• Hear, See and Discuss: Are your Sales Presentations High Impact?

    04/22/2014 in Sales Presentation Skills

    You can improve the impact of your sales presentations if you design your presentation to maximize the retention level of the audience.  One of my favorite communication studies measured retention rates for three types of presentations:

     Presentation Type  Label  Audience Retention Rate
     One-way information flow,
    no visual aids
     Hear  10%
     One-way information flow,
    well designed visual aids
     Hear and See  20%
     Two-way information flow,
    well designed visual aids
     Hear, See and DIscuss  40%

    If a customer passively listens to you (meaning, only the salesperson is talking) and you do not use any visual aids, the customer is hearing you but it is not very impactful.  Retention is 10% or worse if a salesperson simply speaks to a customer.   Avoid this at all costs! 

    HEAR & SEE
    The retention level doubles to 20% if you use visual aids so that the customer sees something in addition to hearing you speak. Never make a presentation that doesn’t use some visual aids.  Be creative and use appropriate visual aids that fit your sales objective and the customer. 

    Key tip!  The visual aid should be "visual” – pictures, photos, well-designed charts, and so on are much better than content-heavy PowerPoint slides, which are not much more impactful than hearing only. 

    Retention doubles again, this time to 40%, when the conversation becomes a two-way discussion rather than a one-way presentation.  In other words, make it interactive. 

    Interaction works wonders for the audience and the presenter. The audience becomes alive — you can literally feel and hear the energy level in the room increase when a sales presentation is interactive.  From the sales presenter's point of view, interactive presentations provide accurate assessments of the customer's reaction to you and your sales message.   

    Even better, interaction almost always lessens the nervousness of the presenter because it makes you feel as if you are speaking with the audience rather than to the audience.  You might find our Teaching Tips Webinar helpful because we provide details to help sales managers improve their skill and comfort level regarding interactive techniques.

  • Sales Presentations: Do Yours Suffer From Information Overload?

    06/20/2013 in Sales Presentation Skills

    Salespeople tend to make four common mistakes when making a sales presention.

    1. Information overload!  Too many slides, too much talking, too lo-o-o-o-ng.  The result is that you lose the customer's attention and interest.  If you don't agree, ask yourself this question: when was the last time you heard a sales presentation that was too short? Avoid information overload by asking this question:"What information does this person need in order for me to accomplish my objective(s)?" Edit your remarks, and then re-ask the same question and delete what you don't need. Brevity makes the presentation more impactful.  If you don't agree, count how many words are in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, the most memorable speech in American history.

    2. Opening Remarks are weak or non-existent. Salespeople tend to dive right into the body of the presentation and don't give enough time and attention to their "opening remarks."  Yet, numerous studies have shown that audiences remember the opening remarks much more than the rest of the presentation.  What does that suggest in terms of planning and organizing an effective sales presentation? Plan your opening remarks with two objectives in mind:  first, getting the other person's attention; and, second, building rapport.  And, most importantly, rehearse it out loud.  If you don't rehearse anything else, you MUST rehearse your opening.  It will only take you a minute or less but it is the most important minute in the entire presentation.

    3. Presentation feels canned rather than tailored for the customer.  Don't put your audience to sleep by using the same boilerplate PowerPoint presentation. Be sure to tailor the content of the presentation. For planning purposes divide your presentation into three sections:  the Opening, the Body, and the Closing.  Rather than spend time planning your presentation in general, spend time instead planning each section, including where you can incorporate customer-specific details into each section. 

    4. The Presentation doesn't end powerfully. We often observe concluding remarks that are too brief and lack impact.  For example, a typical closing remark is "... thank you.  Do you have any questions?"  This can be radically improved, for example, by using an open-ended question instead.  Start strong and end strong if you want to improve the effectiveness of your presentations.

    Contact us if you are interested in discussing a customized Sales Presentation Skills (for newer salespeople or sales support personnel) or Presenting with Impact Workshop (for experienced salespeople or sales managers). One-on-one sales coaching is also a great way for individual salespeople to improve their sales presentation skills.