Pitch Perfect! How to Make Successful Sales Presentations!

BoringPresentation_WebMake winning sales presentations. Learn the tricks the pros use to get audience agreement and sell a product, solution or idea. Use the latest behavioral psychology and neuromarketing techniques. Use what you learn during this webinar to make a clear, compelling presentation that gets buy-in and improves your success rate. It’s easy—when you know how to do it.

  • Discover the three reasons people buy
  • Improve sales
  • Learn the latest behavioral psychology and neuro-marketing techniques
  • See how to get audience agreement
  • Get the recipe for persuasive presentations

This webinar with sales and presentation guru, Mike Parkinson, is recommended for those who develop or deliver sales presentations and presentations that are meant to persuade the audience to take a desired course of action.

About Mike Parkinson:

Mike2015_bigMike Parkinson is an internationally recognized visual communication and presentation expert, solution and strategy expert, award-winning author, trainer, and popular public speaker. He is a key contributor on multi-billion dollar projects and helps Fortune 500 companies improve their success rates. Mike shares his expertise through books like Billion Dollar Graphics, articles, and online tools. He is also a partner at 24 Hour Company (www.24hrco.com), a premier creative services firm.

9 Ways Salespeople Leave Money on the Table with Virtual Presentations

That quota you’re carrying…does it ever get lighter? I didn’t think so. Read on.

Whether you love or hate web and video conferencing, you’re leaving money on the table if it’s not in the go-to-market arsenal of your business.

To make the most of your time, money, and relationships, avoid these 9 mistakes:

Mistake #1: Abandoning face-to-face meetings

“Present to anyone anywhere, save travel costs” has been the mantra of the conferencing industry for a long time.

It is not that this is not true. It’s just that it would be irresponsible to the sales profession to abandon face-to-face meetings.

Mistake #2: Not using web/video conferencing at all

In a recent session working with a team, one rep piped up with, “But I like to meet people, shake hands, get to know them.” I didn’t even have to reply, because one of his teammates chimed in, “Yeah, but my customers are sometimes saying, ‘Can’t we avoid getting everybody together and just knock this out in a web meeting?”

It is equally irresponsible to avoid web and video conferencing. You actually increase the service you provide when you save your prospects and customers time and money.

Mistake #3: Using web/video conferencing every time you make a phone call

Just because your specialty is field sales doesn’t mean you don’t use the telephone, right?

Here’s the big “but”: Using web or video conferencing is a visual extension and/or improvement of that phone call…but do not waste time putting together PowerPoint or scheduling a video conference if it’s not needed.

Mistake #4: Not saving your client time

Once during a training session for a Fortune 500 team, one of the reps was giving me a hard time (“It’s not like being there,” like I’ve never heard that before).

I didn’t have to answer him. One of his peers spoke up, and she said, “Joe, I’ve got clients asking for it. Sometimes we can just get something done in 30 minutes. They don’t have to go book a conference room or feel like they’ve have to ‘do lunch.’ ”

Mistake #5: Not being ready with a backup plan

Imagine this: Flight number one is late, and you missed the connecting flight for your presentation.

Rescheduling the presentation doesn’t have to be your only option. (Read these tips for being ready to present virtually while traveling).

Mistake #6: Not accelerating the sales cycle

Having all the decision makers and influencers in the room isn’t always possible. Doing more appointments and/or making more calls take more time.

Answer: Get everybody in the same virtual room.

Mistake #7: Not including other team members

If the deal’s large, the sales engineer or senior exec will travel with you, but many times the appointment doesn’t warrant that. Unless all they needed to do was join virtually.

What’s the value of your CTO dropping in for 10 minutes to provide a personal comment? High.

Mistake #8: Not adapting to the medium

A change in the medium of communication changes the experience for both you and your clients. Any change of medium loses something (everybody gets that), but it also gains something.

Learn your virtual presentation tools. You’ll likely discover something you can do better virtually than in-person.

