Presenting proposals to clients is the culmination of a long sales process. So obviously its importance cannot be overstated.
In this article, we’ll look at seven ways to improve your presentation (and pitch) and increase the odds that you’ll walk away with a new customer.
1. Get to the point
When presenting a proposal it’s important to remember that your clients are busy. They have other meetings to attend, phone calls and emails to return, and problems to solve. Time is their most precious asset.
So don’t waste their time by arriving late, fumbling with the projector, or making long introductions. Get to the point, preferably in the first minute. There’s a good chance that your client is itching to interrupt you and barrage you with questions, so get to your main point before the presentation is sidetracked.
2. Ask questions
After you’ve spoken for a few minutes, stop and ask your client a question. This is a great way to stay in control of the meeting while allowing your client to interact with the sales presentation.
Here are some questions that you might ask:
Is this how you’d define success?
Have you used this approach in the past?
Have I prioritized your goals correctly?
Is this a major challenge for your company?
3. Sell a vision first
Don’t walk into the meeting and immediately start talking about yourself or your company or your products. If you do this, your client will immediately focus on cost and product features, often ending the meeting before you’ve had a chance to finish.
Instead, focus on selling a vision first. Your clients want to know how they can beat their competitors, reach new customers, retain existing customers, and increase profit margins.
So, paint a vision for how you’re going to help them in these areas.
4. Lead with stories, not data
While clients value data, they are also realistic about what data can – and cannot – tell them. They’ve seen many projects fail despite the glowing research results and they’ve seen projects succeed despite the lack of any data to back it up.
So, introduce stories first, then the data to back it up. Come to the presentation armed with customer experiences and competitor moves. Your clients are far more interested in what their customers are saying and what their competitors are doing than they are in the latest research study.
5. Use PowerPoint or Keynote wisely
If you’re going to use PowerPoint or Keynote in your presentation, do so wisely. Most slides are far too complex — too much text, distracting designs, and unrelated images.
You should only put one picture and one line of text on a slide. No more. Your clients can only absorb so much at once, and if they’re too busy trying to sort out the mess on the screen, most of what you’ll say will be missed.
6. Keep it short
Keep your presentation as short as possible, about 15-20 minutes. The more you try to tell your clients, the less they remember.
7. Have a clear agenda
Your presentation must also have a clear and compelling agenda. It should begin with compelling reasons to consider your proposal and culminate with a specific request for the business.
• Challenge/Opportunity. Begin your presentation by illustrating the opportunity or challenge that your client is overlooking. Make sure it’s compelling enough to motivate your client to listen to the rest of your presentation.
• Benefits. Discuss the benefits that your client will achieve by adopting your solution. Use a customer case study or testimonial to support your point.
• Plan. Present your plan or options to resolve the client’s challenge/opportunity.
• Company. Briefly share your company’s background, including who your company helps with these issues.
• Recommend. Before closing your presentation, be sure to ask for the business. You might close by asking the client, “Do you believe that the solution that I’ve presented to you will effectively help you overcome your challenges and achieve your goals? Do you want our help?”
Being able to effectively present proposals is key to your success. To be effective, get to the point and focus on vision and stories. Use PowerPoint or Keynote as supporting material and be sure to keep it short. Finally, your presentation should begin with compelling reasons to consider your proposal and culminate with a specific request for the business.
By: John Hall, The Agency Post