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Sales - 10 min READ

How to Give a Sales Presentation That Closes Deals

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Author photo: Kent Holland

Kent Holland

Vice President of Sales at Copper

You've worked hard to get in front of the decision make to close a deal. Your sales presentation is your opportunity to showcase how your product can benefit them, you can't afford to get it wrong.

Emails can be great for reaching out to cold leads, sharing important information, and following up after a call. But when it comes time to really educate a lead on the solution your product offers, a great sales presentation is your best bet.

When done well, a great sales presentation helps a prospect understand exactly what your product does while showing them a way through the challenges they’ve been facing.

If your generic pitch deck just can’t close deals the way you need it to, it may be time to get personal with your prospects.

By addressing what your prospect needs help with, tailoring your pitch to them, and following up in an efficient, personalized way, you can turn your next sales presentation into a conversion machine.

Ready to knock your pitch out of the park? Here’s the step-by-step guide to creating a sales presentation that closes deals.

Get to know the customer

If you think creating a great sales presentation begins with opening up PowerPoint, think again. Consumers are more savvy than ever, so coming to them with generic sales materials is a surefire way to be dismissed.

If you want to create a presentation that results in sales, you need to start with the prospect. The best way to do that?

Get to know their particular challenges on a quick discovery call: a pre-sales call that helps you get to know a prospect’s challenges and lay the foundation for a successful sales process going forward.

Salespeople are known to be great talkers, but try to focus on listening instead of speaking—ask questions to understand the prospect’s business, and their particular challenges.

Some questions to ask on a discovery call include:

  1. What are your business goals?
  2. Talk me through some inefficiencies that are wasting time for your team.
  3. Can you help me understand some areas of your work could be improved to work better?

These kinds of open-ended questions invite longer responses that keep the conversation going. As you’re listening, pay attention to problems you can solve, but don’t try to sell them just yet.

Be sure to listen carefully and repeat back what you’re hearing to validate that you understand what they’re dealing with. This will ensure you be sure you have your information correct and also help the prospect feel heard.

As soon as you hang up after your discovery call, be sure to take good notes on everything you discussed and log them in your CRM so you don’t lose any details. Here’s an example of what the process looks like in Copper. Just log a call, add in your notes and you’re done!

Craft your sales presentation

Now that you’ve built a strong foundation, it’s time to get to work on your presentation. Instead of delivering the same generic deck, though, edit and refresh your pitch based on what you now know about the prospect.

Here are five things to keep in mind as you edit your sales presentation to make sure you get as many new customers as you can.

1. Don’t skip over the problem

Many times, salespeople assume that the customer is already aware of the problem they have—a logical assumption, of course—so they quickly gloss over it.

Why doesn’t that work? People don’t buy products, they buy solutions.

The person you’re speaking with during the sales presentation may not remember what you discussed on your last discovery call, or may not be as readily aware of the struggles their employees are dealing with.

Even if they are deeply connected to the problem, they might not be thinking of the problem they’re solving at the start of your sales presentation. Set the scene for them.

Don’t be afraid to quickly recap or set up the problem for your prospect before skipping ahead to how you can help. By clearly outlining the problem they’re facing, you’re making it real and urgent—and getting their emotional brain ready for your appealing solution.

2. Focus on the customer

Spending a minute on the problems you solve isn’t an excuse to get distracted and share every problem you can solve, though.

If you called an electrician to come fix some lighting in your home, you might get confused if they started talking to you about plumbing and air conditioning. Those aren’t the pressing problems you reached out about, and while you may need those services, you can discuss that once you get your electrical issue solved.

There’s a similar confusion when you go in to discuss your product development software and start talking about solving marketing problems.

Stay laser-focused on the issues you know this prospect is facing. Sure, you may be able to help them in other ways too with different features or products, but those aren’t pressing issues weighing on their mind.

If you try to outline every problem you could solve, the prospect might get confused or distracted—which are not qualities of someone about to buy.

This sales presentation from ProdPad is a great example of focusing on the customer’s problem first.

After the logo slide, they don’t start talking about themselves and how great ProdPad is—they jump right in to discussing how spreadsheets make peoples’ lives harder (which they do for the next few slides).

If you’ve ever been annoyed at spreadsheets, you’re probably ready for a solution after they run through these slides.

As you get into how your product solves their problems, stay focused on the prospect.

Don’t dilute your message by showing everything your product can do. Instead, focus the conversation on their needs and let them ask questions if they want to know more about other specifics.

3. Keep social proof specific and relevant

You know that social proof can be a big win when it comes to showing the value of your product. One study showed that 92% of consumers say they read at least one review before making a purchase.

