This article explores the top reasons why a sales presentation may fail – a light hearted view.
Use the same presentation over and over
Your presentation worked well once (actually only once and that was last year), but you should stick with it. Don’t let the fact that your sales cycle is 2 months longer lead you to think customising your initial presentation is valuable time spent.
Edit critical marketing messages you don’t like
Sure, millions of pounds has been invested in branding. And it may be that the integrated messaging is what got the client to ask for a face-to-face presentation. But if you don’t like it, chances are your client doesn’t either.
Spend hours searching for key slides
It is vitally important to hunt for phantom slides that you saw someone use at some point during some meeting for some client. The more time you search, the closer you are to closing the deal. And just think how relaxed you’ll be.
Send frantic emails begging for updated content
The night before the big meeting is the perfect time to email blast the product manager, sales support team, and fellow reps for the slides presented at the national sales meeting. Ignore any response that says you should have them on a CD sent to you last month. What CD?
Avoid presenting new product offerings
If you don’t know everything about a product, don’t present it. Don’t even mention it. Stick with what you know. If the client asks about it, the marketing manager can fly in for that part of the presentation. Cross-selling is not for the faint of heart.
Show outdated presentation content
Financials, industry trends, statistics – all are outdated the minute they are released. Right? So, show what you’ve got even if it is your company website, collateral material, and sales sheets that don’t have the most up-to-date information.
Make up the customer testimonial
Don’t let reality interfere with creativity. Draft a case study or quote that portrays what the experience would be like if everything went well. If the prospect wants to talk to the customer, well… we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Delete any required legal or regulatory slide
IFA, SEC, regulatory commissions and legal departments get very cranky about disclaimers. The fact that they are there to protect everyone involved should not dissuade you from removing them.
Don’t listen to the audience
Once you begin a presentation, don’t let the client interrupt. If they ask questions, tell them to hold them to the end. You need time to prove how smart you are.
Never share a sales presentation that works
If, by chance, you come across a slide or a series of slides that was particularly effective, do not let other reps or marketing people know about it. That way, your sales will increase even if overall revenue growth does not.
© 2003 By Kim Donlan of Presension. Reprinted with permission from the author.