Closing a Sale Through a Successful PowerPoint Presentation

Presentations are the way many products and services are sold. The effectiveness of your presentation determines your success. Yes, you also need to find a lead, set an appointment and follow-up, but the presentation is key.

Below are some thoughts about the components of a successful sales presentation:

You have the solution to your potential customer’s problem. If you can’t meet your potential customer’s need, you can give the greatest presentation, but you probably won’t get the sale. Of course, it isn’t ethical to con him/her into thinking you have a solution when you don’t. You clearly explain how your offering can solve the problem of your potential customer If you don’t explain clearly, you may have a solution, but you won’t get far. This is why presentation preparation is so important. When you prepare, check that your message is organized and clear. State the problem simply and completely, based on questions you asked earlier or o questions you ask during the presentation. Then show how your product or service can solve your potential customer’s needs.

Be sure to provide supporting data to validate your solution. Even with a great solution, how do you ensure that people believe you? This is the important art of persuasion. As you show your solution, you must connect all that you say to their problem and back it up with both hard — facts and figures – and soft data — testimonials, your experience, and current customer names they might know., Be sure to convey how your solution will make them feel. Relieved? Less stressed out? Happy to reduce costs or increase profit? A positive emotion is a requirement for making a decision.

Your visuals are clear. Your slides must be crystal clear. Did you know that people can’t read and listen at the same time? So, if you use slides full of text, they’ll read them while you’re talking and won’t hear what you’re saying-that isn’t clear communication! Diagrams and charts should be easy to understand and not contain irrelevant content. If you have to provide highly detailed data in a spreadsheet, have a handout so your audience can follow along easily. Don’t provide unnecessary data during the presentation. Instead, leave supplemental content as a handout, if your potential client wants to review it before making a decision. Make sure that all text is legible and use animation only if shows a process. Use only high-quality photos and. avoid loud backgrounds. Put one point on a slide and backs up that point with a photo, diagram, or chart-this is called the Tell ‘n’ Show Method.

You connect with your audience. Think of your presentation as a two-way conversation, especially if you are speaking to a small group. Meet their eyes, ask and answer questions, be friendly and natural-think of it as an interactive presentation. Your potential customer will buy from you as a person not a presenter.

What Annoys Audiences About PowerPoint Presentations?

When you prepare to deliver your next PowerPoint presentation, your audience should be first on your list of considerations. Unfortunately, too many presenters annoy their audiences. An online survey of 688 people who regularly see PowerPoint presentations revealed the following top annoyances (item and what percentage of the respondents cited that item as one of their top three annoyances):

The speaker read the slides to us 62.0%

Text so small I couldn’t read it 46.9%

Slides hard to see because of color choice 42.6%

Full sentences instead of bullet points 39.1%

Moving/flying text or graphics 24.8%

Overly complex diagrams or charts 22.2%

The top four annoying mistakes are the same as a similar survey done in 2003, suggesting that presenters are not getting much better at presenting clear information in an appealing manner.

The survey also asked for written comments in addition to the ranking and 415 people wrote in with additional ideas. The comments covered a wide range, but most common were three areas:

1. Delivery of PowerPoint Presentations

Many audience members wrote to comment on how the delivery of the PowerPoint presentation was a big problem. The areas of greatest concern were:

a) The use of PowerPoint when another communication method would have been better. Too many times it seems that PowerPoint is the default communication method and people have forgotten that a simple memo or one-on-one conversation would be much better.

b) The presenter is not familiar with how to deliver the presentation using the equipment. Comments cited the lack of knowledge of many presenters on how to smoothly start a presentation and keep the flow going during the presentation when using PowerPoint.

c) The presenter is not prepared to add to what the slides say. This seems to be caused by the presenter not knowing the topic well enough, or the mistaken use of PowerPoint as a teleprompter where the speech is read to the audience (echoing the top annoyance in the ranking).

2. Poor Slide Design

Even when the presenter is prepared and knowledgeable, poor design of the slides causes confusion among audience members. They focused on these areas as the ones of most concern:

a) Poor selection of colors and fonts make the slides hard to see. While a computer has the ability to produce millions of colors and hundreds of fonts, not all of them should be used together. Colors must have enough contrast to be seen and fonts need to be clear and simple in order to be read when projected. If the audience can’t figure out what is being projected, the visuals are of no use.

b) Misuse of the Slide Master and Slide Layout leads to inconsistent appearance of slides during the presentation. Audiences are looking for consistency during the presentation in the look and basic layout of the slides. This makes it easier to follow the presentation. Too often they are guessing as to what the next slide will look like and forced to search on every slide for the relevant ideas.

c) Backgrounds should be clean and not distracting. Audiences find backgrounds that contain numerous graphics, symbols and text distract from the information that is supposed to be central to the slide. They also commented on how stark black on white slides are too bright and need some simple color and design to make them appealing.

