The truth is, to sell a large quantity of any product, there are a set of steps everyone needs to follow. It is a process so common that even sidewalk sellers know how to leverage it, yet so many of us salespeople neglect to employ it! To help you put your best foot forward and secure more, more significant deals for your organisation, keep reading to learn the more effective sales presentation techniques alongside identifying the effective sales presentation skills you need to close deals faster.
- Using Stories to Demonstrate Value
- The Ultimate Guide To Selling To The C-Suite
- 8 Types Of Sales Pitches Every Salesperson Should Know & Use
What is a Sales Presentation?
To first understand what makes a good sales presentation, it’s only logical to start with the sales presentation definition;
‘a talk giving information about a product or service that you are trying to sell, intended to persuade people to buy it:’.
A sales presentation refers to the meeting between an individual salesperson or sales team and a company. They attempt to persuade key stakeholders to close the deal by displaying the offerings’ capabilities, benefits, and features. Sales presentations must align with your prospective clients’ needs to achieve the desired outcome, which usually requires extensive planning and preparation.
Sales Presentations Vs Sales Pitches: What’s the difference?
A sales presentation is a more complex version of a sales pitch and is usually used for bigger deals that require multiple stakeholders to weigh in on decision making. While still technically a sales pitch, sales presentations are held when the sales process isn’t straightforward, generally for longer sales cycles with lucrative deals that require a product or sales demo. For this reason, sales presentations require a larger budget, not just for the presentation (often around an hour in length) but for preparation, timing and testing. Moreover, salespeople are more likely to present sales presentations as a team rather than as individuals, so understanding the plan requires a group effort.
Other uses for the sales pitch include the elevator sales pitch, which many believe is identical to a sales pitch; however, it is not. A sales pitch is a formal type of sales presentation, usually used in long buying cycles. It can take multiple times until a deal has closed. Whereas an elevator sales pitch often occurs organically in casual conversation and tells potential prospects what you do, with a statement that positions you as the ideal solution provider in the hopes of leading to a sale.
The importance of effective Sales Presentations
A sales presentation helps salespeople build connections with prospective customers to differentiate their offering from competitors – with the end goal of closing a deal. Sales presentations help set the tone for future interactions as the sales process progresses and is, therefore, a key tool for persuading your prospects that your offering is best suited to their needs.
What makes an effective Sales Presentation?
An effective sales presentation speaks directly to your audience’s needs, challenges and desires. It captivates their imagination with a compelling story, complete with a solid value proposition and strong call to action that tells the prospect exactly why you’re the best solution provider. Below is an in-depth view of each of the 5 core elements that make an effective sales presentation alongside the ideal sales presentation structure that many companies follow:
Five Core Elements of every Sales Presentation
You’re giving a sales presentation because you can provide a solution to a prospect’s problem. However, you mustn’t start the sales presentation with the solution. Rather the problem itself and the subsequent challenges and pain points your prospect experiences because of it.
Prospects don’t care about solutions or features; they care about the value that comes with a suitable solution. That’s why you need to thoroughly research prospects to understand what motivates them. Identifying pain points as you delve deeper into how they operate so that you can and ultimately tailor their journey to provide them insightful and value-based solutions.
Stories help prospects to visualise the value of your offering. That’s why it’s helpful to select several stories you can pull from during sales presentations that appeal to the prospect based on individual needs (hence why you need to research their wants and needs thoroughly first!)
3. A Value-Proposition
“What’s really in it for me?” – that’s what every prospect wants to know. Why should they, or anyone for that fact – buy your product or service? Suppose you can’t convince someone else that your product or service offers better value than your competitors. In that case, there is no point in wasting any more time trying to sell your solution because you’ll only ever hear “we’ll be in touch.” Always ensure you arrive prepared with a value proposition that explicitly states how your company’s product or service benefits prospects. For example, you can always follow the “value proposition formula” to get started: [Company name] helps [target audience] with [services] so you can [benefits].
Prospects are more likely to agree to the next steps in a deal if they’ve seen proof that other people benefit from your solution. To achieve this, ensure you have plenty of social proof available from the get-go when meeting with your prospect. Overall, any proof of your solution being effective helps answer the “how can I believe you” question from prospects. To do so successfully, consider sharing evidence such as:
- Client testimonials: Enhance your credibility impact with reasons other customers love doing business with you.
- Research data: Use industry expert quotes to create bridge statements from your features and benefits.
- Product comparisons against key competitors: Tell them why your solution is better.
5. A call-to-action
Last but not least, an effective sales presentation requires a strong call to action at the end to compel prospects to take action. Whether that’s to buy now, take the following steps internally, or even start a free trial – prospects need to be told what to do next.