Mistake #9: Not growing your presentation design skills

Of the brain’s computing power allocated for our five senses, half is dedicated to vision. It’s a cliche’, but sometimes a picture is literally worth a thousand words, and research proves that complex or intangible ideas are often better communicated visually.

Why does this grow in importance online?

You don’t “work the room” in the same way. There is more focus on your slides to communicate key ideas.

The bottom line

Web and video conferencing isn’t the answer to world hunger, but when you look at it through the eyes of business owner and value creator, they are uniquely irreplaceable assets in your bag of tricks.

As some total slouch named Sun Tzu put it,

“He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.”

About the Author:

Roger Courville speaks, trains, consults, and writes about psychosocial effectiveness when communicating via web, audio and video conferencing. He is a  veteran of the web conferencing industry (since the modem days of 1999) and has taught tens of thousands people worldwide, reaching thousands more with writing appearances and interviews. For more information about his services and thought leadership, visit Roger’s website, The Virtual Presenter

7 Vital iPad Apps for Sales Presentations

More and more people are trying to use iPads during their sales meetings, but often get stuck with just email, CRM, and maybe a brochure or PDF presentation, none of which is really going to rock your audience’s world.

So, to change all that, we’re going to run down a list of some of the best apps to use to help you revolutionize the way that you conduct sales meetings, with the iPad playing an integral part in the conversation.

Sadly, this doesn’t include either Angry Bird or cat videos on YouTube. Sorry, but they’re just not going to work. Also, these recommendations make the assumption that you know to ditch bullet points and use visual animated sequences.

1) Compelling Presentations – SlideShark

You can’t just put your traditional text-based PowerPoint slides onto your iPad as your audience will not only fall asleep, but also really struggle to see small text shaking around. By using visuals, you’re not only providing more compelling material, but also a clearer viewing experience, as people will actually be able to make out the visuals that you have.

If you use plenty of animation, your audience will be drawn in to your story, giving you a good deal of control over what they absorb.

SlideShark is really the only way to achieve these kinds of things on your iPad. It is the best app that supports full PowerPoint graphics and animations (I know, you’d expect MS Office for iPad to do it, but it’s not a great viewing experience), and the ability to easily navigate around the slides in your presentations. It’s ideal for creating an interactive, visual conversation with your prospect.

2) Sketching & Annotation – Bamboo Paper

You can create a truly interactive sales meeting by using sketching and annotation to make a specific argument live with your prospect. Draw a graph to demonstrate your ideas for the prospect’s particular challenges and what they might get out of it, or show how other solutions or options might work for them.

Using all of this interactively with the prospect on your iPad means that you can communicate far more clearly. Better yet, physically give them the iPad so that they can add to your sketches, and co-create the story being told. You can get so much more insight into their needs, and they feel like they’re able to steer the conversation much more directly to something that will be relevant and useful.

Bamboo Paper is really good for this, as it allows you to draw anything you like freehand using a variety of pens and colors, but also import images and annotate over the top of them which works really well if you have something complex to explain that would be too time-consuming to draw from scratch.

3) Polling & Interactivity – Poll Daddy

A great interactive tool that the iPad offers is the ability to ask questions or promote responses to surveys and polls. This approach is not only useful for basic fact finding for the individual prospect, which can steer the conversation more easily down the right track in a way that doesn’t feel like a chore, but more interestingly the information gathered from many different polls can be aggregated to give you useful insight into your customer base.

It’s worth looking at, as these results can help inform a whole host of things across the company, such as sales messaging, targeted marketing, and customer support. You can also build these surveys around specific sales methodologies so you always follow the right approach and don’t miss anything vital in the heat of the moment.

I’m going to recommend PollDaddy as your go-to survey tool, as it produces some neat, easy to navigate response pages. As it’s so reliant on non-iPad functionality, it may be worth looking at some of the other options too to see whether the entire package does it for you.

