Sales presentations are the cornerstone of many companies’ sales efforts, yet so often they aren’t given the time and attention they deserve. Thrown together at the last-minute, often your sales reps stand up in front of a sales presentation that's nothing more than a glorified page of notes. Read this article for everything you need to make the ultimate sales presentation.
Steve Jobs was a really good presenter. People went crazy for his keynotes. Products flew off the shelves as people learned to want things they never knew they needed. Carmine Gallo even wrote a book about it.
But you aren’t Steve Jobs, or even his heir. You shouldn’t copy his presentation style. It was great for him, but it won’t work for you:
- Most of your presentations aren’t given from a stage, and certainly not one in the Moscone Center to a room of 1000s. As Andrew Abela argues, different rules apply for ‘ballroom’ presentations.
- You aren’t as comfortable as Steve Jobs was when it comes to giving a speech. You probably aren’t as good at it. You aren’t Churchill or Martin Luther King Jr either. Some people can hold a room with the power of their voice, their charisma, their presence. For the rest of us, there are visual aids that actually help us to tell our stories.
- You aren’t (well, most of you aren’t) talking about relatively simple consumer products. You can’t just show a photo of a shiny gadget if you are selling insurance products, or diagnostic tests, or business services. There is no photo to show that makes people want your IT infrastructure support services. No, an attractive model smiling in a glass office won’t do.
- Your audiences aren’t your fans. They are colleagues, rivals, sceptical prospects, and disinterested buyers. They don’t feel that your company’s offering defines their identity. They don’t put your stickers on their cars, or get tattoos of your logo. You might want to build that kind of loyalty, but chances are, you haven’t and you never will (sorry). Your audiences – particularly your prospects – don’t desperately want you to succeed – you need to win them over.
- You can’t build your narrative arc to a crescendo after an hour, unveiling the really exciting stuff at the end. People aren’t going to keep listening, or even stay in the room, if you don’t grab them from the start.
- You can’t use hyperbole, and call your products “amazing” all the time without offering anything by way of proof. Your B2B buyers won’t camp outside your offices for two days to be first to give you an order just because you state that your solution is “awesome”.
- You can’t always take the high ground, ignore the competition, and assume that nobody else in the market matters. You aren’t always launching new categories of product. Often, you are being evaluated against competitors to win deals. You aren’t always selling something unique.
None of this is to say that you have nothing to learn from Jobs’ presentation style. He used minimal text on his slides. His slides looked great. He made numbers sound meaningful. He used props really well. He practised properly. He did lots of great things. But his presentations weren’t like your presentations. It’s not just that you aren’t as good – you are trying to do something different.
Your presentation style shouldn’t be based on Steve Jobs’ presentation style. If you deliver sales presentations to small groups, for heaven’s sake, don’t model your approach on someone who was great at doing something completely different. Find a presentation style that works for you – but start by thinking about the kind of presentations that you actually deliver.Leave a comment
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