How to Create an Effective Sales Presentation1
Keri Perocchi and Allen Wysocki2
Introduction salesperson's appearance should not detract from the
presentation (Brody, 2001).
Sales are an integral part of the business world
and one of the most important tasks in a firm. Facial expressions can relay a lot of information
However, sales can often be complicated. This to the customer about the salesperson throughout the
document will detail the elements involved in presentation (e.g., confidence in the product,
creating an effective sales presentation. This includes boredom, or genuine concern for the customer). The
preparing yourself for the presentation, planning and salesperson should remember to make regular eye
preparation of the presentation, and the actual contact and use hand gestures to emphasize a point,
presentation. but should never sway, fidget, or cross his arms.
Preparing Yourself Vocal
According to Marjorie Brody, when preparing There are six vocal cues to remember when
for a sales presentation, the salesperson needs to think delivering a presentation: pitch, volume, rate, punch,
of the three V's: Visual, Vocal, and Verbal. These are pause, and diction (Brody, 2001). It is important to
communication signals that can be practiced before, remember that it is not what you say, but how you
and delivered during the presentation (Brody, say it. Practice simple vocal exercises so that your
2001). voice will remain at a steady and relaxed level in front
of customers. Vocal cues are used to keep the
Visual customer interested and to prevent the salesperson
from speaking in monotones. Make sure that the
Appearance is vital to the presentation. Even if presentation can be easily heard, that key words are
the dress code is casual for the customer, the emphasized, and that the pace of the presentation is
salesperson should dress professionally. While easy to follow. Practice these six vocal cues with a
dressing too professionally will not hurt the sale, friend, spouse, or colleague.
dressing too casually may. Clothes should be
conservative, well fitting, and comfortable. The
1. This document is SN002, one of a series of the Food and Resource Economics Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date January 2002. Reviewed October 2008. Visit the EDIS Web Site at
2. Keri Perocchi, graduate student in the Master of Agribusiness program, and Allen Wysocki, assistant professor, Department of Food and Resource
Economics, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and
other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex,
sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service,
University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A. & M. University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Larry
How to Create an Effective Sales Presentation 2
Verbal planning sheet that helps identify key information
about the customer. This information could include
To prevent weakening the salesperson's position, the key contact's name, objective of the call,
keep the following points in mind: avoid long, potential needs or problems, potential questions to
rambling sentences (e.g., use descriptive language determine needs or problems, appropriate
and short sentences), avoid using buzz words and testimonials, and prepared answers to any objections
jargon (e.g., words that only used within a specific that the customer may raise. Space should also be left
industry), and avoid tag questions and qualifiers for new questions that may arise during the
(e.g., "I think this is a good product, don't you?). presentation and may be helpful later.
Keep the points focused and do not use expressions
such as “umm”, “like”, and “you know”, The style of the presentation should be
which detract from the presentation and may cause interactive. The most effective way to accomplish
the customer to lose focus. this is by involving the customer in a dialogue-type
Planning and Preparation
Gaining the Customer's Attention
Planning for a presentation helps the salesperson
to be organized, prepared, and confident. When Gaining and maintaining the customer's
planning for a presentation, it is helpful to think of attention is crucial. To facilitate this, ask questions,
the presentation as having three main features: let the customer have physical contact with the
content, style, and rapport. These are necessary for a product, use interesting anecdotes, explore the
good presentation. For instance, it is of little benefit customer's needs and propose workable solutions,
to have good content (e.g., facts to enhance the offer powerful evidence of why the customer needs
product) without style if there is no rapport between your product or service, and physically demonstrate
the salesperson and the customer. Similarly, it is of your product or service (Cathcart, 2001). These
little use to have great style and rapport with the strategies involve the customer with the product and
customer if there is no content. should help lead to a sale.
Analyzing What the Customer Wants The Actual Presentation
When preparing for a presentation, the There are many ways to make a sale, but it takes
salesperson needs to remember that all customers are time. The salesperson should always time the
not the same and that they respond differently to price presentation so that the customer never feels "rushed"
(what the buyer pays) and value (what the buyer into making a decision. Rushing the customer due to
gets). This information is important in making sales other time commitments will usually hurt the seller
presentations to customers and can be determined (Davis, 2000).
with a little “pre-call probing”. Few sales will be
made unless the customer believes that value Make sure to ask if anything has changed since
outweighs cost. Make sure to ask open-ended the customer and salesperson last met. This will help
questions, and then listen to the answers. This will avoid going down the wrong path in the presentation.
help to focus more on the needs of the customer, not Also, ask where the customer is in the
the product. Also, when creating content, it is decision-making process. This will help the
important to address the question that every salesperson determine the likeliness of making a sale
consumer has: “What's in it for me?” (Cathcart, that day (or scheduling another appointment for later)
2001). and whether there is other competition involved.
After determining the dominant buying value, or Try to begin the presentation with a quick review
what is most important about the product to the of the goals and objectives of the customer's firm.
customer, the salesperson can plan the presentation to This will help focus the presentation and let the
stress this value. Many salespeople use a guide or customer know that the salesperson is interested in
the customer's needs.
How to Create an Effective Sales Presentation 3
The salesperson should use visuals to gain the
customer's attention and give focus to the
presentation. Visuals often help to illustrate key
points and help build rapport between the salesperson
Be concise and factual. The customer will feel
more comfortable buying from the salesperson if he
feels that the salesperson is straightforward and
Using a well-planned and interactive presentation
should convey how the benefits of the product
outweigh the costs. Always summarize the benefits
of the product to the customer. This will allow the
salesperson to recap how the product meets the needs
of the customer. Once this is done, the customer may
send signals indicating that he is ready to make a
purchase; and once the customer agrees, the
salesperson can ask for the sale.
Brody, Marjorie CSP, CMC. “You can't sell
anything if you can't sell yourself.”
Date visited: November 17, 2001.
Cathcart, Jim. “How to make winning
Date visited: November 11, 2001.
Davis, Kevin. “Nine secrets for winning sales
Date visited: November 5, 2001.