4) Brochures, Specifications & Documents – iBooks

At this point, if you’re following along carefully you may quite rightly exclaim: “What’s this? Documents on the iPad? But I thought you said no text!”

You’d be right, but you might enter a part of the conversation that requires an in-depth look at some technical details. Remember that in a meeting it’s fine to allow your prospect to read something for a minute or two, so why not have a collection of brochures in PDF form that you bring in on your iPad and then hand over to your prospect for them to read briefly?

Just don’t hold the iPad yourself and talk whilst they’re trying to read – that won’t work. In fact, why not use this as a basis for sketching and annotations too, potentially highlighting elements of the technical detail that are important to the prospect, or how they work, or what value they deliver.

The standard PDF reader on iPads is iBooks, and it works very nicely if you have a list of brochures, spec sheets, price lists, or whatever you need to access that you can put into different folders, or collections, to make things easier.

If you want to go a bit further and annotate on these PDFs, then you’ll have to look elsewhere, and iAnnotate is a good one, as you can draw and sketch all over the PDFs that you have in your library, which for spec sheets and some brochures can really help to bring them to life.

5) Videos & Animations – AVPlayerHD

Videos are another great tool to have at your disposal during a sales conversation, with the ability to share a minute or two of video often being key to help explain complex ideas, or make an emotional connection to generate some real excitement about your prospect’s chosen topic of conversation. Having a selection of videos available, perhaps related to different implementations of your products, or maybe showing case study testimonials, can all work really well when used in the right way.

To play video on the iPad is a little tricky, as Apple gets sensitive about giving you free reign over a potentially very lucrative source of revenue. The standard video app doesn’t really work as it’s quite restrictive, but AVPlayerHD is great.

The interface is clean and slick and you can easily access the video you want from your library. Playback is also very smooth and great quality, so you can jump into the video that you want quickly and navigate around it without any lag too.

What’s nice is that it plays pretty much any video format that you care to mention, so you’re not restricted to the .mp4 or .mov formats that the iPad natively supports, giving you much more freedom in what you show, or reducing the amount of time to convert your videos to an iPad friendly format.

It is a paid app costing $2.99, which often puts people off, but there aren’t any free apps that are quite as good. One option is the now restored VLC player, which is probably the best free video app, but it’s a little trickier to navigate around, slower to respond, and I’ve found it to be less than brilliant when you just want something to play – you really can’t afford loading time on an iPad with a prospect waiting for the technology to catch up.

6) Planning Conversations – Mindjet Maps

So now you have all of these different pieces of content to use, combined with a selection of great apps to share them with. What’s really important is that you don’t get lost. A good way to ensure that your meeting goes well is to plan out the kind of conversations that you’re likely to have. Start by thinking about what your audience is most likely to be interested in – what are they doing now? How do you add value and how can you get them to recognize that value?

What do you want them to do both as a direct result of your conversation and over the longer term? And don’t forget to think about how you differentiate from your competitors, and what your audience’s perception of that difference is. Answering questions like these will help you frame the content and topics that you need to cover.

A great way to plan all this out is to use a mind mapping tool. We like Mindjet Maps, which is a free app that gives you a pretty neat mind map. It’s fairly easy to use, guiding you through all the steps of creating a mind map. You can create main themes, sub-topics, and content for each section, as well as create links between topics, so that you can plan a potential route through all the content.

The mind map is good as it allows you to see everything in one go, rather than trying to plan something out in a Word document, or PowerPoint presentation, where you’re somewhat limited to a linear flow. The app also links to the much more powerful desktop version too, in which you have a lot more control and loads of other functions, so it’s worth investigating.

7) Seamless Shifting

This isn’t an app, but remember that within your meetings, you need to be flexible and tailor your content to the needs of your audience. A great tip to help you seamlessly move between your different apps is to use a four finger swipe, either left or right, to move between apps by turning on the multitasking gestures control in Settings.

