Here’s the bottom line—even the best sales presentation isn’t going to land every sale, but a poorly designed presentation can and will lose sales. Everyone who has given a sales presentation has, at one time, walked out of a meeting or ended a call in disappointment because they weren’t fully prepared. Investing time in an organized presentation helps avoid missed opportunities and increases the probability of gaining a sale.

Began by Building Trust   

With an existing customer, you may have built a relationship of trust. If not, melt the ice, look for common ground, and begin a conversation. For example, if the presentation is at the customer’s office look for mementos of their hobbies and interest such as sports memorabilia, photos, or certificates. Use this to begin a conversation. I’ve developed friendships sharing auto racing stories, talking about family vacations, and disagreeing on whose NFL team was best because I took a moment to review my surroundings.

Tell your customer why your company is trustworthy. It doesn’t have to be a long pitch—just the facts. Like this. “TKO Graphix has designed, fabricated, and installed large format graphics since 1985, we have designers with over 20 years’ experience, state of the art equipment, and more than 100 certified installers.  We continue to work with our very first customer because we build relationships with our partners.” That took 16 seconds.

Talk About Your Customer’s Needs

Don’t put the cart before the horse. Too often sales consultants excitedly list the merits of their wares with little or no consideration if their products solve the prospects problems or fill their needs. Take the time to uncover and discover what’s important to the customer. Ask the customer where their pain is, where they’ve been disappointed, and how you can help. If possible visit their operation, review their website, and learn about the industry.

Offer Solutions 

Once the customer’s needs are understood, determine if you have a solution. If not, can one be created specifically for them? And if not, do you know who can help them? That’s right—if you can’t help them, but you know who might—send them where they may find help. You’ll have built trust for future projects.

If you have the answer, lay it out in simple steps keeping in mind the customer wants to know how your product will fill their needs and solve their problems. Stick to those points, in most cases the customer has little interest in the minutia of how your product is manufactured, shipped, or installed…unless it directly solves a problem for them. Most people don’t want to know how the clock was built—they want to know what time it is.

Make it Affordable

You’d be surprised how often a prospect will share their budget if you simply tell them you want to offer solutions within their budget. But even if you don’t know their budget, you can offer affordable options. Can the project begin small rather than not at all? Are their steps that can be completed, and paid for, as the project moves forward? Share information about any payment and finance terms available.

Ask for the Sale 

Many salespeople misunderstand this. Offering the terms, sending an estimate, or outlining the cost isn’t asking for the order. Asking for the sale shouldn’t be old school hard close brow beating. Simply asking, “How’s that sound?” or “If you have no more questions can we start the ball rolling on this project?” are examples. Put it in your own words, but don’t leave it up to the prospect to ask themselves for the sale.

By taking the time to make these five points part of your presentation, you’ll lower the chance of losing a sale for lack of preparation. Consider this, if a salesperson came to you, built trust, understood your needs, offered a solution, made it affordable, then asked for the order—what would you say?