Little things can hurt sales presentations. Here are 7 common mistakes if you are aware of them beforehand are easy to correct.
Sin #1 – Show an organization chart and tell the history of your department. Out of some misguided sense of direction, some salespeople feel compelled to show you, as the very first thing, an organizational chart of their department and where it fits into the grand scheme of things back at headquarters.
The irony is that they think they’re giving a good presentation and telling you just what you want to know. In fact, the people most interested in an organization chart are the people on the organization chart. And the only people who are interested in the history of a department are the people in the department.
Sin #2 – Do not explain the reason your “subject” has value to the audience. What may be obvious to you may not be obvious to your audience. People need a strong reason to listen and need to be told these reasons early on. Tell them why they should listen. What will they personally gain from listening.
Sin #3 – Use a presentation designed for one audience for an audience of ten or more.
Each presentation needs to be rethought as to how it applies to the new audience. Saying things that don’t apply to the new audience can greatly affect your credibility and lose the opportunity to show your sensitivity to their needs.
Sin #4 – Tell the audience more than they want to know. This sin is worse than just boring an audience – it is self-defeating. Look at it this way. You have heard 100s of presentations. Have you ever sat through a presentation and at the end of it heard someone say, “It was a great presentation, but it was too short.” No, people are more likely to say that it was terrible and too long.
Sin #5 – Turn the lights out and show slides or transparencies while reading a script. Dark rooms and barely seen speakers diminish a presenter’s effectiveness.
Sin #6 – Read verbatim every word on every visual. If your entire presentation consists of nothing but reading verbatim every word on every visual, then the audience can with good reason say, “I don’t have to come to your meeting. Just mail me a copy of the handout. I can read”.
Sin #7 – Do not rehearse – play it by ear. If you want to stumble, fumble, and sing off key, this is a sure way to do it. Presenting is easy to learn but hard to do. And that means rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
The most important part of a presentation is the close, where you either accomplish your objective or you don’t. Do they believe? Do they agree? Will they commit? Will they act? Will they order? The answers to these questions tell you how well you accomplished your objective. The objective is a statement at the beginning – the audience gives you their answer at the end.