4 Hacks That Will Take Your Sales Presentations from “Meh!” to “Whoa!”

If you’ve been selling SEO services for some time, then I’m sure you already know it… You know how important it is to engage prospects during a sales pitch.

You know that to convince them to hire you; you need to get them to trust you and believe you.

And you know that the best way to do it is by showing them a sales deck, a PowerPoint presentation, to help you make your case.

What you probably don’t know, though, is that just talking about the benefits of SEO or your company won’t keep prospects at the edge of their seat… Nor will it make them reach for the checkbook… Luckily, this problem is easy to overcome. And in this post, I’ll show you four hacks that will transform your sales presentations from “meh!” to “dammit, we need to hire these guys NOW!”. So, let’s begin.

Hack #1. Change the Focus from You to Them

It’s a common misconception: Since you’re pitching your services, then it’s only logical that the presentation should focus on your agency, your achievements and results.

But these are exactly the things your prospect doesn’t care about!

If you want to convince a prospect to hire your agency and position SEO as the only solution they need to overcome their problem, then the last thing you should be talking about is you.

Let’s face it… Your cumulative years of experience, awards or breakthrough work you did for some company years ago mean nothing to them. Your prospects want you to tell them only one thing – can you help THEM.

That’s the fundamental question you should focus on in your presentation. To answer it, your sales deck should communicate four things: Identify your target audience and their problem. Start your presentation by mentioning your audience’s hopes, fears, and pain points. The best way to do it is by asking them questions that relate to the above.

Why?

Because questions grab our attention. Our brains are naturally wired to notice and respond to questions. No matter how distracted your prospect might be during the presentation, seeing a question on the screen will automatically bring their focus to it.

Mark Johnstone, who used to work as an SEO consultant at Distilled, includes just a single question on the first two slides of his presentation. I only include a screenshot of the first slide below but do check the entire slide deck. It’s a great example of how to open it by referencing a prospect’s pain points and create engagement. Convince them that you understand their problem.

In the next couple of slides, show proof that you understand the prospect’s situation. This could be some data, statistic or an example that’s relevant to their situation. Slides That Rock use a couple of slides to highlight typical mistakes companies make while pitching to their clients.

Check out the entire presentation to see the rest. Show how SEO could help solve it. You’ve outlined that you understand your prospect’s problem. So now, show that what you offer (i.e. SEO services or whatever else you’re pitching) could help them overcome the problem or at least improve their current situation. And finally, back up your claims with a case study. Prove your prospect that whatever you said is true and that the solution you’re suggesting works.

You can do it easily by offering a case study, stats, and data to prove your point. For more great insight into shifting the focus from you to them, check out this fantastic presentation by Slides that Rock

Hack #2. Let Visuals Do Most of the Talking

Tempting, isn’t it? You have so much to say to a prospect, and you want to make sure that they remember it. So you pack each slide with bullet points, facts, graphs, and other data. And potentially end up with something like this… (image source)

But here’s the trick: You stand a far greater chance for prospects to remember your message if you use visuals to communicate it, rather than words. Sure, bullet points make content easy to scan. But they don’t connect with a prospect on the emotional level. They’re just plain boring. Full stop.

However, visuals like images, photos or graphics can evoke an emotional response far better than text and communicate a more complex information.

One reason for that is that our brains process visuals much faster than text. For example, we can get the sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10 of a second. Also, it only takes us 150ms for a symbol to be processed and 100ms to attach a meaning to it. We’re more used to visual communication too. Almost 50% of human brain’s activity is involved in visual processing. (see the full infographic here)

That’s one reason why we’re more likely to remember slides like this one as opposed to the example I showed above. (source) When putting together your presentation, include images that might spark an emotional response from a prospect along with no more than a single line of text.

Hack #3. Use Stories to Build Emotional Connection

You can construct your presentation in one of the two ways: List all the facts and data in order, and let the prospect make the sense of it. Or… Convert them into a story to which they could relate. And guess which approach works best… After all, stories are the best way to teach, engage, and persuade. What’s more, a team of scientists at Princeton University has proved that stories bring people together.

The team conducted MRI scans of a woman telling a story, recording her brain activity as she was sharing the story. Then they got a group of people to listen to the recording of the woman’s story while having their brains scanned as well. And no surprise, the participants’ brains showed the same activity as the woman’s as she was telling the story. When her insula, a brain region responsible for emotions, became active, so did theirs. When her frontal cortex sprang into action, so did the participants’ ones.

This means that when telling a story, you can transfer your experiences directly into the minds of your listeners, and plant ideas or emotions into their brains. Therefore, constructing your sales pitch as a story will help you connect with the prospect on an emotional level. And as you know: We buy on emotions. And only later rationale our decisions with logic.

Hack #4. Overcome Their Objections with More Objections

I know, it makes no sense, doesn’t it? But let me explain. You know that identifying your prospects’ sales objections and overcoming them in your pitch may actually win you the sale. You know that as they sit there listening to you, they try to find reasons why they shouldn’t hire you.

These might be as simple as the good, old “your services are too expensive” to more complex ones, like “your service is too difficult, I don’t think we need something as complex.” And it’s how you handle these objections that might make or break the sale for you.

A common method to do it is by offering strong enough proof to convince a prospect that their objections are unreasonable. But there is another way. You could turn the tables around and get them to question their current situation. For example, if your prospect’s been implementing basic SEO strategy in-house, utilizing their limited resources, you could point potential risks and downsides to this approach. or if they haven’t been doing any SEO at all as they saw no reason to do so, outline how their inaction will result in their business being left behind sometime in the future. In short, get them to come up with objections to their current situation instead of hiring you.

What do you think?

Do you use presentations in your sales strategy? What are your experiences? And do you think the above hacks would help you achieve even better results? Let us know in the comments.