What are You Selling?

The three most common difficulties people have in creating and delivering high-converting sales presentations are:

  1. Identifying their true sales messages
  2.  Structuring them appropriately in a presentation
  3.  Delivering a convincing performance

Of these three points of failure, the one that receives least attention is the first: identifying what’s being sold. For example, does a car manufacturer sell its customers (a) cars, or (b) a convenient, affordable means of getting to work? Until you’ve decided how you’re going to express what it is that you sell, you can’t really create a presentation that sells it. This is why some sales presentations can appear to be a hazy, confused mess.

Most business presenters say too much. They over-deliver on the detail of their content which gets in the way of the message they want to convey. The principle reason for this over-delivery is that the presenter isn’t clear on the message that he or she wants to deliver in the first place – and so they ‘spray and pray’ in the hope that some of it sticks. It won’t.

When it comes to settling on a way of expressing what it is that you do, it’s always good to express it in terms of what it is that your client actually gets from you. How they will benefit, in other words.

Now, all good sales people are familiar with the issue of selling ‘features’ not ‘benefits’. However, which one of these should be on your slides is altogether another question. There’s good logic for having the slides focus on features, as this gives the presenter the valuable role of converting those features into benefits for the client – a wonderful opportunity for the presenter to demonstrate his or her understanding of the client’s business. 

This logic allows the presenter to add value to their slides, a key aspect of successful integrated performances. Regurgitating in speech the same points (usually bullet points) that appear on screen is of little purpose, use or value to anyone. However, if you - the presenter - can be the vehicle through which the slides make sense, each individual element of your sales presentation becomes purposeful, useful and valuable.

You should focus on developing 3-5 reasons as to why the client should do business with you. Fewer than three and you risk losing the business case should the client raise valid objections to one or two of your reasons. More than five and the chances are that the client won’t remember them. After that, you can focus on structuring an effective sale presentation and delivering a convincing performance. These final two stages are made a lot easier if you dedicate sufficient time to the first.

Click here to read more about presentation theory

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