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How to Sell Convincing Ideas in a Sales Presentation

Every successful business strategy begins with a great proposal sold through a convincing PowerPoint. While simple slide designs and engaging presentation styles are crucial factors for success, effective proposals have a solid and well-researched idea at their core.

Listed below are the steps to creating the meat of your sales presentation. Through this, you can also determine if it’s a feasible solution for your client’s needs.

Not only does this show that you did your homework, it also gives your audience a detailed plan worth investing in. To maximize the advantages of an idea-driven proposal, there are four elements to keep in mind:

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Your Competition

Every client always has a problem that needs solving, but you aren’t the only one pitching for their business contract. You’ll always have competition—each with their own unique solutions.

The first step to making a powerful proposal is to find out not just the problem, but also its cause.

Look into your client’s business situation and standing as well as what their competition is doing (Sullivan, 2008).

When an advertisement for XO Beer ran in the Singapore Press Holdings newspapers, it became notorious for its fallen beer bottle image.

Such an image was previously unheard of for a beer ad, but it raised a considerable amount of demand for the brand at the time (Aitchison, 2004). Anything that the competitor overlooks can be your advantage.

The Client’s Customer Base

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and profits are determined by how loyal they are to its brands. What makes customer behavior and feedback so important is that they determine the course of action your proposal must take.

One ad agency needed to run a campaign to promote Castlemaine XXXX Beer to the British.

They capitalized on the fact that Australians really loved this brand, along with the idea that they swear a lot.

That insight led to several successful ads with the tagline “Australians wouldn’t give a XXXX for anything else” (Aitchison, 2004).

Ask for information on how the client’s customers come into contact with their brand (Iacobucci & Calder, 2003). Good questions to start with are:

“What aspects of your brand do your customers like?”
“Which parts give negative impressions?”
“Which parts do you think we can improve on?”

Whatever you propose, be it a marketing campaign or a new business model, it will ultimately affect your client’s brand and customers. This makes it crucial to know what these consumers think about your client.

Your Solution in a Nutshell

By now, you’ve probably figured out your competition’s weakness and seen how your client’s customer base behave toward its brand. It’s time to figure out your solution.

The first two elements let you identify your competition’s weakness, as well as what your target market would want.

Information gained from these alone can give you an advantage. You offer what others don’t, and your solution becomes relevant to the ultimate benefactors: your client’s customers and employees.

Simplify it so you don’t use a PowerPoint overloaded with complex information (Gallo, 2010).

No matter how effective your idea sounds, it needs to be shown in a simple and easy-to-understand presentation.

What Do Your Clients Get Out of It?

Clients will always ask two things: how their money will be spent and how much the estimated earnings will be.

This is enough incentive to emphasize your proposal’s benefits. If what you present to them will allow more savings, more earnings, or more efficient business, highlight this in your content (Gallo, 2010).

What matters is what your client will get out of spending money on your offering. The only thing better than a great solution is a solution with tangible results.

The pitch that wins the client’s contract is made with a compelling idea, one that shows them that you’ve done your homework. Everything boils down to how well you research on these four areas.

Once you do, your idea becomes more effective and convincing, especially when matched with a professionally made PowerPoint.

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Aitchison, J. “Cutting-edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century.” Singapore; New York: Prentice Hall, 2004.
Fine-tuning Your Presentation’s Core Message.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 11, 2014. Accessed May 7, 2015.
Gallo, C. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in front of any Audience. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.
Iacobucci, D. & Calder, B., J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management & Medill School of Journalism. Kellogg on Integrated Marketing. N.J: Wiley, 2003.
Sullivan, L. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
XO Beer Ad SamplesNeil French Site. Accessed May 7, 2015.

5 Presentation Tips to Ace Your Proposals

To see an idea come to life, you need to get other people on board. Whether you’re looking to start a new business venture, working on a new project for your company, or recommending a new policy you believe in, you can’t expect to do everything on your own.

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Eventually, you’ll need support from others to get the ball rolling. That could be in the form of funding or approval from your senior executives. Whatever the case, a great idea doesn’t come to life after you’ve figured out the details. That’s just the first step. To get the support you need, you have to present and ace your proposal.

This task may sound easy enough, especially after the amount of time you’ve spent perfecting your proposal. A great idea should attract the support it needs, right? Not if you can’t communicate your vision properly.

Present your idea with amazing clarity through these presentation tips:

Get straight to the point

The people you look to for support will often have busy schedules. When you get the opportunity to present your proposal, you’ll have limited time to do it. If you want to make the most of the time you have, you can’t waste a single second discussing things that aren’t particularly important to the big picture.

Your goal is to introduce your new idea and talk about its value and merits. Don’t waste time going into inconsequential stories about the whole process. As with any presentation, it’s important to get straight to the point and focus on the most important parts of your discussion.

Follow a specific agenda

To avoid going off on a tangent, you should present your proposal by following a clear-cut structure. As John Hall of HubSpot’s Agency Post writes, the best way to do that is by following a specific agenda. He suggests covering several major points in your presentation, especially if you’re conversing with clients.

Start your presentation by giving a brief introduction. What is the context behind your proposal? What are the challenges you’re hoping to address? Once you’ve set up the scene, talk about the benefits that your proposal will bring.

How can your idea solve the challenges you just detailed? Make sure you provide a clear picture by sharing data and specific examples. After that, you can begin delving into the details of your proposal.

What is your specific plan? If you’re pitching to prospects, you can also share some quick details about your company. For other situations, you can skip to closing your presentation by reviewing the main points of your proposal.

Focus on sharing a story

Through all these steps, it’s easy to get lost in discussing particular things like budget constraints and market predictions. While these details are important to show the validity of your proposal, don’t forget the vision that’s behind everything else.

What is your idea really about? Don’t let the audience lose sight of the underlying principle. Behind every piece of information you have to share is a story. Don’t forget to focus on that story and use your information as supporting details.

Here are a few more tips to help you focus on the story behind your proposal.

Use data wisely

Creating a proposal that’s supported with hard facts and data will definitely add to your credibility. However, you need to use the numbers you have wisely. You can’t just dump all of your data into your PowerPoint presentation.

To use data properly, you need to carefully curate which information is most crucial to your main points. Review the numbers you’ve gathered and try to simplify them as best you can.

Remember, your proposal is mainly about an idea that tells a story. Like everything else in your presentation, the data you share should contribute to moving that narrative forward. You can take a look at our previous blog post to learn more about  presenting data correctly.

Encourage questions and discussions

Communication is a two-way street, so don’t be afraid to ask the audience for questions or comments. Most people think that receiving questions is a sign of a negative outcome, but that’s hardly the case. When the audience opens up to you with their insight, it simply means they’re willing to engage with your ideas. Acknowledge their comments and thank them for their suggestions. Answer their questions as best as you can and avoid feeling like you have to be defensive. If you encounter something you can’t really answer, tell them you’ll follow-up with through an email. Don’t be afraid to turn your presentation into a fruitful discussion. Open communication will only benefit your upcoming project in the long run.

You can’t see your proposal turn into reality without the support of other individuals. Before you get to that point, you need to communicate your vision in a manner that’s clear and concise. Get the ball rolling and see your idea to the end by following these presentation tips.

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Featured Image: Basheer Tome via Flickr