3 Tips for an Effective Sales Presentation

A sales presentation is supposed to include a smooth delivery of sales materials, information and a good experience for the audience. Any sales person would know that all presentations are different, all audiences are different and that how the presentation is delivered is one of the big issues in their jobs.

Elements of a sales presentation and possible problems

There are three basic elements in any sales presentation:

  • Materials: These are the slideshows and other media, the information they contain, and their visual content. Some of these materials are provided by external sources like advertising or marketing agencies.
  • Script: Each presentation has a "script", which is a prepared text, often a combination of the salesperson's text and the required materials specified by the employer. Script quality varies from appalling to brilliant, and is often an issue in presentation quality. 
  • Live presentation skills: The individual salesperson's abilities as a live presenter. Most salespeople get coaching from trainers and on the job from senior sales staff. That only goes so far as training. Everybody is different as a live performer, and everyone has different styles of presentation. This creates some complexities in terms of the eventual delivery of sales materials.

1. Materials:

1.  What materials aren't working?

2.  Which are hard to support with your script?

3.  Which are visually low quality?

4.  Which media elements are getting negative reactions from the audience?

It's often necessary to modify presentations to match the client environment. You may be stuck with the basic sales information, but you can remove or revise anything which doesn't fit the presentation. Remove as much as possible of the substandard materials. You can also reduce or synopsize some materials for better time management.

2. Script:

1.  What parts of your script are getting the most questions indicating people didn't understand the presentation?

2.  What information is over complex or difficult and time consuming to deliver?

3.  Which part(s) of your presentation do you think are too wordy, or slow?

4.  Which bits just aren't necessary? 

You must have a script which can be delivered effectively. That means removing the clutter and above all the dysfunctional verbiage. Revise the script which isn't being understood into clear language. For lengthy and complex passages, work on broadcast speed (120 words per minute) as a basic time. This cuts down word counts and drastically improves delivery. The audience benefits from brief, targeted information. 

3. Live presentation skills

1.  What don't you like doing?

2.  What parts of your presentation do you find difficult?

3.  How good are your audience participation episodes?

4.  Are you fluent in your delivery?

For great sales presentation, you need a comfortable personal working style. To develop your skills you need practical training in a range of performance-based skills:

  • Elocution: Important for weak speakers, and building confidence. 
  • Live presentation courses: Invaluable for gaining direct experience. 
  • Audience interaction: An essential skill, learned through public performance like public speaking.
  • Performance arts training: This training teaches the critical element of "stage presence", the ability to command attention.
  • Researching high quality sales presentations and adapting their techniques: Your own style will inevitably be different, but you can learn a lot from watching expert sales people at work.