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SALES PRESENTATIONS

• 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

general guidelines.

• Start with a strong introduction that focuses on your client’s needs and

expectations.

• 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

presentation date.

• 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.)