5 Sales Presentation Mistakes to Avoid at All Cost

Having the best product or service in town doesn’t matter if you can’t sell it to people. The nightmare scenario: you’ve set an appointment to pitch your product. However, you notice that just minutes in, nobody shares your enthusiasm. In fact, your audience seems bored, annoyed, or just plain disinterested, and the next thing you know is... the whole thing is flubbed. Welcome to your first brush with sales presentation mistakes.

Committing the same sales presentation mistakes over and over again will lose you more than just your sale. There’s also your confidence and others’ confidence in you.

Attendees’ time is valuable, and if they feel like it’s being wasted, they’re less likely to give you more opportunities in the future. As a company representative, getting a bad review on your presentation often translates into what clients think about the company. Likewise, team morale suffers when time after time they can’t seal the deal. But above all, you lose your opportunity to showcase what makes your product special.

The Five Most Common Sales Presentation Mistakes

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If you’ve ever been part of a team that creates great products and services, you likely know the heartbreak of getting shot down before you can tell your whole story. Never let bad presentations ruin your chance to tell the world about what you offer. Here are some common sales presentation mistakes to be wary of:

1. Avoid Unappealing Designs In Your Presentations

Your visuals matter! An eye-catching design is always a great start to a presentation. At the same time, you don’t want to overload viewers with too many things at once.

Make your images count by using them with clear intent. Images aren’t there just to be filler. Rather, think of visuals as an accompaniment to a song you’re about to sing. Sure, you can probably present your pitch Acappella, but an accompanying orchestra (or in this case, visuals) can help your audience contextualize and digest the information better.

Images are not a filler, but they’re also not a crutch or a cue card for the presenter. Don’t make the mistake of placing a ton of text on your slides to then read from during the presentation. It’s best to highlight key ideas as text and treat your audience with your oral storytelling. If you overload the presentation with text, many will read instead of listening—or worse, do neither.

Avoiding major sales presentation mistakes involves balancing between what catches attention and what supports your sales pitch. Remember to always stay on message, even during the design stage.

2. Don’t Forget To Focus On Benefits As Well As Features

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Features, or benefits: which one should you focus on?

First, let’s make the distinction between the two. Features are what drive the product. They’re the product’s functions and what differentiates a product from competitors. Benefits are what buyers gain when they use your product.

In short, features are the “what” of your product.  Meanwhile, benefits tell the customer why they should buy.

By focusing exclusively on features, your presentation loses out on the opportunity to show clients what they’ll miss should they pass up on the offer to purchase. Buyers are also likely to already have some background knowledge about your product’s features. But you can never give them too many ways your solution will make their lives better.

3. Lack of Structure In the Sales Presentation

Your pitch is a story, and all stories need a strong narrative arc to be compelling. Narrative is what keeps the story flowing. And yet, too often people lose the thread in presentation and go down tangents with no sense of the presentation structure. The further you drift from your main objective, the harder it is to get back on topic.

Know where you’re going with your story from the very beginning of planning. This will help give you an idea of how long your presentation should be, and how much is allotted for each section. A clearly defined narrative structure is also liberating for the presenter! Once you know the general arc of your narrative, you can play within those confines, knowing that you will still stay on track.

4. The Content Is Terribly Boring

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One can be a presentation wunderkind and yet still get bogged down by boring content. No dynamic personality can salvage content organized in a dreary way. Be sure to know what the point of your presentation is, and then organize your content accordingly.

For example, any presentation that opens with a lengthy company overview, introductions and detailed agenda summaries ramble like a run-on sentence. By the time your actual presentation begins, eyes have already glazed, and phones are sneaking out to avoid listening.

Another presentation-killer is the “feature dump,” aka an exhausting list of every single product feature. Remember: this is an opportunity to convert a lead. It’s not a product training session or a technical convention. You’ll have plenty of time for that once you close the deal and set a meeting with the engineering team. Your sales pitch shouldn’t cover more than a basic product overview and some highlighted features while keeping your audience engaged.

5. Using Outdated Sales Presentation Software

PowerPoint has been around for over 30 years and is synonymous with presentations. However, that doesn’t mean it’s what users (presenters or audiences) would find most efficient. Consider: a typical PowerPoint slide contains 40 words. Plus, PowerPoint presentations on average take four hours to complete. This is fine for, say, a graduate class lecture. But for salespeople, PowerPoint is a bit too generous in allocating text, contrived transitions and generic clipart.

Instead of PowerPoint, consider using a less clunky and more powerful modern software like Ingage. Users don’t just read presentations, they interact with them and respond by answering questions. Treat your presentations accordingly, and use software that provides interactive features and collects metrics on audience reactions for next time.

Save Your Sales By Stopping Sales Presentation Mistakes

Don’t let bad presentations stop you from successfully pitching products and services. Upgrading your presentation planning and mitigating these basic sales presentation mistakes can help maximize every face-to-face opportunity you get with clients. Take time crafting your presentation thoughtfully, and plan your content well.

While you’re planning, consider upgrading to modern presentation software like Ingage for your next presentation. Ingage is a cloud-based software designed specifically to assist you in creating thoughtful, dynamic sales presentations. Its user-friendly interface and wealth of interactive options encourage collaborative construction, and the robust analytics features allow you to keep tabs on what parts of your presentations do and don’t work, so you can adjust and adapt in real-time.

Presentation help is just a phone call away. Visit Ingage today to earn more about how great sales presentation software can make all the difference in your next pitch.

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