by pat

Has PowerPoint has become a crutch that tempts you to give presentations without proper preparation?

Selling complex B2B products often requires that you perform very detailed product presentations. As a result, most have come to rely heavily on PowerPoint as a substitute for product knowledge, and preparation.

So Many Slides, So Little Time

Most companies have voluminous sets of slides, created by marketing that attempt to cover every imaginable scenario. Worse yet, well-intentioned marketers often add lots of detail so that the slides double as product training for the sales force.

Armed with these slides, most salespeople mix, match and modify the slides-then head out to do their presentation.

So, What’s the Problem?

In competitive B2B selling, you only have one shot at delivering a great presentation; with PowerPoint as a crutch a myriad of things can go wrong:

* With PowerPoint in control as both the message and the media, you fade into the background
* You use way too many slides; hoping to cover everything, you ensure that they remember nothing.
* You read every bullet on every slide: they can read, your job is to say only what is relevant to them.
* You run short on time and have to rush through way too many slides
* You know the answer to their question is somewhere in the 100+ plus slides-now if you could only find it

The Solution: Practice Without PowerPoint and Stand Out From the Crowd

Next time you are preparing a presentation, try to practice it without the PowerPoint deck. Here’s how:
Understand Your Prospects Needs and Create a Story

First, think about the major issues that your prospect is facing, and the goals that they want to achieve. Armed with this information, pick the top three.

Next, come up with Case Study (user examples) of how your product helped other prospects in similar situations.

Finally, create short stories that relate how these customers stories are relevant to the problems faced by your prospect. With these simple stories, you are ready to create a presentation that sells.
Practice Your Presentation Without Slides

Now comes the practice. Do the presentation without slides. Start with an opening that summarizes the prospects situation, then relate the success stories. For complex technical products, you may want to go to the white board and diagram the topic. With practice you will get comfortable without the slides and learn to focus on the story that you are trying to tell.

Now Add Just a Few Slides

Once you are comfortable doing the presentation, it’s time to add in just a few slides. Be ruthless about removing the slides that you don’t need. In addition, you should limit the detail on each slide that you chose to keep. Try to use the slides for diagrams and data that are hard to reproduce by other means.

A good rule of thumb would be one slide for an opening, one for the current sitiation and one each for the stories. Your last slide should be a summary and call to action. The goal is to limit the detail on any slide and to limit the overall number of slides.


When it’s time to deliver your sales presentation, you will be ready to focus on telling the audience how other companies like theirs solved problems with your products.

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