Recently, I went to an Internet Marketing conference and met the owner of a company that sells high-end products for marketers. The company bought a sponsorship table (which I’m sure was expensive) and had nicely-designed brochures laid out on the table, along with a monitor displaying the software. The owner ran a session about the value of their tools for pre-selecting potential customers who might be likely to buy a product.
During the session, she discussed the sales process, starting with getting leads and ending with the sales conversation. She asked the audience, “How many of you get to the sales conversation and wing it?” Several people raised their hands. She explained why, after going through the entire process of getting the person to that conversation, you should have a plan. (I call it a script.)
You know I’m going to get around to her slides, right?
At the end of the session, she got around to a sales conversation with the audience (which was appropriate for that situation) and discussed the price. It was well over $1000. I’m not critical of that — she can charge whatever she wants.
But her slides didn’t reflect that high-end image.
So, when you get to the end of the sales process — in this case, buying a sponsorship table, traveling to the conference, printing brochures, and so on — shouldn’t the PowerPoint slides look as good as everything else? And be in line with the image you want to portray?
Just as you should plan your sales conversation and not wing it, you should plan your presentation — and make the slides look good. That presentation is perhaps the most important part of that sales process.
What did I see?
It’s not as if the slides were a wall of text. They weren’t.
And her presentation skills were excellent.
- There were lots of images and lines of flying in, mostly in from the bottom. For no reason.
- The text that was there was set up as simple bulleted lists
- The images were simply plopped in the middle of the slide or to the right of the text with no formatting
It just didn’t look professional, although the person who created the slides (a member of her staff, who was also there) tried hard to make them interesting.
My main points
My 3 points to her, which were just a start, were:
- Don’t animate for no reason. Animate to show a process or to make a slide beautiful or entertaining.
- Learn ways to avoid bullet points
- Format images nicely
I think I also mentioned the fact that the presentation wasn’t aligned with the company’s branding.
What is your presentation worth?
If you are selling a high-end product, your presentation is worth a lot of money. Of course, you might still sell, but perhaps you could sell a lot more if your presentation looked like you cared about it.
If you can, hire a designer, just like you do for your website and printed brochures.
If you can’t afford a designer, get some training and/or 1-on-1 coaching.
Here’s my 1-on-1 coaching. Take me up on it. Your presentation deserves it.
Excellent post (as always) Ellen! I, too, am surprised at how many clients put a lot of thought and effort into their marketing materials, and very little into the presentation. The most important point you made above was that ALL of their materials should reflect their branding. When I design a presentation, the first thing I look at is the web site, followed by any other materials they can provide, to ensure we’re creating something that reflects the look and feel they’ve developed for the rest of their marketing efforts. You should also consider the message and the audience, at… Read more »