Today’s #SalesInsights blog post is going to look at how to deliver impactful sales presentations that engage and inspire your audience. From my years of experience I can tell you there is no magic formula to why some are a success and some are not – the key is simple preparation and a particular mindset.
1. Do you know your audience?
Whether you’re presenting to a small group of colleagues, or to a room of 200 strangers, it is essential that you understand the purpose of your presentation; why your audience are there and what you want from them. Remember, people are only interested in the part of the presentation that will make their life easier or more exciting, so do your research first. Make sure you know who you are going to be presenting to and what they care about so you can position yourself effectively.
2. Do you have an opening hook?
The audience are at their most receptive at the beginning of your presentation, so use this to your advantage—surprise them with a “James Bond” moment to break their usual pattern of thinking and instantly grab their attention. Do not use these precious few seconds to set the agenda or ask a question.
3. Are you ready to tell a story?
Storytelling is a powerful skill found in all great presenters. Great storytellers can invoke emotions and feelings in their audience and it is these that drive passion, opinion and ultimately decisions. For inspiration, draw from firsthand experience, history, sales books and films, or use real life case studies so salespeople can see exactly how what you’re saying can relate to their everyday.
4. Have you fully prepared your content?
You need to deliver your presentation with very few, or preferably no prompts – therefore you need to know your subject inside out. If you must use slides then avoid ‘Death by PowerPoint’ by using images (rather than bullet points); they are more effective at engaging the audience’s interest. Anticipate questions; they’re a good thing, they show that your audience is interested in what you’re saying. And put yourself in their shoes; don’t present anything you wouldn’t want to sit through yourself.
5. Have you practised…and practised…and practised?
Ask for honest feedback. If possible, record your rehearsals. Watching yourself back heightens awareness of negative body language (eg; crossing your arms) the use of filler words (eg; “um”, “ah”) and lack of intonation or emphasis in your voice. Keep things short, snappy and to the point to keep your audience interested.
6. Have you prepared your environment?
To deliver an impactful sales presentation, you need to set the stage – quite literally. Arrive early so that you can position yourself, the audience and any other equipment the way you want them. Allow enough time to run through your presentation.
7. Are your nerves under control?
The manifestation of nerves is one of the biggest challenges individuals face when presenting. These nerves arise from a fear that some harm will come to you; in this instance, embarrassment or humiliation. Keep these fears at bay by knowing your content inside out, preparing for questions and arriving early to check equipment. During the presentation, speak slowly to help control your breathing and move around the stage. As well as helping you to relax, movement helps to lift the monotony for the audience. Keep water to hand and don’t be afraid to take a drink whilst presenting. Breathing exercises are also helpful. Remember “the man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others.”
8. Are you enthusiastic about your subject?
If not, you can’t possibly hope for your audience to be. Injecting energy into a presentation creates a positive snowball effect; you’ll become more animated; the audience will become more engaged; you’ll feel more confident and the audience will remember more. Before beginning, rate your energy level (honestly) from 1-10, then, ramp it up a notch or two! But remember to direct your enthusiasm in the right direction, 80% of your time should be spent talking about their businesses and challenges, not your own.
9. Have you thought about your body language?
Research on eye contact has shown that it implies honesty, trustworthiness, confidence and leadership. Whilst you don’t have to skip around the stage, standing with your hands in your pockets, arms crossed or hands stiffly by your sides will cause negative responses from an audience. Gesticulating and maintaining an open posture whilst presenting will reinforce your audience’s sense of confidence in you and make you appear more in control and authoritative.
10. Are you ready to go out with a bang?
Research shows that the first and last pieces of information presented are those most easily recalled by the audience. Always close with the one thing you want your audience to take away with them and ensure you repeat it after the Q&A session.
Would you like more information about giving top sales presentations? Take a look at How To Make A Strong Sales Presentation here.