I’m giving a presentation at a branch of the local Chamber of Commerce and offered makeovers so the audience can see how to design a clear slide. I received 2 presentations.
Both presentations are sales presentations. One is selling a software package; the other is a presentation to venture capitalists.
I noticed 2 things that both presentations left out.
Start with the problem, then solve it
They both started by talking about their product. Yes, they talked about benefits, not just features. But neither one made a good case for why their product is needed. It was there, but hidden. Or it came fairly late in the presentation.
Instead, start with the problem. Explain the need, then introduce your solution. This way of beginning a presentation has several advantages:
- It makes people alert to listen to you. If they agree with the problem, then they’ll want a solution
- It creates an emotional connection. Describing the problem makes people feel a lack, a need. Again, that makes them want the solution.
Here’s an example:
Does your office look like this? Do you waste time looking for files, documents and more?
Our software will organize all of your files, documents, email, and messages in one place.
Here’s another example:
Traditional buildings have many problems:
- 35% heat loss through walls
- Offgassing, etc.
Our product avoids such problems:
- Awarded ENERGY STAR 5 stars
- 100% non-toxic materials, etc.
Don’t hide the problem. Start with it and play it up.
Include social proof
Social proof means showing that other people like your product. It’s a very powerful persuasive technique. Neither presentation included testimonials. You need to prove that others have used and liked your product. Without testimonials, the presentations seemed weak.
Near the end of your presentation, be sure to include testimonials or names of other customers. This social proof is more powerful than slide after slide listing a product’s benefits.