June 24

7 Small Changes that have a Big Impact on Your Presentation


You know your sales presentation could use an overhaul in order to resonate with today’s busy decision-makers, but you have a presentation tomorrow. You simply don’t have the time to make wholesale changes.  Fortunately there are a few small changes you can make quickly that can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your presentation or demo.

7 small changes for maximum impact:

  1. Apply WIFM to your company overview

    I’m not a big fan of company overviews – and neither is your prospect – but if you must include one, avoid delivering a laundry list of irrelevant facts by putting every item to the WIFM Test. For every company factoid, step into your customer’s shoes and ask yourself “What’s in it for me?” Highlight the connection when you deliver it. If there’s no real benefit associated with it, leave it out. You will be left with a stronger, more customer-focused overview and your prospect will thank you.   (TIP: Ready to ditch the company overview? Get tips here.)

  2. Nail your first line

    Nerves are at their peak in those first few minutes and last minute changes can easily throw you off track.  This is one of those very small changes that doesn’t take a huge investment in time but pays off big in many ways. Having your first line down cold will help you start with confidence. Once you get that first line out your preparation will kick in and you’ll be in the flow.

  3. Get to the good stuff fast.

    Movies and television shows know that you need to give your audience a glimpse of what they came to see early on in order to keep them engaged. Use that same mindset in your presentation and give your prospect something they came to see – a benefit, an insight – before they’re tempted to take a commercial break.

  4. Interact early

    Prospect engagement is key for memory recall and receptivity but if you wait too long to involve your audience, the likelihood is your efforts will fall flat. You teach your audience what to expect in those first few minutes of your presentation so set expectations early by using some type of audience interaction – a question, a poll – in the first few minutes of your presentation.

  5. Address the elephant 

    Walking in to a situation where a prospect prefers another vendor or had a previous bad experience with your company? Ignoring potential deal-breaking issues or waiting until the topic is broached is rarely a winning strategy. Acknowledge the elephant early on, through a well-crafted opening story or analogy, or humor (carefully) and then move on.

  6. Sell the next minute

    No matter how fascinating your subject, your prospect’s attention will wane if you don’t give them reasons to stay tuned in. Television news programs do this extremely well with their “coming up after the break…” announcements. You can do this too by creating anticipation-builders – hooks that create interest in upcoming topics.

  7. Rehearse in chunks

    TED speakers rehearse dozens – in some cases hundreds − of hours for an 18 minute talk. You probably don’t have that kind of time and your presentation may be substantially longer than 18 minutes. To look as polished as possible with limited time, do at least 2-3 full run-throughs and then focus any extra time you have on those sections where you really want to drive home a point, like your opening, your value proposition, your stories, and your closing. Making these key elements of your presentation really shine is the best use of your time and will give you greater confidence.


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