3. Overuse of PowerPoint’s features

Each version of PowerPoint seems to contain more and more features designed to make it easier to add flashy graphics, animation and multimedia to presentations. And too many presenters think that just because the feature is there, they should be using it. Audiences were clear that use of animation to entertain instead of inform or adding multimedia audio or video segments to show off the presenters talents were unnecessary and certainly took away from the message being presented.

Millions of Dollars Wasted on Annoying Audiences Each Year
The respondents to the survey were also asked how many presentations they see and how prevalent these annoying mistakes were.. Just over half of the respondents (54%) see 100 or more presentations per year, making them well qualified to identify how often these problems occur. And the news from this group of frequent presentation audience members is not good. One third of this group said that more than half of the presentations they see suffer from these annoying items and another third of this group said at least one in four presentations have annoying elements. This suggests that a significant percentage of the estimated 30 million PowerPoint presentations done each day fall in to the annoying category. An annoying presentation wastes the time of the people attending and causes enormous rework as ideas are not clearly communicated. This wasted time adds up to tens of millions of dollars each year. And this is money that can be saved by creating and delivering better PowerPoint presentations.

What Can Be Done?

Presenters need to focus on three things that will help them communicate more clearly when using PowerPoint:

1. Prepare a simple slide design with contrasting colors and clear fonts. Use a similar layout for each slide so that the presentation is consistent in appearance for the audience.

2. Simplify the content of your slides. Use less text, more graphics and try to do less on each slide. Keep the slides focused and the audience will be able to follow your message much better.

3. Prepare yourself for the presentation. Learn how to use the equipment and know your subject well enough that you presentation becomes a conversation with the audience instead of reciting a speech.

If you keep the audience as the central focus of your presentation, with a goal to clearly communicate with them, you can greatly improve your PowerPoint presentations.

Is Your Sales Presentation Balanced?


Logic and emotion are the two elements that make for perfect persuasion. We can be persuaded using only logic or only emotion, but the effect will be short-term and unbalanced.

Emotions create movement and action. They generate energy during the presentation and get prospects to act on the proposal being presented. The challenge with relying exclusively on emotion to persuade your prospect is that after she has left the persuasive situation, her emotions fade, leaving her with nothing concrete to fall back on. Logic plays the role of creating a foundation for emotion. This balance between logic and emotion could be called the twin engines of persuasion and influence. Master Persuaders know that each audience and individual has a different balance between logic and emotion. Your analytical type personalities need more logic than emotion. Your amiable personalities require more emotion and less logic. Always remember, you have to have both elements present in your message, regardless of the personality types listening.

Whereas logic is the language of the conscious mind, emotion is the language of the unconscious mind. We know that emotions are reactions to perceived and imagined stimuli, not based on logic, but on one’s own personal experiences. Emotions often outweigh our logic. Imagine placing a plank of wood on the ground and walking its length a few times. Easy enough, right? But suppose you placed it a hundred feet in the air between two buildings. You know you can walk that plank–you just did it over and over again. Yet now, emotions and fears outweigh logic. Your “what-ifs” and your imagination supersede the concrete knowledge of your ability to walk the plank.

In his book Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman asserts that understanding emotions is more pertinent to leading a successful life than having a high intelligence. Often people of high IQ struggle at work because of their weaknesses in fundamental human relation skills. Goleman calls this skill “emotional intelligence.” He emphasizes that emotional intelligence largely determines our success in relationships, work, and even physical wellness. Emotional intelligence “is a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” Emotional intelligence includes emotional management, personal motivation, empathy, self-awareness, and social skills.

When you are persuading someone, emotions provide the springboard for a successful execution of your argument. In fact, I would even say emotions are the energy and very fuel of the persuasion process. Without tapping into your audience’s emotions, there is no strength or energy in your message. Emotion is a power you can harness and use in practically every aspect of persuasion. Remember, logic is important, but emotion helps you catapult an otherwise dull or flat exchange to the next level.

Consider the following advantages of emotion over logic:

1. Arousing the emotions of your audience engages your listeners and distracts them from your intention to influence and persuade.

