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Abstract success. Blue arrow in target (done in 3d)What is the difference between an ineffective and effective presentation? The answer might not be as obvious as you think.

In general, those solely containing information based on features and capabilities will reduce sales people’s ability to increase margins and the ability to capture market share. The prospect sees no real difference in your offering and moves on to the quote.

The good news? There is a solution. Follow these five tips to improve your sales presentation:

1) Set objectives prior to the meeting and get other key decision makers in the room. When you establish clearly defined objectives before the meeting, you can begin to control the outcome. More importantly, you establish more commitment.

2) Does your audience have an interest to buy on price? Be sure you tailor your PowerPoint to match the audience.

3) Change your content to reflect all impact-oriented results that are backed up by case studies or real-life examples. Begin with one slide describing a position you want to dominate in the market that has long-term impacts for the prospect. Then establish three strong meeting objectives designed to take the sale to the next level. Secondly, spell out clearly how you have impacted similar companies. Sell a process instead of capabilities. Set up a section that speaks directly to their issues and how your product or service might alleviate them. Lastly, have action steps to gain commitment and determine their real interest as well as their desire to take action.

4) Develop engaging questions driven towards addressing needs. Create a list of questions for every slide designed to speak to their challenges and gain a clearer understanding of the prospect’s issues and desires.

5) Develop strong action steps. You must establish a mechanism to move the sale to the next level. Your last slide MUST have the action steps listed in order to establish commitment. A quote is not the outcome you want. If you establish a meeting, lock in the date. Do not leave with a general commitment.

Remember, a presentation is just one element of the selling process. Sales people need to have a solid sales process behind the presentation. They must be able walk the walk. A solid performance, and presentation, can mean the difference between landing a new account or not.