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How to Do a Sales Presentation That Builds Buyer Desire

Ho-hum demos, capabilities presentations, proposals and dog-and-pony shows don’t make the sale.

B2B buyers aren’t buying because they aren’t getting value during these one-sided sales presentations where the seller does all or most of the talking.

You’ve got to get buy in before you ask for the buy.

To get buy in, you’ve got to build buyer desire. Here’s how you can do that.

What am I doing wrong in my sales presentation?

Graphic Showing Teaching by Pointing the Board10 Presentation Problems put you at risk of losing your buyer’s interest.

  1. The presentation starts with photos of your product, people, building, or anything about you.

  2. The presentation is generic. You swap out just a few slides each time.

  3. The presentation includes all the features of your product whether they’re relevant or not.

  4. The presentation is formal with you doing the delivery at the front of the room.

  5. The presentation is inflexible, following a script or pre-determined order of topics.

  6. The presentation focuses on facts, figures and logical reasons to buy.

  7. The presentation is too long, too complex, or too meandering.

  8. The presentation is being read to the buyer.

  9. The presenter appears nervous or unsure, using filler words and talking too fast.

  10. The presenter is unprepared or disorganized.

How can I boost my close rate by doing better sales presentations?

10 Winning Presentation Practices will improve your sales presentations, engage your buyers to keep their interest and build their desire, and ultimately result in more closed sales.

  1. The presentation begins with a statement of the buyer’s specific needs and goals. It includes details and personalization, clearly demonstrating that the presenter understands the situation.

  2. The presentation is customized in obvious ways. It prominently features the buyer’s logo. It includes quotations from the buyer about their needs and goals. It refers to the mission, vision, and values of the buyer’s organization or other compelling considerations.

  3. The presentation is focused on the features that matter to the buyer. Additional features are listed on a handout or otherwise shared without taking presentation time. Each feature that’s included is linked to a buyer need or goal.

  4. The presentation is a two-way dialogue, involving the buyer(s) from start to finish. Presenters ask thought-provoking questions that get buyers visualizing themselves using the product and considering alternatives they hadn’t before. These Example and Solution Questions, explained in DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected, are rarely used in presentations but are highly engaging for buyers.

  5. The presentation is structured but allows for buyer input and redirection. In a study with 530 B2B buyers, the behavior “The seller fully answers my questions with information that is relevant, timely and useful” was the number one behavior that buyers would like to see more often from sellers. Being responsive to buyer questions might require deviating from the prepared presentation sequence.

  6. The presentation stirs the buyer’s emotions and paints pictures of the desired future state. Data and logic are used to support the recommendation, but they are not the primary focus of the presentation.   

  7. The presentation is short and simple. It is tightly focused on what will be meaningful and relevant to this specific buyer at this point in time.

  8. The presentation is human-to-human, not slides-to-human or robot-to-human. It is interactive. If slides are shown, the presenter speaks naturally about the key points and does not read what is on the slide. The presenter tells a story, weaving information together from one slide to the next. Buyer responses are invited for discussion and to gauge interest and value along the way.

  9. The presenter has mastered basic presentation skills to modulate voice and pace and to eliminate filler words like “umm,” “like,” and “having said that.” The presenter knows enough about products offered AND about the buyer’s business to confidently respond to any questions. The presenter knows the sequence and content of the presentation so as not to be caught off-guard by any slide or material that is included.

  10. The presenter is prepared. The buyer’s needs are fully understood, and the presenter can recall what the buyer said and playback the buyer’s own words about desired outcomes. The presenter is organized with all materials needed and can access them quickly.

How can I create a positive Customer Experience during the presentation?

Customer Experience (CX) has become an important differentiator and buyer expectation. When you create a pleasant Customer Experience, you increase your chances of making a sale and keeping a customer long-term.

The presentation is your perfect opportunity to give your buyer an experience that is pleasant, memorable and meaningful. By asking purposeful questions and having a two-way dialogue, you will be giving your buyer a chance to participate in creating what they want. That is the essence of the desired CX. Buyers who participate in creating what they want will pay more and are more committed to follow through with a purchase (Kolsky, ThinkJar).

No matter how compelling your presentation is, buyers’ minds will wander and a very limited amount of information will be retained. Making a formal presentation where you do all the talking is counter-productive. Your presentation should be building buyer desire. The only way to do that is to bring the buyer into it by asking questions, making them think, getting them to visualize the future state with your product, and enjoying the two-way dialogue. If possible, make it a hands-on presentation with your buyer using or experiencing your product.  

What is the most important skill needed to make better sales presentations?

To make better sales presentations, master the art of asking questions. Questions enable you to:

  • Create an enjoyable Customer Experience with two-way dialogue.

  • Get the buyer participating in creating what they want and committed to it.

  • Guide the buyer into visualizing what the future would be like with your product.

  • Keep the buyer’s full attention throughout the presentation.

  • Build buyer desire for your product as you use buyer responses to personalize the offer.

  • Relax because the spotlight will not be on you for an extended period of time.

  • Find out, in advance, what the likely objections are going to be.

  • Gain the buyer’s trust as you interact in a personal, meaningful way.

  • Differentiate yourself from other sellers who pitch and make ho-hum presentations.

  • Magnify buyer needs and potential consequences of inaction.

Asking quality, purposeful questions improves every conversation. Questions are useful at every stage of the sales process. There is an art to asking questions, and it takes practice to ask them well. Rather than working from scripted questions (that frequently fall flat), take the time to learn how to think of and ask questions in any situation without a script.

Questions asked during presentations make the difference between memorable and forgettable. When you ask questions, your presentations will become compelling, not just interesting. You will be able to mobilize your buyers into action if you ask questions that create enjoyable Customer Experiences.

The CONNECT2Sell Blog has been discontinued as our focus has shifted to leadership at every level. Research with buyers demonstrates that buyers respond favorably when sellers show up as leaders. If you'd like to step into your full potential as a leader (and boost sales!), take a look at our free and affordable courses on