5 easy steps to better sales presentations


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It sounds counterintuitive, but many sales people do not plan or prepare for their sales presentations. Sales people spend so much time on lead generation calls, qualifying sales leads, and appointment setting that often, by the time they get around to meeting with a prospective client, their actual sales presentation is an afterthought.

This is a big mistake. Sales people can’t assume that the sales presentation will take care of itself, or that they can “think on their feet” and talk off the top of their heads. If you spend hours making dozens of lead generation calls and building relationships with clients and narrowing down your sales funnel, then you need to invest at least that much time in preparing for your sales presentations.

Here are 5 easy steps to creating more effective sales presentations:

1. Write it down: Put your entire sales presentation in writing. Write like you talk. Keep it short and simple, but make sure to include as much specific detail as necessary. Imagine that you’re having a conversation with a client right across the table from you – what would you say? Which key points do you most want to emphasize? What are the biggest benefits to the customer of choosing your solution or product or service?

2. Create an outline: In addition to the full scripted sales presentation, write a shorter outline to serve as a guide. This outline can be used to help you prepare and memorize the script, and it can also be used as a “leave-behind” document to give the prospect something to keep as a record of your conversation.

3. Think of questions and objections: As part of writing your scripted presentation, give some thought to what the client might say in response at each stage of the script. Pretend you’re writing a dialogue or a movie scene with you and the client each acting out your roles. What questions or objections have you heard from other clients in the past? What are the biggest sticking points or aspects of your solution that people struggle to understand? How can you help clarify any misunderstandings?

4. Practice, practice, practice: Prepare for your sales presentation by reciting the entire script, out loud. Deliver the presentation to at least two other colleagues on the sales team and ask them to tell you what they think. Practice by doing some role playing, where one person plays the part of the customer – this creates a more realistic sense of back-and-forth, asking questions and raising objections. Record yourself delivering the presentation – either in audio format or better yet, in video format so you can see your body language and delivery. One of the best ways to get better as a presenter is to watch yourself speak.

5. Get ready for the room: Make sure you’re familiar with the environment that you’ll be in, whether you’re going to be delivering your sales presentation to a small audience, a conference room or an auditorium, and prepare your materials accordingly. Bring enough printed documents and business cards to hand out to everyone in the room. Make sure your slideshow works. Arrive early to set up. Be prepared to adjust the seating arrangement or layout of the room to suit your needs and “make the room your own.”

Many sales people wrongly have the notion that if they prepare a sales presentation, they will sound “too scripted.” The truth is, nothing is more natural-sounding than a well-prepared sales presentation. If you have a clear idea of how you want the presentation to go, what you want to say, and how to respond to questions and objections along the way, you will sound more professional and credible than a sales person who stumbles along, improvising through an unstructured presentation.

You owe it to yourself and your customers to prepare a solid sales presentation. Once you have a standard sales presentation in writing, you can adjust it to suit the specific details and needs of each customer on your appointment list.

Al Davidson
Al Davidson is the founder of Strategic Sales & Marketing, a "leading light" among lead generation companies, delivering B2B lead generation and b2b appointment setting services for clients ranging from local small businesses to the Fortune 100. Since 1989, the company's sales agents have generated over 7 million sales leads, and created millions of dollars for clients.


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