Putting Together a Persuasive Presentation in 10 Steps

By Julie M. Hansen

Here are the steps you can follow to create a persuasive sales presentation using the situation, complication, resolution structure. The ten steps are as follows:

  1. Plan your introduction.

    A succinct preplanned introduction that establishes credibility and jump-starts your presentation is much different than the rambling streams of self-consciousness your prospect may be accustomed to hearing from salespeople.

  2. Start with a hook.

    Just because your prospect is looking at you is no guarantee you have her full attention. You need to have a hook — a device, such as a quote, a story, or an insight — to engage your audience and create interest in your presentation. For example, “Every two days we create as much information as we have since the dawn of time. In your business that means …”

  3. Define the situation.

    Quickly summarize where your prospect is at in regards to her problem or challenge and where you can take her. For example, “You’re currently experiencing a high turnover that’s affecting your bottom line and limiting your ability to expand and reach your goals … “

  4. Introduce value.

    Value should make an appearance early on in your presentation, especially if you have executives in the room. For example, “We’re going to talk about how to reduce turnover by as much as 50 percent based on what we were able to achieve with a similar customer … “

  5. Provide an agenda.

     Now that you’ve told your prospect what your destination is, lay out for them how you’re going to get there with three to five agenda items focused on challenges and areas you can address. For example, “Today we’re going to look at these three areas within your organization … “

  6. Identify each challenge, impact, and benefit.

    As you go through the body of your presentation, explore each challenge, the impact of not resolving the challenge (or, if it’s a “why buy us?” question, the impact of choosing another vendor), and the benefit you provide by solving each challenge.

  7. Summarize your journey.

    If it’s been more than 45 minutes, you’ve covered a lot of material. As you move into your closing, take a moment to quickly recap the journey and highlight the benefits to reinforce them. For example, “We set out today to show you how we can help you lower your response times and increase your closing ratios in order to stay on track for hitting your goal of 25 million in global sales this year.”

  8. Bookend back to opening.

    Call back to your opening hook by reminding your prospect of the story, quote, or insight you used earlier. For example, “We talked about how the invention of instrument flying opened up vast new opportunities for the airline industry by allowing planes to fly in all kinds of weather and circumstances, and how we can help you seize new opportunities by navigating the circumstances that are keeping you grounded today.”

  9. Closing value statement and give your prospect one thing you want them to remember.

    Reinforce your value proposition that you introduced in the opening and tell your prospect what one central idea you want him to take away from your presentation.

    For example, “Based on what we’ve shown you, we’re confident we can provide your sales team with the mobile responsiveness and the intuitive tools they need to respond to leads 50 percent faster and improve your closing ratio by 15 percent.

  10. Make a call to action.

    You’ve delivered a compelling case, and your audience is smiling, so don’t let the moment pass without asking for a clear, specific, and verifiable action. A call to action is a clear and specific statement of what you want your prospect to do after your presentation. For example, “I suggest we schedule a deep dive with our support team within the next 30 days. How does that sound?”