The sales presentation: guest blog by Jan Schultink

Jan Shultink has a great blog on presentations. He kindly allowed us to reproduce one of his posts here on the Sales presentation.

A good sales presentation does not always equal a slide deck

Some sales meetings can be conducted without PowerPoint at all. An alternative is a meeting sketched out live on a white board. For example, you could run your client live through a calculation of the financial benefits of your product. It will be clear that although there are no PowerPoint slides involved, these type of presentations might actually require more preparation than regular slide shows.

Talk about the customer issue rather than yourself

Pages and pages about the history of your company, how many employees you have, where your offices are located, are all about your, and not about the issue your customer is struggling with. If you are a startup and you need to establish that you are a financially stable company, do so, but in (most) other cases do not bore your audience with talking about yourself.

Listen, listen, listen

Each customer has specific issues, and customers are very keen to explain them to you. Listen carefully in the phone calls leading up to the meeting. Listen in the meeting. Focus your sales presentation exactly on the customer. Look the audience in the eye and see whether you maintain the attention, there is still eye contact. Rigorously sticking to your script even when the customer signals (questions, interruptions, eye movement) she wants to take the discussion in a different direction is a sure recipe for a turn down.

Sell the problem rather than the solution

Showing that you can articulate/understand the customer’s problem is much more effective in sales presentations than spending pages and pages on the benefits of your product. Once you have sold the problem, the customer is likely to buy your solution. 

A good sales presentation does not always equal a slide deck

Some sales meetings can be conducted without PowerPoint at all. An alternative is a meeting sketched out live on a white board. For example, you could run your client live through a calculation of the financial benefits of your product. It will be clear that although there are no PowerPoint slides involved, these type of presentations might actually require more preparation than regular slide shows.

Talk about the customer issue rather than yourself

Pages and pages about the history of your company, how many employees you have, where your offices are located, are all about your, and not about the issue your customer is struggling with. If you are a startup and you need to establish that you are a financially stable company, do so, but in (most) other cases do not bore your audience with talking about yourself.

Listen, listen, listen

Each customer has specific issues, and customers are very keen to explain them to you. Listen carefully in the phone calls leading up to the meeting. Listen in the meeting. Focus your sales presentation exactly on the customer. Look the audience in the eye and see whether you maintain the attention, there is still eye contact. Rigorously sticking to your script even when the customer signals (questions, interruptions, eye movement) she wants to take the discussion in a different direction is a sure recipe for a turn down.

Sell the problem rather than the solution

Showing that you can articulate/understand the customer’s problem is much more effective in sales presentations than spending pages and pages on the benefits of your product. Once you have sold the problem, the customer is likely to buy your solution. 

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