You don’t have a big margin for error when you’re presenting to a new prospect. Prospects may already use the product you’re selling. They don’t have to look for another supplier. Investors are also a tough audience to persuade because they get so many requests for funding. You want to avoid these sales presentation mistakes whether you’re presenting to make a sale or presenting to get funding for a business venture.
Mistake #1. Failure to Identify the problem.
An investor told me about a recent presentation he attended. The presenter was looking for funding for a product in the healthcare field. The investor told me about the product and what it would do. While it sounded interesting, I wondered what problem the product was solving. I asked the investor. His answer was surprising. He said, “He never mentioned the problem he was solving.”
It’s almost impossible to get funding for a product when the investor can’t figure out his return on his investment. That return on investment is going to be calculated based on the size of the market, the need for the solution, and the expertise of the team delivering the product. Without a defined problem, it’s very difficult to calculate how big the market is. It’s less likely an investor will grant funding just because he likes the leadership team. This investor was no different. He didn’t fund this product either.
Mistake #2. Failure to engage the listener early in the presentation.
You may have a lot of content to cover in your presentation. What you must do early is engage listeners so they want to hear more. Some presenters make the mistake of giving too much background information at the beginning of their presentation.
Here’s an example. A presentation on a new way to access high quality research includes slide after slide of how research is conducted and funded. You would learn that the government funds most of the research. That’s followed by many statistics about who generates most of the research. None of the statistics are compelling or startling. The presentation would be boring and not engage you so you want to listen to more.
Presenters must engage listeners early in the presentation. Start with less ‘what’ and more ‘why’. Statistics tell the listener what. Instead, grab the listener’s attention and explain why the problem is important.
Imagine the presenter started his presentation with a statement like, “Business professionals need to access research to start a company, develop a new product, or learn about existing technology. Unless you are part of a university, access to research is expensive, limited and difficult to access. The present system to access research isn’t working for business professionals. I have a better solution.”
You would have a business professional’s attention. You must get their attention early in the presentation.
Mistake #3. Failure to control the technology.
You must learn to master technology when you are presenting in today’s Age of Zoom. The last thing you want in a large group is to lose control of the chat function. Consider disabling chat if you think someone or many people in your audience might hijack the function. Muting all participants on entrance is another feature to consider so you can familiarize the audience with their responsibility to unmute and mute themselves. Even small groups can create problems and disturb the presentation when just one person doesn’t mute and then continues to type or make noise during the presentation.
You’ve worked hard enough to get to the point in your sales process to deliver a presentation. You have the best chance to make your presentation a success when you avoid these sales presentation mistakes.