The Four C’s of Winning Sales Presentations
Sales leaders know that the ability of the sales team to deliver value at every point of contact with buyers is critical to winning business. Buyers today are more impatient, demanding, and well-informed than ever before, and they have little time for sellers who cannot help them develop or improve visions of solutions for their problems.
It makes little difference whether a seller connects with buyers in person, over the telephone, or through the web – in every contact, each buyer is critically evaluating both the seller and the potential solutions they are offering. As a result, the ability to prepare and present a compelling presentation, whether face-to-face or virtually, is still vitally important to the success of any sales professional.
And yet, we see far too many sellers fail to prepare adequately, and as a result, their delivery of presentations is lackluster, at best. This is a shame since the elements of a good sales presentation are not difficult to master, once they are fully understood and practiced.
The four elements of any winning sales presentation are:
- Capture the attention of the audience.
- Connect with the audience by describing the purpose and value of the presentation.
- Provide the right Content that enables the audience to develop a clear vision of a solution to their problem.
- Conclude by summarizing and issuing a strong call to action.
Capturing an audience’s attention gets a sales presentation on the right foot – and this often means doing something creative and unexpected. Some possible ways that sellers can lead with a compelling opening include:
- Make a bold statement that is a provocative point of view
- Ask a question that helps the audience see a problem in a new way
- Use a quotation that pertains to the problem or solution vision
- Make a prediction relevant to the presentation content
- Tell a story that illustrates a similar problem situation
- Use a visual aid or prop to highlight a key point in the presentation
- Use improvisation to redirect or reinforce an audience perspective
Humor can help make a presentation more fun, certainly, but it can also backfire terribly. Leading with a joke is not always the best idea, especially if it has little to do with the presentation content. Sharing a laugh is not the same as capturing an audience’s attention.
After capturing the audience’s attention, good presenters then briefly explain the goal and structure of the presentation – why they are there, and the intended results. In this way, a presenter can earn the audience’s buy-in, and demonstrate their own credibility.
We have found that most sellers who struggle with presentations do so because they have not completed the preparatory thinking required to develop adequate content. The main part of the presentation should focus on painting a clear picture of a solution, and showing how it solves a customer problem. Sellers who do their homework first then can create this content more easily. If they do not prepare, then they tend to rely on bland product-focused messages, instead of turning the content to the specific needs of the audience, which has a much greater impact.
Every presentation should conclude with a strong call to action – a clear summary, a plan of next steps, and a recap of the initial, provocative capture statement.
There is no shortage of helpful tips and recommended techniques for presentations. But if sellers keep the four Cs in mind, and take the time to think through each of them in advance, they will do a consistently better job at differentiating both themselves and their recommended solutions to buyers – and thereby win more business.