How to improve your chance of signing more deals after your presentation

Business Insights
19/12/2018

By Karen O’Donnell, Toastmasters International


Presentations are an opportunity to engage with potential customers or investors and a well-crafted presentation can lead to more business success.


Here are eight suggestions to help you close more deals at the end of your presentation:


1. Prepare!


All too often speakers put a lot of preparation into securing the pitch and little thought into the actual presentation.


Suggestion: Once you have your presentation written, put time into practising it with a colleague or coach. Don’t use your clients as a way to practise! Having prepared, you will hit your target and close more deals as a result.


2. No ‘One-size fits all’


You have secured the sales pitch – so this is NOT the time to pull out the generic presentation.


Suggestion: Research your customer beforehand and become familiar with their business/industry. Research their competitors and if possible tailor your presentation to demonstrate how your product or service can help them gain a competitive advantage.


3. How much data?


You may love the technical specification of your product. However, as we know most people will want you to sell its benefits to them. With a kitchen gadget for example – how it makes life easier, saves cooking time, opens up a new range of recipe options.


Suggestion: Don’t sell the features, sell the benefits. With our gadget, you might mention ‘it can create wonderful cakes for that special event’. You create a picture that the potential ‘buyer’ can imagine and also appreciate


4. Slides


Have you fallen into the trap of thinking ‘My presentation slides are ready. Now I need to figure out what to say to go along with the slides?’ This is a recipe for ruining presentations. Firstly, create your message and develop your presentation – only then consider whether you need slides to help get your message across.


Remember if your audience can get all the info they need from the slides, you become obsolete.


Suggestion: Remove the slide if: It is just to entertain the audience or to act as a prompt to the speaker.


Keep the slide when: It clarifies your audience’s understanding of your message


5. Data or Stories?


Many presenters include lots of data in their sales pitches – this can be boring or create overwhelm. Every company has wonderful stories – so explore those how you can portray the data in a story. People make decisions based on emotions and then follow it up with logic.


Suggestion: Select stories that will resonate with that particular audience. Once you engage with them, they can look at the data at another time, if they wish.


6. Handouts


Many speakers distribute handouts when they start their presentation. This can result in the audience flicking through the handout, instead of focusing on your well-crafted presentation.


Suggestion: Instead of distributing handouts, create a unique URL page on your website for this particular group. Put all the resources from your presentation that they require there. This adds the personal touch as well as encouraging people to visit your website.


7. When to sell


We have all been there; sat through a presentation waiting for the inevitable sales pitch at the end. The close of your presentation is NOT the time to start selling.


Suggestion: Sales starts from your introduction. You could start with a question; ‘would you like to have more commitment rather than compliance from your team?’ having identified their pain your presentation can offer the solution. Pepper your talk with service or product benefits. Tease your audience with how you can solve their pain. If done well, they will want to hear how they can get your solution, so toward the end of the presentation give them their next step to avail themselves of your product or service.


8. Q&A section


If you leave Q&A until the very end, someone could throw you an awkward question and create a negative atmosphere. This could be your audiences’ lasting impression of you, your company and your product or service. Your final message must be the absolute final words they hear. Skilled presenters never finish on a Q&A.


Suggestion:


Set up the Q&A early on. For example, I usually say, “We’ll have time for some questions towards the end of this presentation and then I will give you my final message.” You’re politely letting your audience (and the event organises) know that the Q&A session is not the end of your presentation.


End your presentation, perhaps use an anecdote, refer back to the opening and let this be your ‘call to action’.


Karen O’Donnell is a member of Toastmasters International, a not-for-profit organisation that has provided communication and leadership skills since 1924 through a worldwide network of clubs. There are more than 400 clubs and 10,000 members in the UK and Ireland. Members follow a structured educational programme to gain skills and confidence in public and impromptu speaking, chairing meetings and time management. To find your nearest club, visit www.toastmasters.org