Coordinating Content – Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and more.

Having all of this content available at your fingertips (literally!) means that wherever your audience wants to go, you can join them. If you have a series of short presentation snippets – perhaps based around a set of different value messages, such as cost saving, productivity, or flexibility – then if they tell you that they’re under real budgetary pressure, you can jump to the appropriate (cost) snippet and tell them things that they care about.

The article is about seven vital iPad apps, and I’ve cheated a bit by offering some alternatives, so it’s up to at least eight so far. This next bit is really cheating. Sorry. There are a couple of different approaches to take, but Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or any of the other similar services provide great apps for this purpose, as you can store pretty much any file, of any size and access it when you need it.

The neat thing about most of them as cloud-based content solutions is that you can access your content from any device, anywhere, which is great when you’re on the road. However, you can also download the content for off-line access. This means that they really can be a single source for all content whether your online or not.

It’s not just that they store content in a single place (although this is pretty useful), it’s the fact that most have integrated with so many useful applications that makes them such a great tools, so you can link all of your content to the appropriate app.

There is no one app that does it all, but a combination of them can be very powerful, meaning that you can show your prospects what they need to see to be convinced to buy from you. And if you need help to create it all, there’s an App for that too.

About the Author:

Richard Goring is a managing consultant at Bright Carbon, a presentation skills consulting company that  helps sales and marketing teams create effective sales tools. Mostly that means presentations, but it can also mean dynamic animations or Visual Conversations – anything that uses  the company’s visual storytelling abilities. For more information, visit www.brightcarbon.com

Converting 1-on-1 Sales Pitches for Conference Presentations

You have a sales presentation that – despite the fact that it is loaded with bullet points – has been very successful in 1-on-1 meetings with customers. Now you have an invitation to speak at a conference for an audience of more than 100 people for a maximum of 20 minutes. What next? Here is a recipe.

1) Trim down the content. In the conference audience are competitors, analysts, journalists, all kind of people that might not be suitable to receive the ins and outs you would discuss with a prospective customer. Remember, the object of a conference presentation is not to close a deal, it is to tease people into calling/emailing you to set up a first meeting.

2) Flatten the story. Take out overview/summary slides, and spread them out: one slide covers one bullet. We want a story, not a structured table of contents of a business school text book.

3) Beef up the “problem” section of your presentation to let the audience connect with the issue you are trying to solve. The problem might be totally obvious to you and 60% of the audience. The other 39% is not there yet.

4) Avoid repetition. If you talk early on in the presentation about how highly accurate your product is, group that together with the slide in the back that shows test data confirming accuracy.

5) Find big bold visuals that support your points (one point per slide). Stretch images to a full page size, and cut text.

6) Take out any live demos or demonstrations

7) Use your videos (if you have them), BUT only if you can integrate them seamlessly in your presentation flow. Embed it and test it 300 times to make sure there are no technical glitches. Think where you want to insert the videos. Videos are excellent wake up calls, so anticipate where in your story the audience runs the risk of getting bored.

8) Practice, practice, practice, until you can deliver the whole talk in 15-17 out of the allocated 20 minutes.

Good luck!

About the Author:Jan Schultink is a presentation designer with a decade of experience as a CEO strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company. Besides his design work at Idea Transplant, Jan is CEO of Pitchera, a new web-based presentation app that has set itself the ambition of becoming a “PowerPoint killer.” For more from Jan’s blog, click here.


CEO Learns the Secret of Sales Presentations…the Hard Way

In business, a persistent fact of life is that sales people sell features rather than benefits. This practice loses potential customers—and even worse, the sale.  The same practice occurs in pitches, where presenters speak all about themselves—their products and/or their companies—and lose their audience.

