Presentation Mistakes Salespeople Make

A great sales presentation grabs your prospect’s attention, holds their interest and makes them want to buy now. A poor presentation costs you the sale. Whether you’re selling to consumers or businesses, avoid these sales-killing mistakes.

1. Being unprepared
Not fully knowing your product, your presentation or your prospect will lose you the sale every time. If you’re not prepared, reschedule the presentation.

2. Ignoring important people
This is one of the biggest complaints of women. (“The salesperson spoke to my husband, not to me.”) Whenever you present to more than one person, you never know who holds the real power. Treat everyone with equal importance.

Unreadable sales slide3. Unreadable slides
Slides that are so packed with data or text that the audience can’t read them are worse than worthless—they cause prospects to question your competence and professionalism. Follow the 6×6 rule: no more than 6 lines on a slide, no more than 6 words on a line.

4. Too long, too technical, too many details
If you lose your prospect’s attention, nothing you say will matter. Give them the minimum amount of information they need to understand the case you’re making. Let them know you have more information available if they’d like it.

5. Talking down to prospects
Some salespeople treat presentations as opportunities to show off how smart they. You may in fact know more than your prospects, but lording it over them will alienate them, not impress them.

6. Reading slides with back to audience
What are you, a narrator or a salesperson? You can’t have a conversation with a projector screen. Place your laptop so you can see its screen and use that as your prompter. Keep in mind, your slides should be talking points, not endless lines of text. (See point #3.)

7. Lack of enthusiasm
If you’re not excited about your product or service, why should your prospect be? Remember, enthusiasm is contagious.

8. Answering questions with questions
This is a stupid tactic that amazingly is still taught in many sales training seminars. The prospect asks, “Can we get it in blue?” and the salesperson is taught to respond, “Do you want it in blue?” Of course they want it in blue! This tactic annoys prospects and makes them feel they’re being manipulated. When someone asks you a direct question, give them a direct answer.

9. No call to action
If you’re not going to ask for the sale, what’s the point of making the presentation?

10. All about the seller, not about the buyer
I once watched a CEO walk out of a sales presentation ten minutes after it began. The salespeople blew their chance by spending the first part of their presentation talking about their company’s history, philosophy, mission statement, etc. Guess what? Nobody cares! Instead, focus your presentation on your prospect: their issues, challenges, opportunities, needs, desires, concerns, values, priorities, etc. Everything you say about your product or service needs to tie directly back to one or more of these things. The most important thing to your prospect is themselves. Show them they’re the most important thing to you as well.

Print this list out and consult it before your next sales presentation. Be sure it’s free of these common errors and your odds of making the sale will greatly improve.