Nice work, you’ve found leads, and now it’s time for your closing team to convert these prospects into sales. One of the most effective ways to close a lead is through an effective sales presentation—salespeople who perfect this craft will experience success time and again.
Take a look at these five useful tips that your sales team can use to improve sales presentations and successfully seal the deal.
1. Know who you are presenting to
A big issue for closing a sale can sometimes be as simple as not knowing your prospect and their needs. It’s very hard to close a sale when your sales team doesn't know who they are dealing with! Did you know that 42% of sales reps feel they do not have the right info before making a sale (Lattice Engine)? That’s an intimidating number.
- Make sure that your sales team has everything they need to know and are well educated on your client's background before presenting to them. Harvey Mackay developed the “Mackay 66,” involving 66 questions that help salespeople get to know the customer. Check it out to see if you know your prospects this well. Of course, having all this information is ideal and also highly unlikely. It will give you ideas of some probing questions you can ask leads.
- Most importantly, make sure it’s the RIGHT information. Nothing is more offensive to an interested prospect than having their information mixed up.
- Check out this short video on prospect research from Salesforce employee Jeff Ragovin. He says the most important thing on a prospect call is knowing who the prospect is—is what you’re selling a real solution for them? You don’t want to be pushing product; you want to offer a solution.
Knowing your clients can mean as little as doing some brief research on the business or person you are prospecting. A few minutes of research can go a long way towards establishing good rapport with that prospect, and the better relationship you build, the better chance you have to make a sale.
2. Use Visuals
Sales presentations often include way too much textual content and far too few visuals. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text (3M Corporation and Zabisco), bringing to mind that old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.
- Simple visuals will be remembered. In order to close a sale, your presentation must have an effective message, not one that will soon be forgotten. Use simple visuals like infographics to aid in quick comprehension.
- Canva has an awesome tool to help create infographics easily, and free. This tool is even friendly for those without an eye in design!
- Infographics are getting more and more popular. They’re easy to look at and the brain scans them faster than blocks of text. Marketing technology wrote a page on why infographics are so popular, and fittingly, they present their content in the form of an infographic. Although the article is a few years old, it still rings true.
Visuals break up the textual content that can be exhausting for a prospect to read and retain. Graphics provide an appealing representation of data, and usually grab the attention of a prospect. If you only have a short amount of time with a lead, which is very likely, make sure that you are effectively communicating your sales message with captivating visuals.
3. Don’t overwhelm with statistics, stick to success stories
Your prospect isn’t going to remember the precise percentages of growth for your company, but they might remember a success story. After a presentation, 63% of attendees remember stories, and only 5% of attendees will remember stats. (Source: Authors Chip and Dan Heath)
- Instead of providing stats about the success of your product, share a story about how one of your products worked successfully for a client. Stories give us an emotional connection, and may provide the prospect with a situation that parallels their own.
- Author Casey Hibbard published the book Stories that sell, which includes how success-story marketing has become one of the leading sales strategies, and how to do it. You likely don’t need a guide though—think of stories that are compelling to you and your organization. Practice telling the story and getting the right details and emotions into play.
Statistics are useful, but in the right context. When presenting, make sure you aren’t providing an overwhelming amount of statistics and data—they are easily forgotten.
4. Engage the prospect in conversation
When you have the opportunity to present to a prospect, do not simply push all your information forward quickly and stop to ask for questions at the end. A sales presentation should be like a friendly conversation. Your goal is to make a sale, but you have to establish a bit of a relationship or friendship with your prospect in order to gather their trust. Sales is more about building relationships than refining a cold process.
- It’s important to go slow, allowing your client to keep up and ask questions along the way. Of course on the flip side, don’t drag your feet: everyone has somewhere to be. Be mindful of their time while not rushing and allowing them the space they need to get the information important to them.
- Clients who are engaged throughout a presentation show a sense of interest in the sale, and promoting engagement throughout the presentation can increase interest. Breaking to ask qualifying questions about the prospect or their business, asking their opinion or imploring how their organization takes on a certain task are all good ways to keep your prospect engaged.
- Rain Sales Training offers a short piece on leading highly effective sales conversations that offers a few more tips.
Let your client do as much talking as they would like to express their needs. Sales presentations that are one-sided and dominated by the salesperson simply don’t work! It is a two-way street to sales success.
5. End with a BANG!
Hopefully you didn’t have your prospect bored throughout the presentation, but if you did, that doesn’t mean you’ve lost the sale (necessarily). There is no doubt that the conclusion of a presentation must be effective, but more specifically, the last five minutes you have of a prospect’s time can be the most valuable three hundred seconds of the lengthy sales process.
- End with a memorable bang, and be sure to have a positive impact on your prospect’s sales decision. This way they will have a quick recap and hopefully feel intrigued to do business with your company as you have already established a good relationship.
- Five minutes is short, but it can be the most important part of the presentation. These five minutes are where sales are either made or prospects are lost. End your sales presentation with something that is sure to have an impact on your prospect, whether you can make them laugh, think or be shocked.
- Garrett Hollander of SalesStaff writes a great post on making the last five minutes of a B2B sales presentation memorable that is a beneficial read for your next sales presentation.
You have invested so much time already with the prospect getting them into the sales presentation, it’s time to make sure that it was not all for waste. Use the final five minutes of your sales presentations to make a lasting impression.
It’s time for better sales presentations!
Of course every sales team would want endless amounts of qualified leads, but what happens when you aren’t able to close the sale with any of these leads? Sometimes companies invest a lot of time and effort into closing the deal with interested leads, but they can’t convert the sale. In fact, the average salesperson prospects for 6.25 hours just to set up an appointment (Ovation Sales Group).
If these prospects are not converted into sales, then those appointments or sales presentations may end up being wasted time for your company. This can be frustrating for the salesperson, but ultimately frustrating for the company, who is investing their money into their sales team. No company can afford to throw away deals that should have been closed.
So let’s face it, no sales team is going to win all the time. Closing sales can sometimes be like going on a blind date: you think they are a qualified lead, but you meet with them—during a sales presentation—and figure out that you are completely incompatible. There is no formula that exists to guarantee your sales team 100% conversion on closing deals, but there are ways to dramatically increase conversion rates for a sales team with poor sales presentation skills.
With these five simple tips, your sales team could be on their way to putting together a more effective sales presentation. There cannot be enough stress on the importance of closing sales, obviously. Some companies take the small victories and are happy to say “Oh well, at least we got the presentation,” but these aren’t the sales teams that are successful. Companies should be saying “Why didn’t we close the deal? What can we do better? How can we change our presentation to convert the sale?” instead of being content with a lost prospect.
Lost productivity and poorly managed leads cost companies at least $1 trillion every year ( CMO Council). Don’t be one of the companies losing tons of money every year by mismanaging leads and poorly presenting to prospects. Booking presentations is very important for sales teams, but converting these presentations is what a company ultimately wants the most. Stop losing money by wasting time with poor presentations, use these tips and put together an effective sales presentation to close more sales!