How a Sales Presentation will help you make more sales
Updated: Dec 23, 2022
of the biggest differences between average and poor performing sales people and the absolut top-earners who earn often 10x more than their peers is that the top professionals all use sales presentations.
In this article we will show you what a sales presentation is, how you can build it for yourself, and why it will help you to multiply your success.
Why should you use a sales Presentation?
If you earn your living in sales and do not use a well-defined and structured presentation, what exactly do you say when you have an appointment with the customer?
Do you prepare well in advance for the conversation?
Are you looking at all the facts and important figures that might come up with this client?
Did you look at the client's situation and possible objections he or she might bring up?
Are you organizing your arguments in a logically optimized order going from the general to the particular?
Have you clearly highlighted all the benefits of your product and will you also explain these benefits in detail for the customer and their situation?
Are you prepared for tough questions that he or she might ask?
If you are like me and around 99% of other salespeople in this world, chances are high that you do not make such a huge preparation for every single appointment.
Well, how could you?
In sales, we have to deliver results.
Answering emails, making new contacts, being on the phone with clients for hours, meetings with the sales manager and much more already stresses us enough.
Thus even with our best efforts and wanting to serve our customers the best way possible, we just don’t find the time to prepare for every single appointment so meticulously.
Instead, we try to do our best, go to the appointment, and usually - we say the first thing that falls out of our mouths.
This might be understandable and reasonable in a stressful work environment and pressure to perform, but, it will drastically worsen our sales results.
And selling less means earning less commission, having less revenue, and in short, is everything a salesperson should want to avoid.
If you just talk freely about whatever comes to your mind, then you will also give different parts of information to different customers.
One person might hear great reasons to buy your products in the morning, another gets a mindless criss-cross of facts at the end of your sales day.
The buying criteria of customers can differ vastly from one to another.
One detail you mention can trigger buying right away for some people and be totally useless to others.
What you mention in one appointment, might have just been right for the customer last week.
And today's customer would have wanted to hear what you mentioned last Thursday to another customer.
How will you know what will be just the right sentences to move every single customer over the edge?
Simple: you don’t.
Instead, you prepare for your appointments by structuring your arguments in a logical way and making sure that every single possible benefit is mentioned.
Since you don’t know what will push the customer over the edge to buy, you will have to find out.
And the best way to find out is just to try different approaches and see what works.
Look at all the questions in the introduction.
We do not have time to go through all of this every time.
And this is exactly why it pays to use a well-planned, well-researched, and optimized presentation.
Your sales presentation will make sure you are not only prepared for those questions but even for much more. Every conversation with customers will have the same core, making sure we will always deliver the most relevant facts in the right order. Since we already know the most important parts of our conversation, we can better prepare upfront for all sorts of objections.
The quality of our appointments will no longer vary by daytime or current mood.
Additionally, it gives us the chance to learn from every conversation we have because we can measure what works and what doesn't work. With this data at hand, we can optimize our presentation close to perfection.
In fact, a sales presentation can not only help you be better prepared, but it will also dramatically increase your success.
You will know upfront what to ask, how to ask it, what specific points you have to mention and when you should do so.
So let's dig a little deeper into what exactly this sales tool is and how it can help you.
What is a sales Presentation?
We all know presentations probably from our time in school.
But a sales presentation is a little different.
A normal presentation has only one job:
To inform your audience.
A sales presentation, on the other hand, has two jobs:
To inform your audience AND sell the product.
Apart from the focus on selling, the sales presentation must do everything an ordinary presentation would do.
You have to capture the attention of your audience.
You have to keep it interesting and ideally even thrilling.
You have to bring new facts and viewpoints into the discussion
You have to make it worth listening to you.
All of these factors have to be present with a good sales presentation as well.
This means as a starting point, the requirements for any ordinary presentation will give you a good idea about how to structure it.
Thus also a sales presentation should have an introduction (in informal scenarios this often starts while greeting or small talk in the beginning), the main part delivering most of the features and advantages of your product, and a finish.
In the finish, our customer must have heard all the relevant facts and data, and he or she has to make a decision on how to move forward.
However, before you go straight to your presentation don't forget some small talk to break the ice and create a pleasant atmosphere.