So, of course, you want to incorporate some social proof into your sales deck.

It can be tempting to showcase the logos of big-deal, impressive customers, but according to research from Gong, using social proof in sales presentations can actually lower close rates.

How can that be? Think back to your customer. If you’re sharing logos of companies they don’t have anything in common with, they might start thinking that your solution isn’t a great fit for them.

Instead of sharing the same slide stacked with logos in every pitch, tailor your social proof to the prospect you’re dealing with. Think of your other customers from similar-sized companies, or who’ve dealt with the same problems your prospect is facing.

Then, instead of just sharing their logos, tell the story of how you worked together. Discuss what their problem looked like before working with you, how you helped them, and what the outcome was. Think of any good story: beginning, middle, and ending.

This helps prospects understand what working with you would look like and how your product could solve the problems they’re struggling with.

Plus, this kind of sales story is actually proven to release oxytocin, the trust hormone, in the brains of your future customers.

4. Use images

The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and including visuals alongside text has been shown to increase retention of information.

And, honestly, we all know how boring it is to watch someone read bullet points off of a PowerPoint.

So, even though you may have numerous written resources at your disposal that you could rework into bullet points, resist the urge. Instead, use a graphic that supports the point you’re making verbally.

Putting too much text on your slides will just leave customers reading to themselves instead of listening to you anyway.

In this presentation, AppsFlyer uses lots of imagery on each slide to keep the viewer interested and engaged instead of distractedly reading through bullet points.

5. Know who you’re speaking to

You might know the product you’re selling backwards and forwards, including some really interesting features—but if you get too bogged down in the technical jargon or product features when you’re speaking with prospects, you’re sure to see eyes glaze over.

Depending on your product, you could run the risk of getting passed off to the person who can speak your language—be it an IT person, support manager, project manager, etc. This person might be more receptive to the details of your product or understand the more nuanced features.

But, if you already have a foot in the door with a decision maker, getting passed down the chain of command will decrease your chances of closing the deal. During your sales presentation, stick with high-level, strategic thinking that will appeal to your audience.

If they need specific technical information, leave it to them to ask about it, or send it via email when you follow up after your presentation.

There will be plenty of time to get into the details after they’re a customer.

Take Notes and Follow Up

Once you’ve created the perfect pitch, pumped yourself up, and delivered it with confidence, you can give yourself a big high five—but you’re not done yet.

Right after your pitch, while everything is still fresh in your mind, jot down some notes in your CRM.

Your notes shouldn’t be a transcript of your conversation—they should help you remember the prospect’s particular pain points, the result of the pitch, and even any personal notes you want to remember (like if you bonded over a favorite sports team).

Be sure to note any action items right away as well so you don’t let anything slip through the cracks. If you use Copper, you can add action items and set reminders for follow-up tasks that sync with your Google calendar.

And those follow-ups are crucial—the average number of people involved in a B2B purchasing decision is 6.8. Even if you knocked your presentation out of the park, you still have to help the prospect convince every other decision maker that your solution is the best one.

That’s where a great follow-up email can seal the deal. In your email, be sure to reiterate the pain point your product can help with, and how it can solve it.

Here’s a template you can borrow from us:

Hi {{First Name}},

Thanks for finding a few minutes to chat about {{product}} with me. Based on what we discussed, I really think we can help you with {{challenge you discussed}} so that you can {{result of solving that problem}}.

I’m also attaching my notes from our conversation to jog your memory—let me know if you have any questions about those.

Do you have 5 minutes to discuss next steps?


Remember, they’re going to relay their version of your presentation to fellow decision makers. Attaching some notes for them to refer to will ensure those conversations stay on-track, even if you aren’t in the room.

Finally, end your follow-up email with a call to action (CTA), or a request for the next thing you want from them. Whether it’s a response to your email, an answer to a question, or another time to discuss, be clear about your ask—otherwise, you’re just leaving an opening for the prospect to disappear.

Ask them when would be a good time for a demo or follow-up call to keep them moving through the sales cycle.

Knock your next sales presentation out of the park

Now you have the tools you need to give a great sales presentation. Remember, a sales presentation is a powerful tool, but it depends on having a great discovery meeting ahead of time and a strong follow-up to truly be successful.

By thinking more individually about each prospect that you pitch to, you can craft the kind of personalized sales presentation that turns prospects into customers.

The extra effort to get to know prospects before a sales presentation, tailor your pitch to them, and follow up with the perfect solution after will leave customers eager to work with you.

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