Are you still struggling to win over clients and make sales? Four entrepreneurs share with SME South Africa the presentation skills they swear by.
- Aletta Rochat, speaker, trainer, author and public speaking coach.
- Juanita Vorster, founder and strategist at At That Point, a PR and communications services company.
- Hennie Ferreira, co-founder and CEO of Osidon, a tech company and online digital accountant for businesses.
- Tamryn Sher, a freelance PR manager and social media manager, and a beauty and lifestyle blogger at It’s a SHER Thing.
Here are their must-know presentation tips to help you close the deal:
Aletta Rochat – “Reassure your customer”
1. Make sure your message is clear
Clarity of message is vital to the success of a presentation. Most entrepreneurs have a wealth of information about their service or topic. They are experts in their field. In other words, they are familiar with the user-manual level of detail for their product or service. By contrast, their potential customers are not experts. They are often looking for the quick-start guide.
2. Create a core message
My best suggestion to identify your core message is to think of a t-shirt slogan. If you only had ten words for your entire presentation, what would those ten words be? Can you make those ten words interesting, memorable and repeatable? To get there, write down twenty ten word statements. Don’t filter or judge them at this stage. From there, identify the best statement and see if you can improve it. Once you have that, design your presentation around that statement.
3. Cut out the jargon
They (the audience) need to know the benefits of the product and what problem the product will solve for them. They don’t want or need [to know] the highly technical details (at least not at first). They want enough information to take the next step. They are often also looking for credibility or social proof that others like the product or service.
4. Focus on the client
For the entrepreneur, he or she has to ensure that the presentation is relevant to the potential customer. By proactively answering any concerns of objections, you can reassure your customer and build credibility at the same time.
The more a client can see proof that you know how to adapt to their specific needs, the easier they will find it to sign on the dotted line
Juanita Vorster – “Adapt to their specific needs”
5. Develop the skill to “read the room”
This skill will enable you to change your sales pitch or presentation to align as closely as possible to what the client needs and understands. The more a client can see proof that you know how to adapt to their specific needs, the easier they will find it to sign on the dotted line.
6. Use storytelling
I’ve started jotting down stories/examples/comparisons/revelations that I can pull from when I prepare for a presentation. Using a story during a sales presentation often helps the audience or client relate a lot better to the experience they will have using the solution the entrepreneur is offering.
7. Develop self-confidence
It is often not a lack of preparation that makes presenting to others hard, but a lack of confidence. Entrepreneurs can therefore benefit greatly from reminding themselves – before they deliver a presentation – of all the obstacles they have overcome in their journey, or the last great client success they had.
8. Record yourself delivering the presentation
Then watch it while making notes on what you would like to change.
Hennie Ferreira – “Win clients over with your authenticity and confidence”
9. Learn how to sell your product/service
If you are good at sales, you are able to motivate people to buy into your ideas and what you have to offer.
If an opportunity for a presentation comes your way, take it. This will also build your confidence
10. Use analogies and comparisons
Use examples of everyday items/situations to explain your ideas. It will help your audience remember what you said.
11. Be yourself
Clients are people and people relate to real people. Even if your grammar and language skills aren’t perfect, you can win clients over with your authenticity and confidence.
12. Practice your presentation skills often
If an opportunity for a presentation comes your way, take it. This will also build your confidence. The more you do it, the better you will get.
13. Look the part
Make sure you focus on your own presentation (body language, dress code, etc.), not only on the slides you have prepared. How you sell something and how you come across is very important.
14. Speak clearly
Even if you make mistakes, speak clearly. If you articulate well and speak loudly enough for your audience to hear, the chances of getting through to them are better.
15. Manage your time effectively
If you maintain your focus, stick to the point, and make sure you don’t drone on for hours, your chances of captivating your audience are better.
People want to be as excited as you are
Tamryn Sher – “Show that you are prepared”
16. Practice breathing exercises
I take a series of deep breathes to calm my central nervous system down and stop that little adrenaline rush you often feel when you’re super nervous/anxious.
17. Get your mind right
Remember that everyone in that room wants you to succeed, no one wants to see you fail. Any questions they ask is to better understand your idea. They are not trying to trip you up.
18. Make eye contact
Try to make eye contact with everyone in the room, individually. It makes them feel connected to you and it makes them pay attention too, as though you’re talking to them and not just talking to a room. If you struggle to make eye contact, look at people but look at their foreheads if you cannot look them in the eye.
19. Remember to use your tone and body language to communicate
No one wants to listen to a monotone, monotonous presentation. Use different pitches of your voice throughout the presentation, look excited and smile when presenting certain ideas. Sound excited about what you are presenting as that automatically peaks interest. People want to be as excited as you are. Keep it in check though, you don’t want to look like you’re performing in a play.
20. Don’t read your presentation
Be prepared. Know it so well that you can look at the slide and speak to it. This shows that you are prepared, you know what you’re talking about and that your enthusiasm is genuine.