Tell a story
Don't just deliver facts and data. We, humans, are not rational beings - especially when it comes to our buying behavior! Ask specific questions to learn more about your customer and their situations, and find anecdotes about other customers who were in similar situations who greatly benefitted from using your product.
Draw a verbal picture of the customer’s situation and what could happen if he or she decides not to buy.
The key element is how you will present your product, how the arguments will be structured, and how this will fit into your presentation while it should also hold attention, handle objections and ensure that the customer stays interested.
The most important aspect that follows will be how we present our product and how we include this into the flow of the overall presentation. To increase the credibility of your arguments it is always a good idea to work with social proof such as media reports, testimonials, or similar.
All this boils down to:
The sales presentation giving you a clear structure for a conversation with a customer to follow.
It has an introduction including the small talk, a middle part, and an ending.
It builds trust, commitment on the side of the customer, and an urge to buy along the way.
At the same time we also provide helpful information and data about the market and our product, going from the general to the particular.
It also implies asking well-defined questions to handle objections before they even come up.
Such presentations can be used for many purposes actually.
For example, you could host a webinar that has a built-in sales presentation.
Or you as the CEO could train your sales reps to use a planned presentation with every appointment to increase sales.
Or you as an individual salesperson might use your best practices and experience to put it all together in one best-possible sales approach.
Have you ever heard a startup founder pitching a venture capitalist for investment money?
This is another example of using a planned sales presentation.
Wherever in our life, a planned presentation is held with the purpose to get other people to act, we have a sales presentation at work.
Think of it as a kind of sales guide, that leads you through the deep and dark jungles of the sales environment.
It will show you which path to take.
It will help you to say the right words at the right time.
And it will also help you to avoid certain pitfalls.
Why a sales presentation will make you more successful
Let’s look at the situation without using a planned presentation.
You walk into the customer’s office, you say whatever is on your mind, and maybe the customer decides to buy, maybe not.
The exact words and phrases you use could be depending on your current mood on that day.
How your personal life works out at the moment might also play a role in how well-structured you can deliver your arguments.
Maybe the customer seems intimidating and is a very dominant person, this can also have a huge influence on what you say during the appointment and how you say it.
And there are a dozen of further factors that could influence our conversation.
Additionally, in a sales appointment you actually never know what to expect.
Every person is different.
Every conversation is different.
Every sale is different.
Even as an experienced sales professional you will always have a sort of uneasiness or nervousness that will accompany you into the meeting before you meet the customer for the first time.
The words you in this situation say matter.
It even matters how you say these words and also when you say which words.
If words are pronounced just slightly different, their effect might be completely distorted.
We could go on like this with a myriad of other factors that will all determine your success in the sales conversation.
As you can see, there are at least a dozen influences that can determine your success or failure in a sales appointment.
All these factors together make it very obvious:
Planning for or predicting success ratios in a sales conversation without any planned presentation is futile.
You can never know what you will say at that moment, and ensure that the customer receives all the necessary information, in the right way and in the right order.
This insight now brings us some clear advantages for usding a planned sales presentation:
1. The sales presentation helps you to plan and be prepared
You will know what you say in the conversation because you planned and tested it in advance.
You will know what questions to ask because you planned for them in advance and studied their impact on the customer.
You will know how to create empathy and how to create rapport, because this will be part of your presentation as well.
You will have a clear structure of your arguments, building urgency to buy along the way.
You will know how to emphasize the right points because you have done this already many times and know exactly what objections to expect and when.
And much more.
The planned presentation gives you a clear, best-practice structure to follow, optimized to lead you to the best possible results.
A well-scripted presentation will thus maximize your results in sales conversations.
2. The sales presentation makes your success predictable
When you sell a product often enough, you will find clear patterns and ratios that appear in these conversations. Despite all the complexity of the various factors involved.
The better you get at selling, the better your ratios will become.
For example, 1 out of 10 customers buys your product with the standard presentation you use.
But if you try to test some new way of handling objections and explaining the benefits better, you might become better and make it to 2 out of 10 customers who buy your product.
An even better version might get you to 3 out of 10 sales.
In sales, there is so much already outside of your control.
The market, the business situation of customers, and sometimes even the weather can influence whether you make the sale or not.
By using a planned presentation, you get some control back in the process.
