The Science of Memorable Sales Presentations

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Amanda Sellers
Amanda Sellers



Imagine you have a captive audience, and you're making your pitch to prospects who are perfect for the product/service you're selling. The last thing you want is for their eyes to glass over, indicating that they're absorbing none of the information you're delivering.

sales rep giving a presentation to a group of prospects

We've all fallen victim to a boring presentation at one point or another, but you don't want it to happen at a make-or-break moment in the lifecycle of an important deal.

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The Science of Sales Presentations

When you're the one giving the presentation, that sure isn't the reaction you want from your audience. So what are the tricks for creating a presentation that sticks with people beyond your final slide?

There are a few qualities of good sales presentations you should consider as you create your own:

  • They tell a compelling story.
  • They highlight your value proposition.
  • They're persuasive and prompts action.
  • They align with your audience.

That last point is important because, no matter how good a salesperson you are or how great the opportunity, you won't have success unless you're in the room with the right people.

But let's say you have all those things planned out. How do you translate the message to your slides?

Tips for Making Memorable Sales Presentations

Your slides are the manifestation of your message, so you want them to pack a punch. Here are some tips that will result in a slide deck that makes an impression on prospects.

1. Structure your content.

Audiences value their time and want their presenters to guide them toward a clear "Goal" for the meeting, for time spent to mean something.

In fact, more than a quarter of viewers cite "No clear message" as their top presentation annoyance because it indicates a lack of care for the audience.

Instead, consider following this format:

  • Situation - Our current state.
  • Complication - The problem.
  • Resolution - What we should do about it.

Another sales presentation structure follows this format:

  • The What
  • So What?
  • Now What

Both of these use a three-act format to tell a compelling story and make a point.

2. Use visuals to support your message

Studies have found that people only retain 10-20% of written or spoken information us. 65% of visual information (Sh!ft).

Add this to core research that has found that 65% of the population are visual learners and the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and you have a compelling case for visual imagery's importance.

The best practice is to use imagery that links to the content you're discussing. This helps enhance the information they're receiving verbally

3. Avoid reading from your slides.

64% of audience members are annoyed when presenters simply read the text on their slides (Think Outside the Slide).

Consider your deck as a visual aid rather than the primary source of information.

You should be the focus, instead, engaging your audience with the content and taking ownership of your role as the authority on the subject.

4. Reduce the text on slides in general.

Since you'll want to include imagery and avoid reading from slides, it only makes sense to keep slides short and succinct.

It's even become a best practice with 97% of speakers including less than 60% text in their presentations. Audiences also prefer that slides aren't "overloaded" with information (Think Outside the Slide).

Don't eliminate text slides altogether, but when they're necessary, use headers and bullets to summarize and condense information.

Tools like Beautiful.AI or Canva can help you design cleaner slides with their ready-made templates. 

5. Be creative with data visualization.

Data is important because it rationalizes and validates assertions with logical proof. At the same time, when not incorporated expertly, it can make audiences snooze.

To avoid boring the audience, present data in ways that are visually interesting. Pie charts and bat graphs are an expected staple, so switch things up when you can.

Now that you know the science behind some of the best practice of sales presentation creation, you can make a persuasive deck that captivates prospects and primes them for closing.

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Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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