A sales presentation is often a one-shot opportunity to impress a new client and land a deal. Gone are the days of casual conference room table conversations.
To grab and hold a potential client's attention, today's salesperson must be succinct, creative and stand out from the rest.
A salesperson has about 45 seconds to make an initial impression on the client. To avoid a dry, boring presentation that causes you to lose the client's attention and interest, you must employ certain presentation techniques that lead to an interesting opener and session that holds the client's attention throughout.
· Establish a connection. Whether presenting to one client or a roomful, these people want to connect to the salesperson somehow. To grab their attention, know the audience and find a way to connect through common ground such as parenting, sports, or another topic.
· Tell a story. A humorous or suspenseful story is an excellent way to hook the audience's attention and prepare them for the presentation.
· Illustrate points with imagery. People are visual creatures. Illustrate opening points with humorous cartoon images or cute, cuddly animals and babies. Make sure the images connect with the opener but don't be afraid to think outside the box.
The body of the presentation
· Move around. While presenting, move around the room to encourage the audience to remain engaged. Standing in one place, droning on, is a sure-fire way to lose attention quickly.
· Invite interaction. Whenever possible, get clients up in front to participate, or have them participate where they're sitting. Any type of interaction and discussion interspersed into the presentation will keep clients interested and engaged, while bringing them closer to the product or service.
· Demonstrate and problem-solve. Everyone has a problem to solve. The audience is also more than likely searching for a solution. Demonstrate whatever it is that's being sold and creatively map out how it will solve the problem.
· Create a ‘signature closing’. A signature closing will help the presentation and the presenter stand out from the crowd. Tap into your own personality, whether you tell funny jokes, spin a great tale, or are a great visual performer. Creating a signature closing leaves clients excited and looking forward to future presentations.
· Get motivational. Inspire the audience to want to use the service or product. A motivational story or anecdote can lead clients to become invested in finding a way to use the product or service.
Putting theory and technique into practice
How many salespeople practice their presentations? One thing's for sure: Those who want to succeed and provide their clients with a smooth, creative presentation do. The above techniques won't amount to any good if they're thrown together without any practice.
A salesperson can either plan for success or failure, and preparation is a big part of that. Once the presentation is created using these steps, the individual should practice the presentation several times until he or she feels it runs smoothly and sounds natural.
During the presentation, the individual shouldn't have to focus on remembering words or descriptions.
These should flow naturally while the salesperson focuses on being genuinely enthusiastic and engaging – two qualities that will help make the presentation stand out from the competition.
About the author: Mary Ylisela is a veteran writer who has been in sales for more than 20 years. In addition to writing about business and entrepreneurs such as Steve Wynn, she also coaches other small business owners on business-building techniques.