Improve your PowerPoint sales presentations

The most effective sales presentations are in my experience achieved using an “on-the-fly” approach, such as with a flip chart.  This is because you are demonstrating personal knowledge and belief to your audience, which in turn builds credibility and trust.  However, there are limits to this approach, such as audience size, and there are times when only a slide show will do.

It amazes me how often I continue to see poor PowerPoint et al slide shows.  When this is a sales presentation to a prospective customer, it can break an opportunity.  Let me give you my tips on some basic but important elements that have proved to be successful for me.

Firstly, choice of colour.  A medium to darker blue background is considered to be the most effective and gives you confidence.  Text should be white for contrast; I often use yellow for headings to reinforce.  I still see dreadful colour combinations, the worst being red on green (the most common form of colour blindness).  Actually no, the worst was at a presentation to my son and his peers given by a premier US college on why to apply to them – all website reference links were yellow on white and unreadable!

Reduce the number of words on your slides.  OK, for training or technical presentations, word-packed slides are necessary.  But for a sales presentation, you need brief bullet points with the key sales message for each and then talk to your audience around each bullet message.  This stops any reading off the slide (face the audience as much as possible) and establishes your sincerity.  This aspect is often a big difference between successful salespeople and more technical staff who tend to like having all the words on their slides to then repeat at their presentation.  It also helps the impact if you plan to leave a printed copy of the slides with the prospect.

Make sure you have an agenda slide at the beginning and a summary slide at the end (again, I’m astonished how often this isn’t done).  This is to follow the well-known presenter’s rule of “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em, Tell ‘em, Tell ‘em what you told ‘em).  Your audience will remember more of your content.

Finally, you must practice giving the presentation.  This is especially true for a sales presentation, where you are more reliant on your skills and memory to develop your sales bullet points.  Say it out loud, ideally to an in-house audience.  I guarantee that it will be better the next time you present it.

The presentation content is down to you.  Except that I’ve got some insights on how to make your corporate presentation stand out from the crowd – coming next!

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