You've done the cold calls, the direct-mail introductions, the networking, the follow-ups and the email blasts. It's all led up to this: the sales presentation.
Now's your chance to close up the deal. To lock up that big account. To return home to your office, triumphant and proud that your months of preliminary work have paid off. Only … what if you don't? There's a lot that can go wrong in a sales presentation, and there's a lot that can go right. Mark Graham, founder and CEO of Right Sleeve Marketing; co-founder and chief platform officer for commonsku, provided some helpful pointers on how to make sure you have a great, stand-out sales presentation.
Do Your Research
Every great sales presentation starts with researching your audience. Find out what you can about a company—its goals, its habits, its needs and everything in between. This research will form the backbone of your pitch, and is critical to succeed at point two, listed below.
Also, if possible, use social networks to research the person to whom you'll be presenting. Not for any personal details, such as favorite foods or movies, but for mutual connections you might share.
"It's always really important for us to do extensive research on the client, through Google and the social networks," said Graham. "What we're looking for, if say we're looking at the platform of LinkedIn, is to see whether we have any first- or second-degree connections that we're able to bring up and might serve to benefit our presentation," he explained, noting that the promotional business is particularly relationship-based, and that a shared connection can be very helpful.
Have an Angle
An angle, or hook, is what makes your presentation irresistible. (Hence, the word choice. They're "hooked" because you've gotten them so interested they can't say "no.") "Any great sales presentation or pitch always starts off with an angle," said Graham.