Looking to improve your pitches? This post shares clever tips on how to deliver more compelling presentations to prospects and other important audiences.
Pitching. Of all the sales skills people can develop, the ability to pitch ranks among the most useful. For most sales and marketing professionals, pitching usually translates into presenting your credentials, capabilities, and/or concepts to a prospective customer or client. Arguably, no meeting can prove more pivotal in a relationship.
With so much at stake, let’s share some tips and tricks on delivering more persuasive business presentations. Maybe you can add a tactic or two to your bag of sales tricks!
Some people have a gift for gab and seem to thrive ‘on-stage.’ But most of us do not. The secret is to think of pitching like any other business skill. You can build it up and get better.
Long before the pitch, most sales people investigate the company and people they hope to charm. At the very least, they visit the prospect’s website and social channels (like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) They check out their blog and news releases, if available. They look at their competitors and industry landscape. The more they know, the more it shows.
While nobody expects you to be an expert in their business, you should always show people the respect they deserve. Investing time into learning about your prospects almost always pays off.
People hate sitting through massive, long-winded, marathon slideshows! Try to keep your digital presentations to 10 to 12 PowerPoint slides. And, instead of filling each slide with reams of 12-point text, try synthesizing your ideas into as few words as possible. It’s easy to make things complicated and dense. Take the time to refine your ideas.
Try to avoid jargon, acronyms, and cliché promises. While they may seem like a clever way to save time, recycling the same words and ideas makes you sound like everyone else.
People love visuals—just not the same old boring and predictable stock photography and illustrations we’ve all seen a million times. When you use weak or no visuals at all, you almost guarantee an underwhelming response. So, tell your story with great visuals, such as original photographs. Illustrations, video—and even a presentation prop or two.
While great visuals are not a substitute for strategy or ideas, they certainly help tell and sell a story. If you can, invest in design to help you bring your presentations and brand to life.
Ever lost the plot in the middle of a presentation because someone made changes to the deck at the last second? Yikes! Practice may not make you perfect, but it will make you way better… especially when you have multiple presenters on deck. So, find the time to rehearse your presentation. Try presenting to an internal audience, so you can roleplay objections and get useful feedback from your peers.
Even the most accomplished performers practice. Rehearsing is a simple and smart way to smooth out the kinks and make refinements to presentations together. Don’t go in cold!
Great presentations engage an audience emotionally and leave them eager to ask questions and learn more. As you tell your story, include opportunities for engagement. If appropriate, ask questions. Most presenters speak too quickly, especially if they feel nervous. So, give yourself a chance to breath and invite questions and interruptions. If nothing else, make sure you ask them what they think of your presentation.
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