Sales teams know the importance of customer stories specific to the buyer sat in the room. Where are marketers want to tell fluffy, generic stories that “build brand” over time… Stick to the specific social proof when building an effective sales presentation.
But displaying social proof early on in the pitch can hurt your close rates. So instead, save it for later. Be sure to use faces and names if you can. And use companies that the prospect can relate to, not companies that will alienate them (from the same industry vs. well-known brands).
#6 Practice Incessantly To Build Confidence
Finally, be sure to practice your sales presentation and run through your sales deck several times before stepping in front of your audience. Doing so will build your confidence and present you as an expert your buyer trusts.
Memorize specific metrics and statistics. Rehearse answers to concerns to keep the flow going. And be sure to build in time for in-the-moment questions, so you’re not rushing at the end.
But be careful, though—coming off too scripted is a surefire way of losing attention. Instead, stay flexible in your delivery. You may notice in the moment that some selling points aren’t landing as well as you planned. If that’s the case, be prepared to shift course if need be.
Master Your Sales Presentation & Close More Deals
The success of the deal hinges entirely on your sales presentation. Done poorly, it’ll alienate the prospect and lead them to side with your competition. But done well, it’ll convince enthusiastic buyers that your product is the perfect solution to their pesky problem.
Stop procrastinating and Googling for more sales presentation tips. Follow this six-step sales presentation framework to craft a targeted, solution-driven sales presentation your buyers will love today.