2. Emotion requires less effort than logic. Logic solicits cognitive effort, whereas emotion is automatic.

3. Presentations aimed at engaging the audience’s emotions are usually more interesting than logical ones.

4. Emotion-based arguments are often easier to recall than logic-based arguments

5. Emotion almost always leads more quickly to change than logic does.

You must know when to create positive or negative emotions and when to dispel negative emotions. You have to find ways to tap into your prospects’ emotions, such as hope, love, pride, gratitude, and excitement. If you can do this, you can inspire anyone. Decide ahead of time what emotional climate you want to create, capture those emotions within yourself, and you’ll be surprised how you can transfer those emotions to your audience.

When your prospect is worried or preoccupied with something occurring now or that is about to happen in the future, your ability to persuade declines. Worry is feeling anxious, uneasy, or concerned about something that may or will happen, or has already happened. I have heard worry referred to as “negative goal setting.” Anxiety creates tension–a fear that occupies our thoughts, which, if encouraged will grow and continue to dominate our thoughts.
You can combat worry in your prospects by modifying their anxiety into thoughts of reality. Bring them back to reality by having them realize we can’t change many things in life. Stress that most of the things we worry about are those very things we can’t change and won’t likely ever happen in the first place. Help your prospects substitute their negative mental images with positive ones.

Fear is anxiety or tension caused by danger, apprehension, harm, pain, or destruction. The possibility of harm can be real or imagined. Fear motivates and moves us away from unpleasant circumstances or potential destruction. Fear persuades us to do many things we might not otherwise do. Out of fear we buy life insurance, air bags, home alarms, and guns.

Fear does not work in every circumstance, however; if we were solely motivated by fear, we would never speed or start smoking. The proper dose of fear is essential in persuasion. If the dose is too small, it will not stimulate action. If the fear is too large, it will trigger resistance and acceptance will decrease.9 For fear to stick and create action and persuasion, it must include the following steps:

1. The image of fear must be unpleasant, such as threat of pain, destruction, or grief.

2. It must be imminent. Your prospects must feel not only that the fearful event is likely to happen, but also that they could be victimized by its occurrence. They must feel vulnerable.

3. You must provide a solution to the fear. Give your prospects a recommended action to suspend or eliminate the
fear.

4. Your prospects must believe they are capable of doing what is asked of them and that doing so will work for them.

Anger is a secondary emotion. A prospect’s anger is usually an indicator that something else is askew and/or that he needs and wants attention. You can assist in diminishing his anger by determining the key issue he is upset about. It is also often effective to ask for his help, opinions, or advice. This will usually diffuse his anger or even change his attitude and demeanor completely. In some circumstances, you may want to use anger to make a certain point or to evoke a certain reaction.

You can generate action for your cause by creating sympathy for it. When we see others victimized by misfortune that was beyond their control, we feel more sympathetic toward them and more motivated to help them. You’ve probably seen this technique used by marketers when they show you pictures of starving children, battered women, abandoned animals, and disabled adults.

As a Master Persuader you know to use the dual engine of Balance. This dual engine allows you to fly straight and true in any persuasive situation; become a student of both logic and emotion and develop the ability to articulate logic that rings true to your audience; and learn how to use your human emotion radar. It will help you determine important aspects of your audience, such as what your prospects are feeling, what emotions they are trying to hide, and how you can use each of these emotions in the persuasive process. As a Master Persuader you know what emotion to use, when to use it, how to trigger specific emotions, and how to balance the audience’s emotion with logic. Engineer your persuasive message with Balance.

Everyone persuades for a living. There’s no way around it. Whether you’re a sales professional, an entrepreneur, or even a stay at home parent, if you are unable to convince others to your way of thinking, you will be constantly left behind. Donald Trump said it best, “Study the art of persuasion. Practice it. Develop an understanding of its profound value across all aspects of life.”

Conclusion

Persuasion is the missing puzzle piece that will crack the code to dramatically increase your income, improve your relationships, and help you get what you want, when you want, and win friends for life. Ask yourself how much money and income you have lost because of your inability to persuade and influence. Think about it. Sure you’ve seen some success, but think of the times you couldn’t get it done. Has there ever been a time when you did not get your point across? Were you unable to convince someone to do something? Have you reached your full potential? Are you able to motivate yourself and others to achieve more and accomplish their goals? What about your relationships? Imagine being able to overcome objections before they happen, know what your prospect is thinking and feeling, feel more confident in your ability to persuade.

Kurt Mortensen’s trademark is Magnetic Persuasion; rather than convincing others, he teaches that you should attract them, just like a magnet attracts metal filings. He teaches that sales have changed and the consumer has become exponentially more skeptical and cynical within the last five years. Most persuaders are using only 2 or 3 persuasion techniques when there are actually 120 available!