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.
One of the situations we see quite frequently is one where a fast-growing company wants to bring in more sales people to start delivering their sales pitch.
A charismatic leader – often the CEO or founder – but sometimes the sales director – manages “just fine” to sell with a pretty awful sales tool, and doesn’t understand why others don’t get the same results. Because the charismatic leader is able to sell ‘using’ the awful sales tool – often text-heavy PowerPoint slides – they conclude that the sales tools are find but the new staff need training, or more. But:
Knowledge and credibility
Sales people will (typically) never have the same credibility as a founder, CEO, or director who has been at the company from the start. They don’t have access to the same stories, the perfect knowledge of the solution, or over-arching industry knowledge.
Can your sales tools be used by a range of people, or are they designed for use only by those with extensive experience and ‘war stories’?
Using sales tools vs. claiming to use sales tools
Charismatic leaders often don’t use sales tools as they were intended to be used, or as they expect others to use them. They don’t really refer to the slides. They skip around the deck. They stand and talk for ten minutes with a slide on screen, ignored, behind them. They give a speech, tell stories, ask questions – and essentially ignore the slides that they later expect others to use. They don’t even realise that they aren’t using their sales tools to sell, and that they themselves are able to sell without any sales tools.
Do you actually use the sales tools you want others to use, or do you sell with it in the background?
Often when we ask leaders to show us how they deliver their sales pitch, they bring in other sales tools – ones that others don’t have. They sketch on a flipchart, show pictures on their laptop, show web pages on their tablet. I’ve seen a CEO stand up to show me how they use their sales presentation, draw on a whiteboard for 30 minutes, and never refer to the slides they expect others to use. But then he wonders why others aren’t getting the same results.
Are there other techniques you use to sell, that others aren’t asked – or able – to use?
Sales tools and users
For a sales tool to be effective, it needs to work for those expected to use it. This means that sales tools designed for a new sales team need to capture the sales pitch that the charismatic leader gives – but not to rely upon being a charismatic leader to work.
Creating an effective visual sales tool that reflects the sales pitch the CEO wants others in the company to give helps because it:
- Delivers consistency by crystallising company sales messaging in a clear way for sales people to use
- Makes sales people more compelling and ultimately persuasive by eliminating ‘Death by PowerPoint’
- Captures the tacit knowledge of the charismatic leader by uncovering the stories, sketches, and pictures they use, and builds them for re-use by others
- Enables growth – because now more people are able to deliver an effective sales pitch, using sales tools that work (instead of ones that need to be overcome).
The starting point for creating a sales tool that can be used by all comes from realising that just because a charismatic leader can sell with an awful slide deck, it doesn’t mean that anyone else will be able to. Particularly if those claiming that the awful sales presentation works fine actually just leave it in the background and use some other sales tools to sell instead.
The next step after creating a sales presentation that is actually effective is to make sure you get the buy-in of those presenting it. Read all about that here.Leave a comment
DirectorView Joby Blume's profile
Sales presentations are important, but 1000s of people each day ignore the principles of sales presentation design and sales messaging and deliver material that is tired, ugly, and ineffective. These sales presentation ideas will help you to easily improve your sales presentation; stand out, engage your audience, and sell more.
We exhibited at a large trade exhibition a couple of weeks ago, and I went along to see what other vendors are up to. A lot of exhibitions are a desolate wasteland for exhibitors with nothing but tumbleweed and other vendors to stop the boredom. This show was actually pretty busy though, and by walking around l think I managed to notice things companies were doing (right and wrong). Some of these observations are surprisingly apt for sales presentations too...
We were notified on Friday that we’ve been successful in our renewal bid. They were particularly complementary about our presentation and claimed it was one of the best they’ve had.Greg Tufnall Siemens