Giving an effective sales presentation

Luc Meulewaeter

Published by Luc Meulewaeter on March 15, 2017

You never get a second chance to make a good last impression

I’ve worked in the software business for quite a few years, giving lots of customer presentations and product demonstrations. And if there is one lesson that I learned from all these experiences, it is this one: the last impression is what your customer will remember most.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you shouldn’t make a good first impression. You should. But it’s just not going to be good enough. Even if it sets the right tone for your presentation, a good first impression is not what your customer will ultimately remember. The last impression is most likely to be a lasting one, and you never get a second chance to make a good last impression. Let me give you five tips that will help you to leave a lasting impression with your customer.

Tip #1: Be well prepared

Get to know your audience well before you plan to give your sales presentation. Find out as much as you can about who will attend your presentation. Call your primary contact to anticipate any questions that are likely to come up. Don’t use a set of standard slides. Instead, combine relevant content into a rocking slide deck. Tailor it to your audience.

You don’t want to leave any room for surprises. Select presentation content that is most relevant to your customer’s needs. Prepare yourself for the unforeseen as well. Use a sales enablement solution that provides instant access to any content and gives you the flexibility to reply to whatever question coming up. Make sure to arrive on time. And don’t count on having a projector display available. Just bring your own wireless presentation device along to deliver your message effectively to every single person attending your sales presentation.

Tip #2: Listen to your customer

As I’ve written in another blog post: don’t do all the talking when presenting. Don’t start any customer meeting with a lecture on your company and products. Ask questions. Do everything to understand your customer’s needs and challenges. Show that this is what it’s all about. Kiss your boring sales presentation goodbye, and engage your audience instead. Why not invite your customer to give a brief introductory presentation as well? The more your customer feels involved, the more attentive your audience will be, and the more effective your sales presentation will be.

Drill your questions down to a level that doesn’t leave any room for interpretation. And don’t forget to document your findings, capturing and collecting any digital content presented by your customer. If not taking notes properly, you may soon misinterpret the information shared by your customer. That will obviously not make it easier to follow up.

Tip #3: Give your presentation at the end of the meeting

So far, you focused on learning about your customer’s pains. Your customer has done most of the talking, while you have been listening and asking questions. Now the time has come to use that knowledge and show that you understand your customer’s needs.  Focus on that during your presentation, and keep in mind that less is more when it comes to giving an effective sales presentation.

By moving your sales presentation towards the end of the meeting, you make sure you’ll be the one concluding the meeting. You’ll be the one that gets the opportunity to make the last impression.

Tip #4: Pave the way for further interactions

It is not just your time that is precious. Don’t count on it that your customer has a lot of time to spend on reading all documentation that you provide. Focus on delivering a set of digital handouts that effectively matches the content shared during your sales presentation.

That has so much more value, and paves the way for further interactions. Especially if your customer can already personalize that content in real time during your presentation, adding any ideas and opinions that come to mind.  If everybody has this information available when leaving the meeting room, there is no time lost in getting the most relevant content to your customer. And these “instant presentation handouts” consolidate your customer’s experience into a lasting impression. That makes it so much easier to follow up.

Tip #5: Keep it simple

Don’t bother your customer by asking to provide a projector display or access to a corporate network during your sales presentation. It’s so much easier to count on crowdbeamer’s built-in battery and private WiFi network to exchange valuable content. Honestly, I wish I had a crowdbeamer ten years ago. On many occasions, that could have saved me a lot of trouble with incompatible cables.

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