• Do write a script for a standard sales presentation. Consider this a work
in progress, one that you’ll refine after each presentation. Here are some
• Start with a strong introduction that focuses on your client’s needs and
• Show your designs in descending order from strongest to weakest.
This is your best shot at getting your client’s attention from the very
start. If your presentation is interrupted, your client has seen your best
work (and heard your strongest interpretation) already.
• For each design you present, focus on client benefits and problem solving.
(Organize these from most important benefits and issues to least important.)
• Use your client’s industry terminology and business jargon.
• Keep your presentation simple and brief; figure out the crucial persuasive
material and edit out the rest.
• Conclude by asking for the business.
• Do develop a customized script for each presentation. Your standard
script will help you organize and focus your specific presentation.
• Learn more about the company culture. Do the decision makers prefer
formal or informal presentations? (See primary research guidelines on
• Check on and practice the correct pronunciation of your clients’ names
and products. Your mispronunciations indicate your inadequate attention
to details and can be the deal-breaker.
• Anticipate the questions and objections your client might raise and come
up with responses in advance. Ask a colleague or friend to play the devil’s
advocate, so you’ll be prepared for whatever your client throws at you.
• Do find out who else has been invited to present. Who is your competition?
A simple phone call or e-mail should be sufficient to get this information.
• Do make notes in the form of an outline, bulleted sheet, or notecards
for reference (not direct reading!) during your presentation. Format
it in a large pitch (about eighteen) so you can find your place.
Number all cards or pages in a different colored ink in case they
get out of order.
• Do run through at least one dress rehearsal with your visuals before the
• Don’t memorize your script. Instead, learn it thoroughly by practicing
repeatedly. This will help you maintain the flow and return to your
place when you’re interrupted for questions. (Remember, use your reference
notes as a prompt, not a crutch.)
• Don’t be overly concerned about your preperformance nervousness.
Any actor will tell you that what you’re feeling is normal nervous
energy. If you prepare well and trust the process, you can transform that
adrenaline rush into enthusiasm during your presentation. (See page 79
for relaxation exercises.)