Welcome back to our two-part series on giving a winning sales presentation. In Part 1, we talked about developing your business' story and finding a way to tug on your audience's heartstrings. Now that you've had an opportunity to spend some time thinking about your business' identity and finding a way to connect with your audience on an emotional level, it's time to start creating your presentation. So, without further adieu, here we go:
Why? | How? | What?
The general flow of the presentation of 'yesteryear' follows a Who > What > How> format.
Who I am
What does my company do
Why you should buy my product/service
This is the 'tried and true' method for your standard presentation, but since we're thinking outside of the "presentation box" and taking a few lessons from the great Steve Jobs, let's consider a different format for our sales presentations. The typical movie and screenplay plot follows a three-act structure. There's a setup where characters and an environment are introduced, a confrontation, where some kind of conflict arises, and finally the conclusion, where the story is resolved.
Following this structure, your sales presentation should:
Let your audience know what they can expect from your presentation and why they should care
The problem and the solution
The resolution to the problem with an obvious call to action
Using this same format for your presentation should pose and answer three questions for your audience:
Why should I care?
How will your product/service fill a need?
What action do I take now?
Structuring your sales presentation in this format will help mold a story for your audience—the kind of story that excites and motivates. "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it," Simon Sinek
How many times have you heard someone say "a picture is worth a thousand words?" Thousands, maybe? It may be a cliche' statement, but it's absolutely true. Really, it's science! According to the picture superiority effect, concepts are much more likely to be remembered if they are presented as pictures instead of words.
Not only do we remember images longer than words, but we also process images 60,000 times faster, too. Yes, you read that right: 60,000! Images affect us cognitively and emotionally, causing us to process them much faster than words. According to Dr. Lynell Burmark, Ph.D. Associate at the Thornburg Center for Professional Development, "Images go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched."
Which do you prefer?
Once you begin to develop the digital component of your sales presentation, remember to focus on keeping it visual. Sure, you can go with the typical list of bullet points on a slide, or you can find a way to bring your message to life—the kind of message that will stay with your audience long after your presentation is over— with colorful, vibrant images.
Speak in Laymen's Terms
No matter how complex your product or service is, or how complicated your industry may be, you can still find a way to speak to your audience in laymen's terms. It's easy to get caught up in industry jargon, buzzwords, and complicated stats that "sound" impressive but don't necessarily add anything to your message. A person who knows nothing about your company or industry should be able to read your presentation and get at least a general understanding of what you do and how you do it.
If you're an asset manager, you could say, "I optimize your portfolio's performance by using the most advanced analytical tools and cost-effective investment instruments to help you achieve your investment goals," or you could simply say, "I can manage your portfolio to help you get the highest return on your investment."
Sure, they're both essentially saying the same thing, but the second version cuts through all of the clutter and gets right to the heart of the matter. Steve Jobs was a master at this concept. As Hubspot points out in their blog post, 7 Lessons From the World's Most Captivating Presenters, "when Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPod, he could have said something like this:
“Today we’re introducing a new, portable music player that weighs a mere 6.5 ounces, is about the size of a sardine can, and boasts voluminous capacity, long battery life, and lightning-fast transfer speeds.”
But he didn’t. Instead, he said: “iPod. One thousand songs in your pocket.”
Instead of filling his presentations with words simply to fill space, Steve Jobs chose to be clear, direct, and concise. You may not always be able to get your opening line down to seven words like Jobs could, but when at all possible, try your best to keep it simple.
Lastly, like we discussed in Part 1, practice, practice, practice. I can't stress enough how important it is to practice your delivery from start to finish.
Did you enjoy our two-part series on presenting a winning sales presentation? What are some of your 'tried and true' tricks of the trade? Share with us in the comments below!