Pitches are tedious work. The first requirement you need to check off in your list is what you’re going to present. Is it a product or a service? Is it any good? You may think it is, but will whoever buy your offer think the same? The second requirement is usually a visual aid to help your audience envision what you are pitching. It may come in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, a Prezi file, or even a live demonstration. But how would you sell it? How will it guarantee the conversion of your audience into customers?
While there are other items in that checklist, you will want to allot more of your time on fixing your presentation visual aid. While it may be your crutch, your audience will be viewing it on a large screen, reading and simultaneously listening to you (no matter how hard that may be.)
That being said, what’s on your visual aid matters because written communication is still one of the best ways to effectively convey a message. Having your content spell out your message and purpose while you expound on them is a great combination.
Crafting your slides around those two tenets of business makes the whole essence of your enterprise—and by extension, your pitch and product or service—relatable in the fact that your audience knows and understands what your business is. Being honest and transparent is never a bad thing.
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How to Make a Presentation that Sells
Now that you have a principle to uphold in your content, how do you make your slides? What do you include in your presentation, and what do you do to make sure that you’re not wasting your time? Most importantly, how do you win them over? Here are a few reminders.
1. Keep Your Slides Neat and Consistent
It’s a basic reminder of design: if you have elements all over the place, then you’re just making your picture cluttered and difficult to understand. The same goes for PowerPoint presentation design. Put too many pictures, and you distract your audience from your main point. Have too much text, and you bore them. Flashy gimmicks, like fancy presentation transitions, are fine every once in a while, but go overboard and people will just lose interest. Make your slides neat and easy to look at.
(This is a great talk, and well worth watching the rest if you have time)
A good point to include here is Canva Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint, in which he promotes that “a pitch should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.” The 30 part is a way to make sure that only the most important points are in your slide, easily readable even by the people at the back. Your text taking that much space will ensure that your audience will be looking at your point only and listening to your explanation about it.
It’s also a great idea to make your slides consistent. One background across all slides and a certain theme of imagery and colors will make the whole pitch easier to follow. Consistency makes it easier to think that each slide is a smaller part of a whole, a chapter of the same story.
Data presented in an unorderly fashion will be a judgment foothold against you, your business, and your product or service. So put some effort into giving color and life to your slides.
2. Present a Problem and a Solution
Two things will always be in front of your audience: you, the presenter, and your presentation. It doesn’t mean that your audience will only look at you, especially when you consider that there are a million other things around everyone in the room.
This is why you will want their attention on you. One way of doing that is presenting them with a problem—specifically theirs, the one you’re addressing to solve. Show them that you know what their challenge is, and that is already half the battle. What you want them to realize is you understand what they need: a solution.
Lucky for them, you’re there to provide exactly that. Unlucky you, you may not be the first one to come to them and say, “I can solve your problems.” What do you do then to stand out?
Persuade your audience into seeing, experiencing, and believing that your product is the best one out there. Prove that your service is worth their time and money. Impress your customers by going the extra mile. Doing this impresses your customers and adds credibility to your business.
3. Make Your Presentation a Conversation
There’s no denying the existence of noise, especially in sales. With so many companies already trying to sell people their own product, it’s difficult for the masses to keep up. So they tend to ignore what they classify as noise. That includes TV commercials, radio ads, and posters that aren’t really attention-grabbing and/or are just plain mediocre.
The same goes for a pitch that doesn’t say much. It will just be deemed noise, especially when you consider the fact that your audience knows they’re listening to a pitch. This is why Corbett Barr, co-founder and CEO of startup training company Fizzle, says that the best sales pitch is not a sales pitch at all.
There’s no comparing to the power of good, old-fashioned talking. There’s a sense of participation and enjoyment. The fact that they can talk back to you will not go unnoticed. If they give questions, supply your answers. If they have comments and feedback, reply with respect. There’s a feeling of belongingness and togetherness in a conversation that a presenter-audience relationship will not understand.
Presentation and Presence Goes Hand in Hand
While it’s important to remember that on this pitch rides the success of your company, it’s better to keep yourself from thinking about the pressure of failure. It will only be detrimental to the task at hand. Instead, focus on what you can do to make things better. You’re already confident of your skills as a presenter and public speaker, so you’ve got that one covered. What about your visual aid? Is it clean and consistent? Does it answer each and every question of your audience, spoken or otherwise?
If the answer to those questions are yes, then you’ve got nothing to worry about. It’s easier to impress people when you have that confidence and pride because your tools are as perfect as they can be and your skills as polished as possible. Go out there and wow them. Show them you’re the best. Make them believe you’re the best.