You rely less on pure coincidence and make sure that all you can influence on your part is finely polished and optimized to ensure the best chances for success.
3. A Presentation allows you to test ideas and measure results
As already mentioned in the previous point, if you use the same presentation again and again, then it allows you to optimize it.
You can test to ask questions about past buying behavior at the very beginning, or in the middle of the conversation.
You can try to explain your benefits before you mention your price, or mention the price first and the benefits later.
You can mention other clients and references of your business during the presentation, or not mention them at all.
All these and many more options will get you very different results.
Which way will be right for you, is up to you to find out through practical testing in real customer situations.
Try a few different approaches and select the best one.
Then optimize it over time, for example by analyzing which questions to ask and how to take on objections before they even come up, etc.
Ultimately, a presentation allows you to maximize your efficiency by using a cleverly structured, and well-defined path in which to approach the customer.
The more you test and measure, the better your results will get over time.
4. Sales presentations allow even rookies in your team to become highly successful
You are a pro, and probably have lots of experience in selling your product.
You know the dos and don'ts exactly.
But I assume it took you months or years of brutal experience, failures, rejection, and outright disasters to become the professional you are today.
Now think what it would mean for you, or just any sales organization if all these years of hard-earned experience could be used right from the start.
No more painful lessons for new teammates.
No more years needed of experience to become successful.
No more finding out “the hard way.”
Instead, you let your new teammate participate in your own experience by sharing your presentation.
And you will learn from other people’s experiences as well.
As a team you can share different presentations with each other and exchange best practices for optimum results.
Even if the new colleagues might not be as good as yourself from or others with years of experience from the start, by using your presentation these new fellows can drastically increase their chances of success drastically.
Just like you will gain new insight and can improve your performance by getting new perspectives and ideas from others.
If your presentation closes 4 out of 10 customers, a total newbie might get 2 out of 10 with it.
While on his own, thate same newbie might close 0 out of 10 customers.
Using a presentation will automatically help your entire team get on a much better level of skill and confidence from day one.
How to Create your own sales presentations
So how will all of this fit together?
The good news is, you don’t have to be a master persuader or a genius in presenting and telling stories to create a sales presentation.
All you really need is the experience of having sold your product a few times.
You can then build your presentation easily by following these three steps.
1. Analyze your best appointments
Every presentation should have a clear outcome, which in most cases is making sales.
If you have other goals such as raising money or getting someone to try your new restaurant, of course, the presentation will have to lead in that way.
In our case we think back to the best conversations with customers we have ever had.
If you have made a number of sales, you will certainly notice a pattern among these conversations.
Some went well because of certain reasons, others may have turned sour after something happened. I our case we will focus solely on the positive outcomes.
Write down all the things that went well, and analyze why they went so well. Go into the details and look at what was said, how the customer reacted and look for specific triggers that caused a positive reaction.
Make a detailed list of all these best practices and gather them in a document. When you are finished, you should have created a powerful pack of information on how to sell your product.
Ideally, this should be done in a group where the entire sales team contributes their best experiences.
These observations will be your starting point.
If I said “x”, the customer reacted positively most of the time.
Or if you said “y”, the customer reacted negatively most of the time.
These “good” sentences can be your first parts of the script.
Write down as many of them as you can.
Use all the good experiences you have had, all the big wins you have had in the past.
Well, what if you are new in the industry?
Just ask your colleagues, ideally the most successful ones, how they structure their appointments.
Ask them for clear sentences, phrases, or other useful parts of their selling experiences that can help to move the customer into buying behavior.
Once you are done, you should have a clear list of things to say in a sales conversation.
You then try to order all these sentences or phrases in a logical order that builds attention and stacks all the benefits on top of each other.
Pay attention to which part could fit as an introduction, what serves as a middle part, or what is really creating tension when you want to ultimately close the sale.
Start with some small talk, go on to ask questions about the customer’s situation, and then finally reveal how your product can just fit as the perfect solution.
The best way in a sales presentation is to go from general information about a product such as market data, in the beginning, to go to more particular information about the product in the end.
This could mean you start with generic facts about the market, move further to similar clients such as the customer’s business you served in the past, and finally mention the benefits the customer will get out of using the product.
