10 Sales Presentation Disasters to Avoid

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Remember the time you raced through your sales presentation with sweaty palms and awkward silences where you anticipated questions? That was awful–and unfortunately only one of a ton of different sales presentation blunders we’ve witnessed over the years. From being ill-prepared for questions to poor Internet connections, here are the top 10 sales presentation disasters you’ll want to avoid.

1. The Great Talking Head Debate
Audiences can spot a novice sales presentation from a mile away because it usually looks like the entire script is written on the slide. Avoid forcing your attendees to suffer through an hour of boredom by keeping only main points on the slides and the rest of the text in your notes. For extra emphasis, try to illustrate as many main points as possible through imagery and infographics instead of text.

2. Where Is That Cloud Anyway?
Uploading presentations in the cloud sounds great since you can access them from anywhere–until your next sales presentation is in a Wi-Fi free dead zone. Clouds? What clouds? Make sure you backup your data on a thumb drive just in case.

3. Practice Makes Perfect–Or At Least Understandable
Expert sales presenters don’t wing it–they’ve practiced their presentations to a fault before getting in front of audiences. This is why you’ll never hear their presentations broken with “Ums”, “Yups”, and “Uhs”. Practice helps eliminate these bad habits, which can be extremely distracting to your audience. The last thing you want is the first take away comment to be “Wow that guy said ‘Um’ a lot!”.

4. Do You Have An Answer For Everything?
You may not, but make sure to be prepared with a well thought out response for when you find yourself without an answer. If you will have to refer to research not on hand or crunch new numbers, be ready to explain how and when you will be able to get back to them. It makes a big difference and will keep you from getting caught off guard.

5. It’s Yours So Own It
Avoid delivering a dry, cold sales presentation because you’re afraid to convey personality or emotion. If you care about what you’re explaining then you need to show it through a passionate delivery of your information. Put your personality in it while keeping it professional to really get your audience involved and interested.

6. Dancing Cats Are Great–Not
All those animations you spent hours scouring YouTube for looked great until the presentation kept crashing and forced a close. Be careful how much space and power you need to boot your presentation, and keep animations and fancy graphics to a minimum. And seriously, lose the cat.

7. Not All Projections Are Created Equal
Your gray scale modern color scheme looked amazing on your monitor last night, but the projector screen for the sales presentation makes the white text look awfully similar to the gray background–and renders the presentation virtually illegible. If you aren’t familiar with the projector you’ll be using, stick to bold contrasts and simple color palettes.

8. Is Your Computer Feeling Sleepy?
Including several long discussion pauses in your sales presentation is great–until your computer goes to sleep or your screensaver turns on, highlighting your last kayaking adventure slide reel. Keep it professional by turning off sleep modes and screensavers before your meeting.

9. Don’t Blink!
We’re kidding, go ahead and blink. However, be mindful of what non-verbal gestures are communicating to your audience. Make eye contact when possible, smile where appropriate and use non-verbal gestures to connect with engaged members–or keep them engaged. Be especially sure to convey you’re comfortable with both presenting and the information you’re discussing as it will help your message resonate with your audience.

10. Customizations Are Great–But What’s Your Name Again?
Sally’s name is all over the slide, complete with her company logo and forecast numbers for your amazing sales presentation. Which would be great if you weren’t meeting with Harry. Last but not least, if you’re presenting a customized sales presentation, make sure that every single custom reference has been updated for your sales presentation.