Sales presentations

Mistakes to avoid in your sales presentation

With the work you’ve put in to developing powerful sales messaging and a customised sales presentation, you definitely won’t want to fall at the last hurdle.

Sales Presentation Mistakes

Thinking about possible mistakes you might make ahead of your sales presentation is certainly uncomfortable, but by being aware of possible pitfalls and resolving to avoid them ahead of time you’ll be well on your way to pulling off that perfect sales presentation.

Here are some key sales presentation mistakes made by even experienced presenters, together with useful tips on how to avoid them.

Too Much Information

Cramming your slides full of exhaustive sales copy, crowded visuals and excess data points that demonstrate how great your product is won’t do you any favours.

Slides with too much information on them are a real audience turn-off as they’re difficult to follow and absorb. It’s you giving the presentation, not your slides slides – although they play an extremely important supporting role, make sure you’re the focus of the audience’s attention.

Instead, be concise and focused: treat your slides as visual prompts that you can talk around in greater detail. Include only necessary points and limit yourself to one piece of information per slide – and whatever you do, don’t read from them verbatim!

Poor Structure

A scattered, non-logical structure can derail your presentation and lose your audience. Building a clear narrative flow is essential in delivering a presentation that persuades effectively. Storytelling has been proven time and time again over the course of human history to be the most powerful way of communicating information, so take advantage of it.

Present problems that your prospect can closely identify with and explain the ways that your product can solve them. Draw on the stories of relevant case studies. Build up to decisive moments where you reveal key pieces of information that compel your audience to convert.

Replacing itemised facts with a dramatic narrative will keep your audience engaged and help them better retain information – this also makes it easier for you to move more naturally through your content when presenting.

Not Involving Your Audience

Many businesses have a narcissism problem. When it comes to talking about themselves, they can’t resist a long credentials section that shouts about their achievements. Resist the temptation and remember that it’s the product that your prospect is interested in first and foremost.

You should absolutely try to distinguish yourself and describe how you’re unique, but stay focused on your prospect’s issues and the opportunities available to them. Demonstrate that you’ve read and absorbed their brief, researched their industry, and that your product solution is specific to them.

Connect the dots from your messaging and examples back to their situation and let them know that they are the gravitational centre of your work. Get them client talking, and when they do, listen and respond appropriately – make it a collaboration and a conversation rather than a one-way delivery.

Technical Problems

Don’t be like PowerPoint amateur Sam Allardyce – find out what resources and equipment facilities will be available to you before your presentation, and plan accordingly.

Watching you fiddle with cables or trying desperately to get online is just plain boring for your prospect. Once you’re in the room you want to hook their attention from the get go.

Embed any video or interactivity into the presentation itself so you’re not at the mercy of a WiFi connection. Also be sure to save your presentation as a .PPS, so that it opens in slideshow mode and you can get moving right away.

Features and Not Benefits

Your product can have all the desirable bells and whistles, but if you’re not relating its virtues back to your prospect, you’re doing something wrong.

‘Sell the benefits, not the features’ is an age-old piece of sales wisdom for very good reason: a tailored sales presentation that highlights how your product or service will benefit your prospect’s work life and business performance will prove much more powerful and convincing than an itemised bullet point list.

Corporate Sales Jargon

Jargon is intended to be shorthand for referencing ideas and concepts that would otherwise require a much longer explanation. It’s indisputably useful in this regard, but its incessant and contrived abuse in the business world has given it a bad name.

When presenting, keep the jargon an absolute minimum: be direct and say what you mean in the simplest terms that you can to avoid putting unnecessary obstacles between you and your prospect.

Unclear Next Steps

Your prospect has made a significant time and effort investment in their customer journey to progress to the sales presentation stage, so not providing clear next steps for them to take can seriously harm your chances of making the sale.

Provide your prospect reassurance and set forth an actionable plan keep them on the road to conversion.
This aspect is something we’ll explore more fully when we reach the ‘call to action’ part of this series on delivering the perfect sales presentation.

Follow Buffalo7 on Twitter to be the first to know when we publish Part 7 in our Perfect Sales Presentation series.
In the meantime, be sure to check out or PowerPoint Tips and Tricks companion series.

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