Sales Presentations For Dummies
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A successful sales presentation must grab your prospect’s attention and make a compelling case for him to take the next step in the sales process. Winning presentations don’t happen by chance. Make sure your next sales presentation is designed to persuade and engage today’s busy decision makers by keeping the following checklists handy as you plan, build, and deliver your sales presentation.

A Planning Checklist for Your Sales Presentation

A sales presentation that is tailored to address your prospect’s unique needs and interests is a prerequisite for success. Use the following checklist to help you gather key information about your prospect and the opportunity.

The opportunity

___ Identify the opportunity.

___ Qualify the prospect.

___ Set an actionable goal.

___ Identify the challenge.

___ Discover the trigger event.

___ Determine the current solution.

The impact

___ Establish the impact of the problem.

___ Identify the impact of the solution.

___ Determine key performance indicators (KPI).

___ Confirm timing and expectations.

The competition

___ Identify the competition.

___ Research buying history.

___ Do a competitive analysis.

The logistics

___ Determine who will be at your presentation.

___ Agree on the format.

___ Establish the time and date.

___ Confirm the venue.

___ Make arrangements to set up.

___ Determine your travel needs.

The audience

___ Identify roles.

___ Get contact information.

___ Schedule discovery calls.

___ Conduct discovery conversations.

___ Define point of view and personal impact.

___ Confirm your audience’s decision-making process.

Using Hooks in Your Sales Presentation’s Opening

A hook is an attention-grabbing device that focuses your prospect’s attention on your message, sets the tone of the presentation, and provides something of value. Here are several types of hooks that ensure that your presentation starts on a strong note.

  • Quote: Using someone else’s words can add an element of credibility to your presentation or effectively frame your message. Example: “The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well.” John D. Rockefeller

  • Question: Asking your audience a question can get them actively thinking about the topic and participating in the conversation. Example: What percentage of expense reports you process is error-free?

  • Startling statement: Opening with a strong point of view can be effective at getting your audience to sit up and pay attention. Example: “You may be losing half a million dollars or more a year by not being able to take advantage of early supplier payment discounts.”

  • Fascinating fact: An interesting fact that is relevant to your topic can incite curiosity and conversation. Example: The fastest growing segment of the population is those individuals 80 and older.

  • Story: A short relevant story is a unique and powerful way to open a presentation. Example: “My recent zip line experience reminded me of the business challenge we’re here to discuss. Here’s why…”

  • Prop: An object can give your message a powerful visual impact. Examples include flipchart, whiteboard, book, phone, key.

  • Insight: Sharing something valuable about your prospect’s industry or company can enhance your credibility and greatly improve attention. Example: “We discovered that your accounting personnel typically touch a document four times before it gets processed in your current system.”

  • Video: A short on-point video is a sure way to gain attention and set the tone for your presentation. Example: A company selling security technology uses a quick montage of news clips on personal information leakage.

Making Sure You Have the Right Tools for Your Sales Presentation: Your Performance Tool Checklist

Your sales tools aren’t limited to your PowerPoint slides and projector. Used effectively, your voice, body, and movement can bring your presentation’s message to life and add impact. Follow the guidelines here to make sure that you’re using your voice, body, and movement to their highest potential.


____ Volume

____ Cadence

____ Emphasis

____ Clarity

____ Use of pauses

____ Variety

____ No filler words


____ Gestures

____ Open body language

____ Eye contact

____ Facial expressions

____ Confident stance

____ Relaxed body

____ Authentic

____ Congruent to message


____ Tied to purpose

____ Tempo

____ Sit or stand

____ Appropriate for room size

____ Set props

Designing Your Slides for Your Sales Presentations

The best slides tell a story, but that story can get miscommunicated or lost on your prospect if your presentation slide is unclear or difficult to read. Subject each slide in your deck to these guidelines to make sure that you’re using your valuable real estate wisely.

  • Keep one message per slide.

  • No more than six lines of text.

  • Choose images that create an emotional connection.

  • Create simple graphs for statistics.

  • Keep to a consistent color palette.

  • Avoid tired templates and create your own look.

  • Limit animated transitions and builds.

  • Use contrast colors in background.

  • Use dark type on a light background.

  • Feature 18-point type so text is easy to read at a distance.

  • Load up the white space.

About This Article

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About the book author:

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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