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In this two-part series, I'm going to give you a recipe for giving a winning sales presentation—the kind of presentation that inspires and moves an audience to invest in your company, buy your product, and/or believe in your vision.
It's impossible to have a conversation about great sales presentations without mentioning the late Steve Jobs. If you can find one person that doesn't believe Steve Jobs was one of the most inspiring presenters, I'll buy you lunch. Go ahead, I'll wait. Having the ability to give an inspiring, informative, and captivating presentation may be a gift for some people, but for most, it's something that they develop, practice, and perfect.
Let's get started.
Write your story
When most people have a presentation coming up, the first thing they do is scroll to the trusty PowerPoint icon on their desktop. I get it—you're doing a presentation—the first thing you need is Powerpoint, right? Well, let's think outside the "presentation box" and start with a good ol' fashioned pen and piece of paper. I know what you're thinking: this is 2014—who uses pen and paper anymore? Try not to be so hard on our ancient papyrus friend. Sometimes, pen and a paper is the best way to get your creative juices flowing. If words are failing you—or they're overflowing—you can doodle, scribble, or get everything down on paper to help you organize your thoughts. Before you even start working on the digital aspects of your presentation, start by thinking about, writing down, and perfecting your story. If you want to captivate your audience, tell them a story. Here are a few things to think about as you're writing your story:
Why did you start your company?
What problem(s) are you aiming to solve?
What makes you passionate about solving those problems?
What sets you apart from your competitors?
What is your ultimate purpose?
Remember, making money should not be a part of this equation. If you want to tell a story that captivates your audience, money should always be a byproduct of your ultimate mission and purpose.
Let's take a look at a few examples of companies that have knocked it out of the park with articulating their story:
Ikea is, essentially, a household name. With its vision of creating a better and simpler life for people around the world, they focused on a wide range of functional home furnishings and products at discounted prices. They're branding is simple, and their ads focus on regular people in comfortable homes, surrounded by their families.
There are dozens of companies that sell vehicles to consumers, but Subaru stands out as one with a story that captivates an audience. Subaru's tag line is "Live. Love." and their mission is to protect the people that drive their vehicles. They not only tell their story, but they give Subaru owners a platform to tell their own stories about the experiences they've had driving their Subaru.
Tug on the Heartstrings
People naturally connect with stories that they can relate to, empathize with, or are inspired by. If you want to give a winning and 'not so forgettable' presentation, think about the story of your business, and find a way to tug on the heartstrings of your audience. Hang on to your seat; we're going to talk about science for a minute. Don't worry, it's relevant.
When people's emotions are triggered, dopamine flows to their brains. Dopamine helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers. It allows us to see rewards and take action toward them. See, I told you it was relevant. Let's take a look at a couple of organizations that know how to get people's dopamine flowing:
TOMS: A Profitable Business That Makes a Difference
When Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, traveled to Argentina in 2006, he witnessed the struggles that children endured growing up without shoes. His experience led him to launch a shoe business that donated a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. Since it's humble beginnings, TOMS has provided more than 10 million pairs of shoes to children around the world. The story of Blake's passion for philanthropy and building his business's foundation on giving back, is one that no doubt touches people's emotions. It's the kind of story that inspires people to respond by opening their wallets.
Apple: A True Game Changer
We can't have a discussion about companies (and presenters) that speak to our emotions without diving into the story of Apple. You probably know it by now—a young Steve Jobs starts Apple, Inc. in his basement with three friends, then goes on to make history by inventing the first affordable personal computer to offer a graphical interface. And, if that doesn't ring a bell, Mr. Jobs followed that huge accomplishment with a device that would change the face of music, the iPod, followed, yet again, by a device that revolutionized the mobile phone industry, the iPhone.
It's not what Apple invents that tugs on people's heartstrings; it's their vision, mission, and delivery of their passion-filled message and products that gives people "the feels."
"Here's to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." —Apple's 1997 "The Crazy Ones" commercial
Not only did this TV spot touch people's emotions with its script, but the black and white images of historical figures such as MLK and Albert Einstein were enough to revive a brand that was essentially dying prior to the "Think Different" campaign.
According to Forbes, when a person is inspired by a company, they take action. Through a survey, they found that 86% of respondents would recommend the company to friends and family, 82% would be loyal to that company, 92% would share their experience with others, and 71% said they would spend more on a company that inspires them.
No matter what a person's gender, class, socioeconomic status, etc. is, there are human emotions that we all have in common, and it's your job as a presenter to pull those emotions out of your audience.
Once you have crafted and perfected your company's story and found a way to tug at your audience's heartstrings, your next job is to practice, practice, practice! The more you practice your story—both to yourself and to a practice audience—the more refined your story becomes, while increasing your ability to touch people's emotions.
We hope you found Part 1 of How To Give a Winning Sales Presentation valuable. Stay tuned for Part 2 coming next week!
Brett Morgan specializes in alternative risk transfer programs, professional liability, Directors & Officers liability, and employment issues centered on protecting clients’ assets. He has an extensive background in understanding property exposures and a customer’s business processes. Brett has taught various seminars on business interruption, protecting your company while conducting business in foreign countries, and protecting your client’s internal controls from theft.