Avoid these common sales presentation mistakes

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by Rosalie Berg

A sales presentation can make or break your business. You can spend days or weeks preparing for a sales pitch, but if it’s done incorrectly, it will fall on deaf ears. Here are five mistakes to avoid making at all costs:

1. Quickly dive into your speech

This might be one of the worst standard practices in business: salespeople start their meeting with introductions, proceed with a company overview and then dive into their sales pitch. By doing so, they’ve missed a huge opportunity to get to know the prospect. Instead, it’s best to start with an open discussion, and end with a presentation — not the other way around.

The focus of a sales meeting should be on getting to know the prospect, their challenges and their goals. Only after asking a lot of questions and understanding the prospect should a salesperson talk about what they are selling.

2. Make a lackluster first impression

It seems like most companies expect their salespeople to be talented writers and artists, too. These poor salespeople go to see prospects armed with decks that are dull and unimpressive. From there, it’s an uphill battle to win over the prospect. Why skimp on this very important detail? A great artist can create a killer presentation deck sure to wow every prospect you face. In fact, of all the marketing materials we create or edit, few are as critical as the sales deck.

3. Focus on canned features and benefits

Most salespeople think that talking about how great their company, product or service is will help them sell. But it won’t. Prospects don’t buy products or services. They invest in answers to their problems. If you can show them how your product solves their challenges better than anyone else, you’ll have a sale.

4. Give lengthy slide presentations

Some confuse Power Point slides with brochures. This is not the place for a dissertation. Today’s business executives are far too busy for long presentations. They want to get the key reasons why they should be interested and how much it will cost them.

5. Talk, talk, talk

Yes, this is a presentation, but it need not be a monologue. Ask your prospect questions and get their commentary during your presentation. Not only will it show your prospects you take interest in their thoughts, but it will help you tailor the presentation to their needs and keep them engaged.

Above all, don’t underestimate the huge importance of a sharp looking sales deck. Work with a talented writer and artist to help you create it. Once you’ve nailed it, you’ll be able to customize it and impress prospects for months ahead.

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