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When you’re engaged with a prospect, it’s often necessary to make some form of presentation, typically using PowerPoint or Google Slides. I imagine you’ve sat through hundreds of presentations over the years… I know I have! Some of them have really left an impression, others I’ve struggled to stay awake.

So what are the key elements to bear in mind when you’re developing a new presentation?

Firstly, decide what you want to achieve from making a presentation. Are you trying to educate a prospect? What do you want them to learn?

Secondly, put yourself in the shoes of the audience. What’s going to be of most value to them?

Thirdly, what’s the story you want to tell that will make the audience remember what you’ve talked about? What are the steps you’ll take during that story?

Many salespeople completely miss the point of presentations; they think that the more they can cover about their company and its products and services, the more effective it will be. As a result, their presentations grow and grow; I’ve sat through some that consist of 50 or 60 slides. I’m yawning even thinking about it.

If that’s how you present, then you’re not helping yourself win the sale. Your prospect will be bored senseless. They’ll see you as just another salesperson delivering a pitch. You won’t stand out from all the rest.

Try and keep your presentation material to 10 slides or less. If you really think you need to have a company overview, provide a hand-out to give your prospects after the presentation.

Limit the amount of text in your slides. The more text you include, the more the audience will focus on it and they’ll stop listening to what you have to say. How many presentations have you sat through, where the presenter has simply read through the text that the audience can already read for themselves? They’re probably reading faster than you can talk anyway. Instead, use pictures and images to provide context to the story that you’re telling. Google Steve Jobs Presentations… Jobs was an absolutely master at telling a story, and his slides included the absolute bear minimum of text and as a result, his audiences were transfixed by the story he was telling.

What you really want to achieve with your presentation is to trigger a genuine conversation with the prospect about their business objectives, key priorities and strategic initiatives and explain how your product or service helps them achieve these objectives. Nothing else!

Avoid the “tell / sell” approach. Act as if the prospect has already selected you and you’re having your first meeting with them. When you do that, they’ll be able to see themselves working with you, they’ll see how you’re helping them to achieve their business objectives and, they’re far more likely to select you over your competition.

Do you need help in creating compelling presentations?

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