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Successful sales presentations

There are some simple tips for you to remember when making a sales presentation:

* Work out the key message you want the audience to remember. Always focus on the needs of the customer. For example, if you're talking to a managing director about a new software package, you might stress how it will save time. When speaking to employees, you might emphasise how it would make their jobs easier.
* Most people recall most clearly what is said at the beginning and end, so build your key points into these sections.
* Organise what you want to say into sections, building up a logical case to buy your goods or services.
* Think about any objections or points the audience might raise and make the responses part of the presentation.
* Find facts and figures that support your argument, such as similar businesses that have already benefited from your product or service.
* Make sure you know the products and services of your competitors as well as your own and be ready to answer questions.
* Avoid asking anyone to hold or wait for you to find out something, as most will not take kindly to being told to be silent. A really confident speaker can take questions on the hoof and come across as completely customer-focused.

Summing up for action

* Distribute handouts only at the end of the presentation so your audience stays focused on you while you're speaking. Handouts can not only summarise what you've said, but also include additional material, case studies, product samples, marketing literature and contact details.
* If you're using presentation technology such as PowerPoint, make sure you've got handouts of all the screens. You will also need them if you have technical problems.
* When you've dealt with any queries, establish the next steps, such as asking if they want to order or arrange another meeting. If any follow-up is required, ensure you do this as soon as possible.