Sales Presentations For Dummies
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When was the last time you gave a sales presentation and the prospect signed the contract at the end? If you’re selling a complex or high-priced solution, it may never happen. For many products and services decision makers may not get together for days, weeks, or even months to discuss your proposal. In the meantime, your prospect has seen additional vendors and had to address new demands and challenges. Making sure your presentation sticks in your customer’s mind long after you walk out the door is critical with today’s busy decision makers.

You can increase the stickiness of your presentation with the following tips:

  • Have a unique opening. If you start off strong, you’re more likely to have your prospect’s attention through the rest of your presentation. Beginning your presentation with a company overview or agenda isn’t a strong start and does nothing to set you apart. A unique opening — an anecdote, a poll, an insight — improves your prospect’s attention and ensures stronger recall of your presentation.

  • Tell a story. Stories are incredibly memorable. They are how information was passed down long before written words. Using a story within your presentation to highlight a benefit, change a perception, or emphasize a key point is an extremely helpful way to lock an idea in your prospect’s brain.

  • Reinforce one thing. Unless your prospect has an incredible memory, the unfortunate truth is that he’ll remember little of the actual content of your presentation. Trying to reinforce too many things backfires completely. Make it easy for your prospect to recall your central idea by creating a catchy 3- to 12-word phrase and sprinkling it in three or more times within your presentation.

  • Use a prop. Nearly 80 percent of the population learns visually, so it’s no surprise that using a visual aid in your presentation is proven to improve recall by almost two-thirds versus no visual aid. Whiteboards, flipcharts, tablets, or a simple item that supports your message can greatly increase the recall of your presentation. A prop plus a story plus your opening? Killer combo!

  • Create presence. Although your prospect may not remember a lot of the details of your presentation, he will form a memory of the overall experience. Your voice, body, and attitude — in other words, your presence — play a leading role in what type of an experience your prospect has. Using your voice to emphasize key points, moving around your space with purpose and confidence, and being intentional about connecting can leave your prospect with the memory of a strong, positive experience of your presentation.

  • Call back to your opening. As your final impression, the quality and content of your closing has much to do with whether your prospect remembers your message or it fades away as soon as you walk out the door. One way to give a powerful closing and bring your presentation full circle is to call back to the hook you used in the opening, whether it was story, a prop, or an insight. Your hook helps tie together your presentation and makes it easier for your prospect to remember you and your message.

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Julie Hansen, who is recognized as the "Sales Presentation Expert," redefines the typical sales presentation and helps salespeople apply best practices. She leverages the power that performers have been using for centuries to engage and move audiences.

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