The longer you are moving along your presentation, the more details and figures that serve as additional reasons for buying should be mentioned.
Thereby the more progress the sales conversation will make, the more facts and clear benefits the customer will have for his or her situation.
Actually, the longer you talk, the more they should be convinced that your product is the best solution for them and their situation and that they need it right now.
2. Ask the right questions
Every customer is different.
Every business is different.
Every sale is different.
So how can one presentation probably be right for all those different situations?
You adapt the presentation to the situation by asking specific questions.
The questions should ideally lead to further qualifying the prospect.
This means asking about their current challenges, frequent problems that might occur, or other important information that can help you to make a sale.
The further you move along your presentation and the more answers you will get, the more obvious it should become whether the prospect is right to buy your product.
You might also want to find out if they are ready to buy now, or who the decision-maker in that process is.
Questions should also allow for you to adapt the presentation to the individual conversation.
Depending on which answers you get, you might leave out some parts of the presentation or you can adapt them to fit the answers you just received.
The presentation should allow some verbal flexibility while also giving you a clear guide on what to say and when.
3. Build Tension and excitement
Your sales presentation has to get people to act.
It won’t be enough to just tell the customer about a potential problem that might be ahead, they really have to feel and understand that they have to change things in order to be better off.
Often you can achieve this by telling stories about other clients and situations you witnessed that were similar to the customers current situation and were much better off after they bough our product, for example.
Or you keep asking about the implication of a challenge or problem, if the situation remains as it is and the customers doesn’t change anything about it.
Another way to do this is to do example calculations of the value gained, the savings made etc. with real numbers that the customer has in their business.
There are many ways you can make your solution seem more urgent and the obviously best thing to do right now.
What all of them have in common, is that they build tension during the conversation and an urge to buy in the customer.
With your questions you also further qualify the customer along the way.
Now with every additional minute that passes, the customer should get more insights and facts about why choosing to buy right now is the best thing to do.
You never know where the tipping point comes, when people finally give you their “yes”.
For some this might come faster, in other cases our customer needs more reasons to believe in you and what you offer.
But the longer they listen and watch your presentation, the more reasons should be given to clearly give a yes to your product.
Ultimately and if all else fails, be prepared to push your customer over the edge by closing the sales.
4. Use social proof
One of the most difficult tasks during a sales presentation is to actually get the other person to believe what you are saying.
From former bad experiences in life, people have a natural tendency to distrust what salespeople say especially.
We can thus assume, that despite out best intentions our customer will always take what we say with a grain of salt.
So how do we become instantly credible with what we say in the eyes of our customers?
The most effective way to achieve this comes from using social proof.
What is basically means is that we look for other sources who validate what we said before.
This could be an independent news article that highlights the problems in the market we announced during our presentation.
Or it could be written testimonials from former customers that we bring with us that highlight the exact same doubts and challenges in the beginning of the conversation, and the much better outcome after they bought our product.
Actually, it matters less which format you choose for your presentation, what is crucially important is that you have a valid, trustworthy and obviously neutral third-party to the conversation that will give more or less the same recommendation, facts or data.
If such material is hard for you to come by, you can reverse-engineer the presentation and build it around the social proof you can gather, thereby having the same powerful effect with less material.
You can also present relevant market data and facts that the customer has not heard of before that also suggest the relevancy of your product.
This will also help you to appear more trustworthy and to be seen as an expert in your field.
Create your own sales presentation
Now you have all the information you need to develop a cleverly structured sales presentation.
As we have learned, it can dramatically increase your success if done right.
How will you know if a presentation is right for your business / product / industry?
Simple: test it.
Build it, and make a number of appointments.
Test different approaches and optimize your results step by step.
For more ideas, you can also look at other articles such as how to create your own sales scripts.
Let me know in the comments how your results were!
The most important steps summed up:
Start the conversation with some Small Talk
Introduction of the presentation, building tension (case studies, etc.)
Main part - describe the problem and show how your products can solve it. Keep asking questions about the customer’s situation and adapt when necessary.
Show facts, studies, newspaper articles etc. that demonstrate the results you promise. Use as much social proof as you can with Testimonials from customers and so forth.
For more ideas, you can also look at other articles such as how to create your own sales scripts.
Let me know in the comments how your results were!