11 Effective Sales Presentation Techniques
With the correct sales presentation techniques to guide you through your sales meetings, you’ll start closing more sales than ever before – check them out below:
1. Use the “Five-Second Rule”
Prospects have less and less time in this competitive and busy digital world. Getting their attention is hard, but keeping it is even harder! That’s why you need to remember and use the 5-second rule – where you have at least fifteen to twenty words to capture your prospect’s attention. Ensure your overall opening statement is strong and directly relates to your audience.
2. Talk like an executive
Ideally, prospects will understand what your sales presentation is about after the first minute. That’s why you need to use the appropriate language to address your audience-not only does it help decision-makers to connect with your solution quicker, but it also shows you’ve prepared to respect their time.
3. Involve key stakeholders
Use your showmanship abilities and have the prospective decision-makers interact with the product you are selling. Ask them to try it out to see how easy it is, how soft it feels, or how fun it is – whatever the defining benefit and feature is. When the customer gets involved, they can imagine themselves using the product, making it easier for them to buy.
4. Present solutions to painful challenges
Place the prospect’s most painful problem at the forefront of your sales presentation and describe precisely how your product or service can solve the challenge they’re currently facing. By doing so, you’re showing them a way out of their current situation and the opportunities they could gain from closing the deal.
5. Make it memorable
When you give a presentation, people are not going to retain everything that you say. And what most of us do is leave to chance what the prospect actually retains, but by incorporating a few specific elements, you can start to influence what people remember.
- Visuals: The first element is to help them visualize. Use a visual on the screen that emphasises one of my key messages. Try to have no more than three key messages that you want somebody to walk away with. But use visuals to emphasis key points.
- Text: Also put text on the screen, which is almost like underlining in documents important words. Use text to highlight important points you want them to remember.
- Story: To really get your prospect to remember your presentation include story to highly your 3 key points. Wrap them in a story that touches on their emotions and can help them visualise how your solution will help them.
- Repetition: When you use story, text and visuals, and repeat your 3 key messages throughout your presentation, your presentation will be memorable, and more importantly, they’ll remember the 3 key points you want them to remember. Some of the presentations that Steve jobs used to do, he used to use rhetorical devices and 3 key points, it was always thinner, faster, lighter.
So remember to influence what people remember from your presentation, use visuals, text, story and repetition.
6. Prepare valuable insights
Another effective sales presentation technique is to prepare insights ahead of time for your prospects. Insights are accurate understandings of your prospect, your prospect’s business or industry. These understandings are found through research, experience, data and metrics. They aim to develop a stronger relationship with the prospect by providing them with valuable opportunities to optimise and grow their operation in ways they may not have considered beforehand.
7. Don’t lead with your differentiators, lead to them!
Suppose you lead by explaining your solution’s differentiating factors. In that case, you risk not hitting the mark and resonating with prospects about why this is so important. That’s why you need only to introduce your key differentiators once your overall backstory is clear and the prospect gets it. Think about your key differentiators as a series of breadcrumbs you’re leaving for prospects to connect to understand the overall benefit.
8. Master the art of trial closes
Rather than expecting only one effective sales presentation and saying “Sign here,” you need to get your prospect to make small incremental commitments. A commitment is an obligation or a promise; an incremental commitment would be small, bite-sized pieces, or portions. For example, you could ask your prospects to commit to:
- Meeting with you again.
- Reading your proposal.
- Introducing you to another decision-maker.
- Scheduling a conference call with key stakeholders.
- Forwarding a survey to their staff to get a sense of their needs before you propose something.
Overall, whatever it is, all you want is to gain a small commitment – something that they can agree to do now that’s relatively easy. The idea is, by getting your customers to commit to small things and to follow through on those small things, you’re one step closer to closing those long, complex deals.
9. Ask for feedback
The easiest way to lose the engagement of any audience is to drone on for long periods. While what you’re saying might be compelling, how you deliver it is crucial. That’s why, rather than talking through your sales deck or bullet points on a slide, you should always begin by notifying decision-makers that questions are welcome throughout the presentation. By asking for and receiving feedback this way, your sales reps will know they’re hitting the mark – or when they need to adapt their approach.
10. Ask for the sale
After the prospect understands the product, how it can benefit them, and how easy it will be to implement, ask for the sale. In the sidewalk seller’s case, he asked by saying, “We have it in red, blue, green and yellow. What colour would you like?” Find out what closes work best for you.
11. Ask Again
If the customer poses an objection, overcome their objection and ask again. Don’t give up after 1 “No”. Again, in the case of the sidewalk seller, he asks “What else can you get in Singapore for $10”. The majority of sales are closed after the second or third attempt.
You don’t have to sit on a sidewalk with a loudspeaker blasting your every word to employ these techniques; you need to be able to show people how your product can benefit them. So find a way to get in front of your prospects, and make sure to follow these steps to maximise results.
