The best sales presentations are planned weeks in advance, with rehearsals taking several hours.
Presenters refine several factors such as speech tone, body language, hand gestures, demonstrations, and even slide timing.
What’s the overarching secret to getting the most out of your rehearsal?
According to brand communications expert Carmine Gallo, this is a form of training which involves setting specific goals (say, giving a sales pitch in five minutes), asking for feedback, and continuous improvement during your career as a professional presenter.
Using this method of training means being specific down to the last detail.
How powerful will your tone be? What sort of emotions do you need to use for presenting? How long will your speech take per slide?
Gallo presents Steve Jobs as an example because of his meticulousness. Jobs spends several hours practicing the sales pitch’s every aspect, right down to how much lighting to use for showing his products.
Similarly, a skilled presenter notes his pitch’s every detail and how they’ll work during the actual show date. This lets you plan how your deck work, including your speech’s timing, for an effortless sales pitch.
Properly Using Feedback
Do the presentation rehearsal with your team, supervisor or even in front of a mirror.
If you have someone or something to help spot your errors, take note of your mistakes and avoid doing them during the actual pitch.
Note if there were likable things you did (ex. building rapport with the audience, poking good-natured fun at yourself) that you can repeat.
Sales strategist Marc Wayshak suggests that another effective way of getting feedback would be to ask prospects what works for them or what doesn’t. This won’t diminish your credibility. In fact, it will make you seem even more determined to connect with them and understand their needs.
As simple as this sounds, improving yourself can take years. Practice is essential to a sales presentation, especially if you want to sound spontaneous.
Over the course of your career, improve yourself by studying both your performance and your audience’s feedback.
Combined with rigorous deliberative practice, you’ll eventually define and improve your mix of personal presentation techniques, letting you sell better than you ever could before.
The Bottom Line
Practice everything, down to the tiniest detail. If you’re as passionate about giving a presentation as Steve Jobs and the top TED speakers are, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Learn from your mistakes and strengths to reach your fullest potential as a presenter.
Once you’ve honed your skills, work with a presentation design specialist to give you the right selling tools!
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Gallo, C. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.
“Plan Ahead to Avoid PowerPointless Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 27, 2015. Accessed June 19, 2015.
Wayshak, Marc. “5 Tips to Giving the Perfect Sales Presentation.” Salesforce Blog. January 23, 2014. Accessed June 19, 2015.