Secret to a Successful Sales Presentation? Target your audience


Most sales professionals are capable of giving sales pitch presentations; unfortunately, many are tiresome and irrelevant. The simplest way to avoid giving a mundane presentation is to target your audience. Generic sales presentations never have the same impact as those that are tailored.

Typically, however, an audience includes multiple types of people, which means you will need to address several different agendas.

Accounting and purchasing professionals, for instance, will focus on cost. CFOs and accountants are often incentivized almost entirely on cost, but this is a short-term, short-sighted “solution.” It might be worthwhile to mention that the cheapest vendors often peddle an inferior product or service, which entails additional cost later. Purchasing a lower-priced product that routinely breaks down or underperforms is nothing to boast about. Why save a dollar today, only to spend five more tomorrow (with egg on your face)? Buying again and again is no bargain; purchasing inadequate goods and services impedes productivity and destroys efficiency.

Among your listeners may also be high-level executives, including CEOs. They are interested in strategy and the “big picture,” and don’t care to get bogged down in minutiae. They are not engineers, so they probably do not care to endure an excruciatingly detailed explanation of your product line’s specs. They want to hear a broad overview of your product or service, and perhaps a bit about assessment tools—updates, feedback, benchmarks, and the like. Plan your remarks accordingly.

Many sales professionals, frankly, fear an increase in their workload. They believe they are overwhelmed as is, and dread the prospect of additional tasks. Rest assured, some of these folks will be present during your presentation. Put them at ease: “Here are the administrative responsibilities, and they’re minimal.” Emphasize the fact that the implementation of your product or service entails very little effort.

A generic presentation may be 80 percent effective, but discovering the composition of your audience—determining to whom you will be speaking—and tailoring your remarks accordingly, drives that number closer to 100 percent. A presentation that addresses the objectives of a particular business, and provides salient information to every individual involved, is relevant, practical, and interesting. Your audience will appreciate the extra effort.

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