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Types of PowerPoint Presentations – Part 2: Sales Presentations

Yesterday I talked about how I develop Deliverables in Powerpoint.  Today we will talk about how I develop Sales Presentations.  These are slides for a smaller audience (20 or less people) where I am trying to persuade and educate them.

The key thing I think about when I am building these presentations is that the real person I am trying to sell is probably not in the room.  I am trying to give concepts to people that they can take back to their boss or talk about with their teams.

The same title logic I discussed with Deliverables, I typically carry through to here, but there are a few extra nuances that I apply:

  • Larry Weinbach, the former CEO of Anderson Consulting and Unisys, once told me, “in a sales presentation, the potential customer can only remember about three things, so what are yours?”  A great comment that stuck with me.  Before you start writing your deck, you should figure out what the three things you actually want them to remember are.  Then, as you build your deck, remember that those are the only things they will actually remember.  You will find that this actually has a lot of impact on the deck construction.
  • Pictures are really important.

Let’s talk about pictures.  Pictures of smiling, multi-cultural people shaking hands and looking at laptops and being productive are probably good.  Someone smarter than I can comment on that, because I have not tested it, but what I really think about is a picture describing what I am talking about.  Typically the three things I pick when I am focusing my presentation are complex, so I need to have a simple way to describe each one, otherwise, my first thing will end up being 10 different things they have to remember.  That is a fail.  If you are looking for a simple way to describe something complex, it can be helpful to remember that a picture is worth a thousand words.  So a good picture does wonders.

My approach when trying to define the picture is that it has to be articulated in such a way that if someone in the room wants to sketch it later for their boss or team, they can do it justice.  It can’t be some crazy network stack or some insanely complex diagram.  It has to be something simple, like a triangle, or a few interlocking bubbles, or something like that.  A great way to start is to draw it by hand – because that is what they will be doing.  You can have a designer add some sex appeal to your graphic later, but remember, the utility of the graphic is that it is so simple and easy for someone to capture in their mind that after you show them the graphic and explain it, they can run back to their bosses office and draw the exact same thing on his/her whiteboard and explain it the exact same way.  This ability to explain one of your key points is a core concept I try to accomplish in a sales presentation.

While the Deliverable presentation was incredibly verbose, this presentation is less wordy.  It is still complete sentences and at least two bullets everywhere, but you don’t have to put it all in there because this is not designed to be documentation.  Deliverables are reference material.  This is persuasive.  The voice track that walks someone through the pictures is critical.  If you can explain it well on the slides, so much the better, because different people learn differently, but the key focus is on your few critical pictures that drive your three points home.

Tomorrow we will do Part 3 – Presentations for Conferences.

3 Responses to “Types of PowerPoint Presentations – Part 2: Sales Presentations”

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