Persuasive Sales Presentations

With the attention spans of adults having fallen from 12 minutes to 5 minutes in the last decade, there’s no longer time for your 30-slide, 45-minute presentation; by the time you get to your call-to-action, your audience will no longer be paying attention. As a salesperson, your presentations have to do more than just inform your audience, or get them to visit your website; you’re asking them for money. You have to sell your product or service so they need to buy it.

In order to master the art of the persuasive sales presentation, here are some handy tips to get you started.

Keep it succinct
You no longer have time to build up to what you want out of a presentation; if you’ve only got your audience’s attention for 5 minutes, then you want to be telling your prospective clients about what you can offer them by the 4 minute mark.

If you know you’ll never be able to get your presentation to five minutes, think about how you might streamline the presentation so it’s as specific as you can make it. Think about how necessary your second or third anecdotes are.

Embrace less-is-more
Once you’ve worked out what you want to say, you may want to use visuals as back-up. Think about a reasonable slide-limit. There’s no reason to have more than 5 to 10 slides, unless they’re solely for images of products you’re selling. Don’t crowd to slides with text either. The slide might ask a question, or hold the answer that you flick to as you present. They might show a key figure, graph, or image. No more than fifteen words should be needed to get your point across on each slide; you want your audience to be listening to you, not reading from a slide.

Make it visually stimulating
No, this doesn’t mean a presentation that explodes with colour, or has text whooshing in from either side, or the dreaded slide transitions. Your presentation should have a dynamic layout that isn’t just the default PowerPoint option; change the fonts from the default (but please no Comic Sans), work out ways to dynamically show your information (everyone loves a nice-looking figure), make sure there’s good contrast between your text and background, and that your text is readable for everyone in the room.

Encourage questions and don’t be afraid to go off book
If you know what you’re selling then there’s no reason to be scared about answering questions about it. Engaging the audience through questions is a great way to keep them interested. If you know your presentation well enough then no matter how much of a tangent you go on, you’ll be able to draw everyone back to the task at hand, and you will seem more genuine and interested in your service to your audience.

Don’t forget you’re trying to sell something
When you get to the end of your presentation, it’s time to ask the audience for what you came for. If you’ve got a visual presentation, then it would end with a call-to-action slide that concisely ties up the end of the presentation and spells out what you want from the meeting. Hopefully, once the presentation is over, they’ll be ready to sign on the dotted line, but if for whatever reason the deal can’t be completed, ask your audience to commit to move forward in some way. They’ll be more likely to follow-through if they’ve made some sort of commitment to you.

So, when it comes to your next sales presentation, try out these tips to see just how helpful they can be.