11 Warning Signs Your Sales Presentation Will Fail


Admit it… you’ve wondered.

You’re presenting new products on a regular basis. You’re confident about introducing your company to potential new customers. And quite a few people have told you your presentations are good.

But sometimes you think… could you do better? Could you win more business?

Occasionally you notice your client isn’t listening, but glancing at his watch, or quickly checking his BlackBerry. You know he’s busy. And people can’t pay attention the whole time, or can they?

Is there a way to keep your customers glued to your presentations?

Below follow 11 warning signs that you have to improve your sales presentation skills.

1. You’re waffling about features

You’re presenting this wonderful new product. So you present its new features and discuss its specifications, right?


Your customers aren’t interested in your product. They want to know how they’ll benefit from your new product. What problems is it going to solve? Is it going to save them money or time? Or will it help them grow revenue and profitability? Are you going to make them more productive, happier, or healthier?

Make sure you know your customer’s objectives, and help achieve them.

2. You’re boring as hell

Don’t kill your customer’s interest in your product by boring his boots off. Avoid being long-winded:

  • Ask questions and involve your listeners;
  • Focus on a few key issues only;
  • Explain things step-by-step;
  • Tell stories.

Stories engage. Rather than talking about facts and specs, why not tell a little story about why your product was developed, how your company was founded, or structure your whole presentation like a story? Connect with your consumer using stories.

3. You think a presentation pro doesn’t need much preparation

You’re a presentation pro, aren’t you? You present regularly. Your presentations are well received. And your presentation comes across as natural as long as you don’t over-prepare.

This is what professional presenter Nancy Duarte says:

(…) for an 18-minute talk, we took approximately 18 hours to rehearse. An hour a minute? That’s probably fair for someone who’s a professional presenter like me. A less seasoned speaker may need more!

Don’t fool yourself by saying you’re a natural presenter. You’re winging it. Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse.

4. You sound sleazy

What makes a sales man sound sleazy?

Focusing too much on your product makes you pushy. Instead, be helpful. Try solving your customer problems. Educate and become a trusted advisor.

5. You’re not anticipating objections

What are the objections to buying your product or service?

If you want to get the sale you need to overcome all potential objections. Prepare your presentation by brainstorming all potential objections your customer may have. If possible ask a few colleagues to join in your preparations.

Ensure you’re able to clarify each objection. And be honest. You can’t hide your problems on the web, so you might as well be upfront.

6. You stick to your corporate presentation

Why use just one standard corporate presentation for each of your customers?

Adapt your presentation to your customer requirements. Is he part of a big or small organization? Which industry is he in? Is he focused on product details or the big picture? Does he appreciate your humor?

Choose relevant examples and case studies. And consider the specific problems your customer faces and how he will benefit from your product or service.

7. Your template sucks

Should your audience pay attention to your information or your template?

To increase the impact of your presentation, your slides need to look professional. Your template shouldn’t overpower the information on your slides:

  • Reduce your color scheme to two or three colors;
  • Include plenty of white space;
  • Use only one or two different fonts;
  • Reduce the size of your corporate logo.

Each slide should be like a billboard with just one clear message. And keep animations to a minimum.

8. Your slides are like an amusement park

Slides with text, more than one picture, arrows or graphs are distracting. Your audience doesn’t know where to look.
Ensure your slides are simple:

  • Explain just one concept on each slide;
  • Reduce the amount of text;
  • Have slides with an image only;
  • Ensure graphs are easy to understand.

Complicated slides distract your audience and prevent them from listening to you. People can’t read and listen at the same time.

9. You underestimate the power of images

Do you think image just make your slides look fun? Think again:

10. You think presenting means sharing information

To sell something you have to inspire your audience.

You won’t just read text from your slides, will you?

Show the value of your product. Share your passion for your product, because your passion is contagious. Become persuasive.

11. You’re a bad time keeper

Everyone is busy, so tell your customer how long your presentation will take. He’ll appreciate it.

Don’t waffle on. Ensure you don’t exceed the agreed time limit. Your customer hates it when he’s late for his next meeting because you’re rambling on. Get to the point.

The truth about sales presentations

I’d like to tell you presenting is easy. And that you’re a natural presenter because you’re extrovert. But the truth is that becoming a pro at sales presentations is hard work.

Ask honest feedback from someone you trust. And take their advice on board. Everyone can always get better at presenting.
Prepare your presentations. Rehearse them. And rehearse them even more.

Remember the goal of your presentation and work towards it. Eliminate all details that are irrelevant. And let your passion shine through, because your enthusiasm is contagious.

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You might also be interested in:

The Six Most Persuasive Words to Use in Your Sales Presentation

Fileboard’s Guide To A Killer Sales Presentation – Part One: Casing the Customer

Fileboard’s Guide To A Killer Sales Presentation – Part Two: Constructing the Slide Deck

Fileboard’s Guide To A Killer Sales Presentation – Part Three: Delivering Your Presentation

Fileboard’s Guide To A Killer Sales Presentation – Part Four: The Art Of The Follow-Up