Why Sales Presentations Turn Into Failures of Epic Proportions

After countless cold calls and follow-ups, you’re finally given an opportunity to visit a prospect and do a sales presentation in person.

But as luck would have it, you flubbed and the presentation was unsuccessful. When sales presentations fail, it’s likely that the presenter committed one of these mistakes:

Sharing too much information

Why it’s a mistake: We now live in a society where almost everyone is compelled to share what’s on their mind (through tweets and status updates). In spite of that, it still pays to show some restraint. When doing a presentation, sales people tend to share so much information in hopes of creating rapport with the audience.

That’s a valid point, sure. Prospective customers, however, are more interested in learning about the benefit of using your product than its history or the materials used to assemble it. This means that your solution slide should clearly how you intend to solve your market’s particular problem.

What you should do: List three value propositions that appeal to your prospects and relevant to your solution. Emphasize the unique value of your solution.

From your slides, your audience should be able to understand that your company alone can deliver the best (perhaps, only) solution. Remember to use simple texts and visual examples.

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Failing to set yourself apart from the competition

Why it’s a mistake: Choosing between brands can be hard. If you fail to differentiate yourself from your competitors, you are missing the opportunity to make things easier for your prospects. The goal of your presentation is to make people decide in your favor – not to confuse them even further.

What you should do: Design a slide that summarizes the things that you do better than your rivals. Point out the problems that only you can solve. You may support your claim by using testimonials that focus on how your solution works.

Using the wrong point of view

Why it’s a mistake: By WRONG point of view, we mean YOURS. Don’t make the presentation all about you or your business. No matter how long you’ve been in business or how many office locations you have around the world, the only thing that your prospects have in mind is, “What’s in it for ME?

What you should do: Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Present from their point of view by being aware of their needs and wants.

This would involve doing a bit of research about their background and interests, which, we assume, you’ve already done during the planning stage.

Making a sales presentation can be very challenging. Not a few stories have been told about presentation disasters and dejected presenters. Mistakes could happen, but this doesn’t mean they are impossible to overcome. Knowing these mistakes is half the battle.

 

Reference

Conducting Market Research.” Entrepreneur. 2010. Accessed June 02, 2014.

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