Are you presenting a product or service to a potential client or an audience of potential clients?
The main point of the presentation is to make the sale, but the focus of the presentation is the audience.
How can you accomplish both in one shot?
We are going to give you a few hints in that area.
Sell, Sell, Sell!
When salesmen have quotas, the customer can become lost in the sauce. Remember door-to-door salesmen? They didn’t have PowerPoint presentations or big event halls with a stage to speak to their prospective clients. They honed a few basic skills that made the sale for them. As a business owner or a manager for a company, knowing the importance of new business as well as the importance of client needs can translate into sales with the right formula.
Being prepared for anything (even big fat Nos) actually makes your job a lot smoother and simpler. Sometimes it isn’t what you know but how you convey what you know to your target audience.
Building Your Presentation around Your Sales Pitch
If you want to make the sale, you need to catch the attention and emotion of the customer from the first word, picture or slide.
- Do your homework
The key to engaging a customer is to know who they are. What do they need that your product can provide? What are their immediate needs? Who else has the potential to meet those needs? It is not inappropriate to ask a potential client or customer some questions that would help you prepare for them. But, you will have to do some digging on your own as well to get what you need.
- Know your product
What aspects of your product’s capabilities speak to the needs of the client or customer? This is how you tailor a presentation to the specific need of the audience. Choose one feature that can solve the issue they are currently having and use that as the topic of your presentation.
- Make the presentation about the customer
When you begin by discussing your company or product, the talk focuses on you. Instead, use words and imagery to show the benefits of the product to customers. It’s all about meeting their needs, not your revenue.
- Tell a story
It goes without saying that it needs to be a relevant story. Relay a time when your product was used by a past customer, and the positive outcomes. Choose a story whose outcomes are also the desires of the current audience. Show empathy towards your audience.
- Listen to the customer
Ask questions and wait for the response. Show that you are listening. Move your presentation in a direction that highlights the need expressed in their responses.
- Don’t forget the call to action
The deal is not sealed until you tell the audience what you want them to do. Some will say yes right away and others will need time. Create a follow-up strategy to keep them interested until they say yes.
On the part of the customer, a good sales pitch will instill confidence in your ability to meet their needs.
How soon does your butt get tired in the seat during a presentation? If you know the answer, then you’ve probably been to some pretty boring talks. If not, then just maybe you’ve encountered a speaker who knows the value of audience participation. We are going to tap into how to get and keep your audience involved in your presentation.
That is what you believe you are watching when you get a speaker who drones on through a presentation. The material may be relevant but not presented in a way that reaches out and grabs you. The presenter may suffer from “cardboard cut-out” syndrome and looks as if he or she is rooted to one spot behind the podium. In any case, the audience is lost, not to return any time soon.
No one wants to be “that person” whose presentations are uninteresting. If you are afraid that this might be you, ask yourself a question: If I were in the audience, what would keep me awake and interested in what was being said? Brainstorm some answers and use those to enhance your presentation.
Presentation Reboot: Going Interactive
It’s time to engage the audience. In fact, the time to involve them is during the planning of your presentation. The audience is your target, your focus and your star. They are here to see you, so you have to be there for them and give them what they want. How can you discover if you are moving in the right direction? Get them to tell you so.
Here are some suggestions for a livelier presentation.
- Ask a question at the beginning of your presentation
If you plan on telling a story or showing a shocking image, ask the audience a question that will set them thinking in advance of your big reveal. Now, their minds are occupied with viewing or listening to you in light of this advance directive.
- Send out a survey
If this is an office presentation, attach a survey to the invitation for participants to fill out and email back to you. Use this info to craft the presentation for them.
- Discussion groups
For smaller business settings where the configuration is round table seating, ask questions and/or give instructions for small group participation. Participants can get to know each other while learning something new from you. Allow time for debrief of information after the entire group comes back together.
- Speak to a participant directly
This method works in smaller groups. Make eye contact and ask a question that anyone can answer easily. Then call on someone to get the ball rolling. Be sure to thank them for their answer before continuing the discussion.
- Use slides
Here we are talking about fill-in-the-blank sentences, partial images and the like where the audience gives their take on what they see.
Audience participation leads to further discussion as a part of your presentation. When the audience feels like they matter, they will take the time to listen.
There is more than one type of presentation that can be given to an audience. The purpose of each might be different, with the main goal being to influence the audience in some way. Below are some tips on how to get it right, as well as a list of some of the common types of presentations you might be asked to participate in throughout your life. Some you may have already tackled.
Getting It Right
Presentations are a way of communicating information to others. The best way to approach these presentations is to plan for them. As soon as you accept the challenge, preparation begins. Regardless of the type of talk, here are a few things to keep in mind.
* Length of time – This dictates how much detail will be included.
* Topic – If you choose your own, make sure that you get information on the target audience. If you are given one, research it thoroughly for important facts to include.
* Outline – Plan what will be included in the presentation so you stay on topic.
* Opening and conclusion – Memorize your opening and conclusion so you don’t miss what you want and need to relay to your audience.
* Audience – Is it your student peers, a prospective client, your students, children or novices? Using appropriate language and examples, for understanding and engagement, is important to a successful presentation.
What Type of Presentation Are You Giving?
- Business – You may be a team leader or first- or mid-level manager conducting a meeting for the staff. The topic could be project updates, new product launches, monthly sales report or another topic critical to your group. These are usually small groups and kept informal.
- Speeches – Maybe you are running for political office or a seat on the school board. Speeches present your ideas and approach to the issues to your potential constituents. Since people have short attention spans, it is important to make them concise and highly relevant.
- Sales presentation – When you are speaking to a prospective client, you get one chance to impress them. Provide what they want and need from the outset to hold and keep their attention.
- Job interview – Some job interviews require a presentation. The key here is understanding the criteria your interviewers are looking for and presenting your qualities in that time frame.
- Lecture – Students are notorious for dozing during class. Keep them engaged in the topic by presenting it on their level with real-time relevancy.
- Conference or seminar presenter – Usually the entire event has a unified theme with your talk being one aspect of it. The audience may even be your peers (such as doctors, lawyers, or business owners). Because they have been to other presentations, it is important to gain their attention and interest from the beginning.
- Debate – Students are presenting their side of an issue to peers and their instructor for judgment. There is an allotted time, a topic and a need to sway the audience to their side.
Crafting a presentation requires the same skills no matter the venue or the audience.