Jeff Lawson learned this the hard way. He’s the CEO of Twilio, a San Francisco start-up company that is building the future of business communications by enabling phones, VoIP, and messaging to be embedded into web, desktop, and mobile software. In the October issue of Inc. magazine, Mr. Lawson describes how his early pitches to raise financing were met with stiff resistance from venture capitalists.

Puzzled at the rejection of what he was confident was a company with great technology and great potential, he sought answers from the undisputed king of pitches, Steve Jobs.  Mr. Lawson set about watching several of Mr. Jobs’ keynotes and “studied how he set the stage [by] describing the state of the world as you know it, and why it sucks. And then, boom—he gives you the answer to a problem you didn’t know you had until five minutes ago.”

Then and there Mr. Lawson discovered two essential elements of every presentation: put your audience first and tell your story in a meaningful progression, a logical flow. First establish a need and then demonstrate how your solution fulfills that need. In plain terms, tell the investor audience that there is a market opportunity and then tell them how your company is uniquely positioned to leverage that opportunity.

In even plainer terms, sell the benefits, not the features. Mr. Lawson had been pitching the features of his company, not why those features are important to his investor audience. Using the lesson he learned from Mr. Jobs, Mr. Lawson switched the sequence of his pitch and started with the potential of providing “a way for buyers to talk to sellers online…how any industry could use a way to communicate with customers online. Finally, [he] explained how Twilio fills that hole.”

In the transformation, Mr. Lawson made his pitch all about his audience. He then told his story in a logical progression, starting with the unmet need for online communication in commerce and then moving on to how Twilio’s technology fulfills that need. As he summarized the shift, “The point isn’t how our product works. What matters is what it can do. That story arc makes a huge difference.”

And a big difference it made indeed—the company has since raised $103 million of financing.

Think of your story as an arc with a beginning, middle, and end; and that the line that connects these essential elements has a clear and meaningful progression.

Go with the flow.

About the Author:

Jerry Weissman is principal of Power Presentations Ltd, a company that offers presentation coaching to enhance corporate value. Based on his experience as a producer at WCBS-TV in New York City, Weissman developed a unique methodology and set of techniques to help presenters and speakers clear their minds by organizing their content and deliver it as a series of conversations rather than as performances. Weissman also is author of a number of best-selling books on presentation skills, the latest being In the Line of Fire: How to Handle Tough Questions–When it Counts. This blog also ran in Forbes magazine.

14 Ideas for Better Sales Presentations

Sales presentations are important, but thousands of people each day deliver material that is tired, ugly, and ineffective. These 14  ideas will help you easily improve your sales presentations, stand out from competitors, engage your audience and sell more.

Prioritize Your Messages

If you have a long list of reasons prospects should choose you, chances are that your prospects will get lost and forget half of what you tell them. Worse still, you won’t know which half of your sales messaging will be forgotten – and buying committees will have divergent views about the value that you bring.

See if you can focus your sales message on three key reasons to buy, and place everything else into one of those main categories. It will make your sales presentation far more persuasive.

Be a Challenger

Since Dixon and Adamson found that sales reps who challenge and teach things to their prospects sell more, everyone wants to be a “challenger.” What’s one of the best ways to challenge your prospects? Start your presentation by looking at why what everyone has always done doesn’t work and won’t work, and what that costs.

As an example, our own pitch explains why arguing over slide copy is pointless because text-heavy slides all suck.

Cut Half Your Material

It’s very rare indeed that prospects complain that a sales presentation got to the point too quickly, or didn’t go on for long enough. So why is cutting material from your sales presentation such a hard idea to implement?

Most sales presentations cover ground that’s unnecessary, list too many features, and confuse ‘why change?’ with ‘why us?’ Edit your presentations aggressively – try cutting half the material, tell your story pithily, and make certain to address the decision your prospects are making at the right stage in the sales cycle.

Lose the Text

No, don’t shorten your bullet points. Don’t even limit yourself to one line of text per slide on a beautiful photo background (even if you have seen this idea used at conference presentations). Don’t use text to communicate at all. Just use photos you took or that are really relevant, graphs, charts, and other visualisations.

