By Dave Paradi and Richard Peterson
When is the last time you actually saw one of your sales professionals deliver a presentation to a client?
Would you do business with your own company after that presentation?
We have had sales management executives in shock after seeing their firm’s presentation.
It is not uncommon for a sales Vice-President to scratch their head and wonder why the client continues to do business with their firm. If your sales presentation is anything like the ones we see regularly, you wouldn’t do business with your own company either.
In our experience, too many sales presentations suffer from the following three key problems:
Reading each slide – The sales professional has a set of slides, either projected or printed out, and instead of using them as visual support or a leave behind, they read the slides word for word.
The client or prospect is thinking, “Doesn’t this person think I can read? Why are they wasting my time when I could have read it myself!” Slides are not a transcript, but too often they are used that way.
Horrible looking slides – Every presentation must be customized today – the era of the standard sales presentation is long gone. So why do so many slides look terrible, with different colors, fonts and graphics that make no sense? Because the sales professional has never been trained on how to create slides that look good and complement the message.
Poor presentation skills – We send sales professionals out to present without giving them superior skills to do so. They end up doing the best they can, but how much money is being left on the table when poor presentation skills leave a client or prospect confused instead of convinced?
One solution that firms use is to create a standard sales presentation and require sales professionals to use those slides. Think your presentations are standard just because you send them a set of corporate slides? Wrong. Within five minutes of the corporate slides being sent out, sales professionals start customizing to meet the needs of their customers.
But too many times the sales professionals spend hours working on the slides because they don’t have the skills to quickly make the necessary changes and the presentation looks much worse than it should. A better approach is to give sales professionals an easier set of standard slides to work with where the key areas are locked down from changes and the areas of customization are clear.
Then train the sales professionals on how to quickly make changes or add a new slide when necessary. The first benefit of this approach is much higher productivity from sales professionals because less time is spent working on slides and more time is spent with customers.
The second benefit is better sales presentations that are customized, but look consistent and in alignment with corporate standards.
If you haven’t seen one of your own company’s sales presentations in the last 60 days, you might want to prepare yourself for a shock
And you might want to start now to solve some of the problems so you can exceed this year’s sales target.
Richard Peterson is Founder and CPO (Chief Presentation Officer) of the Presentation Coaching nstitute.