How do you create the right sales presentation messages? What does your presentation need to include about your product or solution to persuade and convince your audience that you can meet their needs? We break it down.

The first thing to do when creating a sales presentation should be to work out your key sales presentation messages. Once you have 3-5 key points that really sell your product or solution you can order them and use this to structure your presentation.

You can repeat them throughout using a value proposition slide to help your key sales messages stick. Getting the value proposition right will be central to your success. To get it right, you need your value proposition to answer one of two questions, ‘why change?’ or ‘why us?’.

What makes a successful sales message?

To be successful, your sales message has to be persuasive. To do that, it needs to be relevant – to offer something that prospects want, or that you can convince them they want. It also needs to be differentiated – it has to set your offer apart. Differentiation can come from offering something different, or from being able to deliver the same things more impressively. Sales presentation messages must be based on things that your prospects want (or can be made to want), and things that you can deliver better than others.

Why change vs. why us?

Sales messages when you’re selling a category should be different to when you are selling a particular solution.

If you’re selling a category, you’re answering the ‘why change?’ question for an audience considering whether to buy. If you’re selling a solution, you’re answering the ‘why us?’ question for an audience considering which one to buy.

When selling a category, your sales presentation key messages should be made up of benefits – ‘increase turnover’, ‘reduce risk’, or ‘improve efficiency’. Some of these can be expanded on (e.g. efficiency reduces your costs), but it’s pretty clear that they are a good thing.

When selling your solution, your key messages should be made up of advantages, and features. Things like ‘lightweight’, or ‘better predictivity’, ‘or ‘flexible’, or even ‘BSI approved’. Advantages have an inherent positive quality, but need to be expanded upon to help the audience understand the benefit. For example, better predictivity allows a laboratory to deliver better results to ensure satisfied customers. Features such as ‘BSI approved’ also need to be elaborated on. The presenter needs to tie each feature to a strong benefit. For example, in this case BSI approval might mean you can reduce insurance premiums and therefore save money.

Sales presentation messages: Differentiation

The key reason for the difference between ‘why change?’ and ‘why us?’ presentation messages is differentiation.

If you’re selling against other suppliers and you each present a list of benefits, everyone will sound the same. If all your competitors offer efficiency, cost reduction, and reduced risk, how will you stand out? In this situation, you want to focus on something more differentiated whilst making sure the benefit is still clear. For example, you might focus on your unique online scheduling system and explain how that delivers the benefit of efficiency. Or show how vetting your guards to a high level increases security.

If you want to focus on benefits when selling a solution, it is possible to differentiate if you say that you’re better at delivering those benefits than anyone else.That’s fine if you really are better, and the prospect is very clear on what they want – but you won’t be able to differentiate strongly. It can be a waste of some great differences, which get hidden away behind fairly standard benefits. If your key sales presentation messages look the same as everybody else’s, consider looking behind the benefits that you offer, and talking about how you deliver them, and what’s unique there.

Corporate credential sales presentations

Some presentations fall in the middle of the ideal ‘why change?’ or ‘why us?’ archetypes. In fact, the standard corporate credentials presentation does – it looks at the capabilities of the company overall, the things on offer, and what differentiates the presenter’s company all at once. This type of presentation is what we call a ‘why change with us?’ presentation – it runs together reasons for the prospect to change with reasons for the prospect to choose your company without slowing the sales process down or encouraging the prospect to look for other providers. In this circumstance, your sales presentation messages should contain a mixture of benefits and advantages: benefits because they more directly address the prospect’s nascent needs and advantages because they allow for some differentiation.

We’ve got lots of resources on writing compelling sales presentation messages. A great place to start is our blog post on how to make the ULTIMATE sales presentation. If you prefer to learn by watching and listening, download our free resource on creating better sales presentations.

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Joby Blume


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