How to Structure a Presentation that Sells

You know all about your products and services, you know all the features, the advantages over the competitorís products and the benefits that you can deliver.  You understand the problems that your prospects face on a daily basis, or what they would like to achieve. Now all you have to do is create a presentation to describe all this and make them want to buy it.

How should you structure your presentation for maximum effect?

Here is a 10 step model which will have them begging for more.

1.     Start with a  " SMART" objective (SMART = Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic and Timely).  Decide what it is you want to accomplish with your presentation  and how you will measure your success. This should be in terms of what your audience members will do directly after they have heard your presentation.

2.    Now, start your presentation by grabbing the audienceís attention. The reaction your are looking for is for people to think " I thought this was going to be good, but wow! this should be great, I really will have to listen" . Rhetorical questions are often a good way to achieve this.

3.    Once you have grabbed their attention it is usually worth a sentence or two to establish your credibility. Why should these people listen to you? What experience do you or your company have in this area?

4.    Now, given that you are trying to sell something, whether it is a product, a service, a solution or maybe just an idea or way of working, then you need to identify why it is needed.  Because without the audience knowing that they need something there is no way they will spend money, time or resources on obtaining it. Usually the best way of doing this is to describe the problem they are no doubt experiencing without it. So describe the problem and the pain, make it as real as you can.

5.    Having established the problem (or opportunity if you prefer to remain positive). Now is your opportunity to establish a vision of success. How wonderful it could be, if you no longer had that problem.  It is vital that your audience buy in to this vision of success, that they really want it or need it. If they only pay lip-service to this vision of success they are unlikely to buy.

6.     Now, tell them how you products, services, solutions, or ideas will work to start creating that vision. You may like to use cause and effect models, or problem/ solution models to help achieve this. As long as this middle part of the presentation is structured so that your audience can follow what you are saying, the actual structure is of less importance. Donít forget to describe the benefit (" the whatís in it for you" ) for every feature you mention. If you canít think of a benefit, which is relevant to this audience, to go with a feature, donít mention the feature.

7.     Once you have fully described you offering, finish with a summary of the benefits.

8.    Now, given that this is a business presentation, and no-one can do business on their own, now is the point in the presentation where you put in the call to join together. Tell your audience that by working together you and them can achieve their hopes and desires.

9.    In fact, by working together you can achieve the vision of the future that you laid out near the start of your presentation and that they all bought in to. So restate the vision, now.

10.   Finally, you can have a Question and Answer session, and thank the audience for their time, but the last thing you should say before you sit down, is your call to action. Your call to action is an instruction to the audience on how they can fulfil your objective which you identified, right back up in step 1.

Structure your presentation around these 10 steps and I guarantee you will generate a better response.

NB: This structure does not contain a section describing "who you are" i.e. the typical company overview slides. This is intentional, most company overviews are boring and fairly irrelevant. People care about what you can do for them, not who you are!

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