People can’t read and listen at the same time – so stop undermining your sales presentation with lousy text-heavy slides.

Use a Physical Prop

Find a prop, pass it around, talk about it, show it, let your audience hold it. The prop can be your product, or an object that helps explain what’s different or important – a kitchen funnel if you are talking about your impact on the sales funnel, a broken part if you are going to emphasize what’s wrong with competing approaches. 3D props help to make presentations compelling.

(For a famous example, check out Richard Feynman explaining why the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded at 2 minutes into this video.)

Mix Your Media

Don’t just use slides, or a whiteboard, or video, or pitchbooks. Mix it up. Use a variety of media, as appropriate, as part of your sales presentation. Each time you change the media you are using attention levels rise. So, mix things up to help make your presentation more compelling.

Create a Hyperlinked Interactive Menu

Plan out the sections in your presentation, and then create a small navigation bar at the bottom of each slide. Hyperlink parts of the relevant slides, and click on the menu when presenting to skip to that section. It sounds more complicated than it is.

Record an On-Demand Version, and Track It

Forget providing a printout of your slides – it won’t help you to sell. It just gives an excuse for a gatekeeper to stop you coming back to pitch to the real decision maker, and it’s as-likely-as-not going to get copied to your competitor.

Instead, use a tool like Brainshark to record a narrated version of your sales presentation, and then track exactly who watches. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching your sales presentation go viral through an organisation, selling for you while you sleep. Now there’s an idea…

Video Yourself Delivering Your Sales Presentation

Your slides aren’t your sales presentation. A presentation needs a presenter too, and presenting confidently and clearly can make all the difference. Video yourself presenting and try to (1) say “you” not “we” (2) explain clearly what the benefits for prospects are by using phrases like “which means you get…” (3) eliminate your verbal ticks and (4) interact confidently with your visuals.

Stop Half-Way

This next sales presentation idea is based on the insight that your sales presentation doesn’t need to be a monologue. Having a discussion can really help. Try presenting only your introduction – describing the problem and the cost of not solving it – and then stop presenting and start questioning. Then, once you reach a natural pause, present your solution.

Have a Conversation

One-way sales presentations make sense in a formal pitch situation where the prospect doesn’t want to talk, and is insistent every presenter follows a clear formula. Otherwise… What sales person doesn’t want to listen and adapt to what a prospect is saying? Why plan out  a 20-minute monologue when you can present a few slides, talk, then follow-up with whatever’s relevant? A true visual conversation.

Have a clear message you want to get across by all means, but be flexible about when you say what.

Annotate Your Slides

A lot of people don’t know about PowerPoint’s annotation tools. In show mode, hover your cursor over the near-transparent pen at the bottom left of the screen. Then just write on top of your slides using the mouse. Annotate photos, populate charts, or even ask your prospect to take control and sketch out their own situation.

Hand Over Your iPad

There’s been a lot of hype about iPads in sales, but more Angry Birds and email than sales conversations and enablement. But the iPad can work excellently for sales conversations. Divide your sales presentation into short sequences, and present with SlideShark. Use a sketching app such as Bamboo to share ideas.

Sit on the same side of the desk. Hand the iPad over to your prospect. Be conversational and interactive.

Get Help From a Professional

If you really want to get your sales presentations right, consider bringing in a professional presentation agency to help you. An outside view can help bring consensus about what’s important. Presentation design expertise can protect your brand and deliver compelling visuals. A persuasive sales presentation pitched frequently can bring a rapid ROI.

About the Author:

Joby Blume is a managing consultant with BrightCarbon, a company that helps sales and marketing teams create effective sales tools. That primarily means presentations, but it can also mean dynamic animations or visual conversations – anything that uses BrightCarbon’s visual storytelling abilities. For more information, visit http://www.brightcarbon.com/


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