7 Effective Sales Presentation Skills every sales rep must have
Now that we’ve explored some of the most effective sales presentation techniques let’s also recap the sales presentation skills every sales rep needs to possess to close more deals. Discover each sales presentation skill in detail below:
Research & Solution-Based Questioning
The first stage of preparing for a sales presentation is to research your prospect thoroughly; skipping this preparation will likely result in rejection of your ideas. That’s why all salespeople need to be keen researchers of their ideal customers, gathering answers and insights about elements of prospect’s challenges with typical solution selling questions such as:
- What are their most pressing needs?
- Do they know their most significant challenges?
- What are their aspirations?
- What’s stopping them from currently reaching these goals?
- What do their customers and stakeholders need and want?
- How could your solution help to negate these issues they’re experiencing?
- In what way will your solution position your prospect with a market advantage?
- How can you accurately communicate the benefits without solely discussing the solution to influence prospects to take action?
The importance of Solution Selling Vs Product Selling for effective sales presentations
What does solution selling vs product selling have to do with sales presentations? Well, product selling involves merely trying to persuade a customer that the product you sell is a better version than the similar products each of your competitors is selling. This is why salespeople using the product selling method in sales presentations spend much of their time going over feature lists and pricing options with disinterested prospects.
On the other hand, solution selling requires an alternative way of making a sale. By pinpointing the real-world problem your customer is currently facing- you can explain how the product can solve their problem in the best way possible.
If you want your potential customer to pay attention to what you say, you have to be willing to listen to him first. That doesn’t mean just giving your prospect time to speak, but actively listening to what they have to say.
Sales professionals should be listening 80% of the time and only talking 20% of the time. Of that 20%, half of that should be asking questions, which leaves only 10% for selling and telling. By focusing intently on what information your prospect is giving you about their problem, you can better formulate a personalised offering that they’re more likely to buy. Rather than spending time preparing an unappealing one size fits all type of deal.
Overall, sales presentations are most likely to be effective when you display body language that shows you’re listening to your prospect, from subtly head nods to small comments that show you agree and understand.
Study after study shows that people are more receptive to stories than almost any other type of communication. Our brains are designed not only to crave stories but to remember them and pass on meaningful ones to others. That’s why incorporating storytelling into asking for the sale is so effective.
You can easily do this by creating a hero with a name, a personality, and a practical problem to overcome. However, you must take great care when deciding how to reflect your intended message. Ensure your storytelling speaks directly to your customers by including the same hopes, ambitions, fears, regrets, and disappointments they too possess.
Ultimately, prospects need to perceive you as self-assured to want to work with you. That’s why all sales reps should be confident not only in themselves but in the solution they are selling. To achieve this, all skilled salespeople will practice and refine their sales presentations well ahead of time to ensure that the delivery is articulate and compelling. Alongside employing body language techniques such as:
- Eye contact: Shows prospects you’re interested in what they have to say.
- Standing/sitting straight: Opens up your posture, making your body language warmer and authoritative.
- A firm handshake: Always offer a firm but friendly handshake to make a good first impression.
- Smile: An effective sales presentation technique for keeping prospects at ease when used naturally as not forced.
All sales reps should be well versed in listing common objections people have given in the past and understand the rationale for each objection. By doing this, reps can frame each response to each objection positively and practice it for the sales presentation. Continue reading to learn common sales objections and how to overcome them.
Interpersonal & Rapport Building
Interpersonal skills are small, nuanced behaviours that help build rapport with prospects that hopefully turn effective sales presentations into a long-term trusted relationship. As the saying goes, ‘People do business with people they know, like and trust’. So, of course, you need to build rapport – and quickly. One of the most effective ways to do this is to use your customer’s name and, probably more critically, know how to pronounce it! It helps you connect with them because they feel heard, and well, people love the sound of their names. However, make sure to use their name naturally in the conversation – otherwise, you’ll come off as indigenous. Other types of interpersonal skills include:
- Communication style flexing: Different prospects have unique ways that they prefer to communicate based on their communication style. They typically fall into one of four communication styles based on two factors. Understanding the different communication styles and how to handle each individually can drastically improve your relationship and ability to connect with other people. Moreover, once you’ve fully identified your prospective executive’s communication style, you can move on to understanding their decision-making style. How do you do this? Ask yourself and the prospective executive these questions.
- Courtesy: If good manners cost nothing, then courtesy is critical for making prospects feel welcome and comfortable.
- Ability to visualise other’s perspectives: Understanding how it feels to be in your prospect’s shoes can either make or break understanding their reason for buying – or not buying.
Master the art of engaging virtual sales presentations
Online, prospects are easily distracted, and bonds can be harder to build. Technology can complicate the sales process and add a layer of unwanted complexity.
This can all be overcome with adequate preparation, skills and a proven process that engages prospects during virtual presentations, not put them to sleep.
Here at SOCO®, we help teams master selling through video conferencing tools so sales reps can be as effective online as in-person.