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Leigh PerezNov 20196 min read

Learn 8 Rules of Tailoring Your Presentations

Learning the 8 rules of tailoring your presentation, just like any other checklist and playbook, will help optimize your processes and day-to-day work. This guides us so that some tasks would require less cognitive effort.

Having to tailor your presentation for each sales meeting doesn’t have to be a difficult and time-consuming task. As long as you keep your focus on your buyer, ensuring their needs are at the forefront of your presentation, you’re guaranteed a meeting that resonates with your prospects every time.

Find out the 8 rules on how to tailor your presentation to your meet your buyer’s needs.

The story of an elephant and the blind men

A group of blind men ran into a strange animal, an elephant. None of them had met an elephant before. They were curious and said: “Let’s inspect and learn it by touch”. And so they did. The first blind man, whose hand landed on the trunk, said “This animal is like a thick snake”. The second one reached its leg and said, “the elephant is a pillar-like tree trunk”. The third blind man placed his hand on the elephant’s side and shouted, “this animal is like a huge wall”. The fourth touched the elephant’s tail and described it as a rope.

All of these blind men were right. Even though the elephant is neither a thick snake, tree trunk, wall, nor rope, each of their point of view was true. Their individual experiences were real and true even though the whole concept of an elephant was left unfinished.

Your customers are blind

In sales, as the concepts and solutions are getting more and more complex, your customers are like the blind men from the story when they are first introduced to your product or service. But unlike the blind men that were curious about the elephant, your customers couldn’t care less about knowing your product. 

That’s why you need to be able to start with something familiar. The blind men might not know the concept of an elephant, but they knew what a snake, pillar, wall, or rope is– and has an idea about how those work and function.  The same goes for your product. Essentially, your buyers may know the features and functionalities your product may offer, but it’s up to you to piece those together and create value.

The most important part of any presentation is the audience.

For any presentation, it’s key to understand your audience’s pain points and how your offering fits in the picture. 

This – finding common ground and piecing the problem and solution together – is what tailoring is. It is rewriting your story to start off from where your customer is now – and then telling them, where your product can take them. This is why you should tailor your presentation.

Learn more about Unleashing the Power of Storytelling in Sales Presentations →

Illustration of sales presentation management

8 Rules of Tailoring Your Presentation

Remember, whether it was a face-to-face or a virtual meeting, the most important part of your presentation is understanding the needs of your audience. Consider everything you do to meet those needs.

1) Understand what your audience is looking for

What does this entail? This means asking questions to gain a better insight as to what brought them to you. Whether that’s getting to know their role or how they ended up finding your product or solution. By doing this, not only do you get to have a deep dive into what your prospect is looking for but also see any opportunities or potential where your offering can bring more value.

2) Focus on your opening

Your audience will make two decisions in the first few seconds of your presentation- will they like you and will they trust you? After those first few seconds, it can be difficult hard to change their impression. So, think carefully about how you start your presentations. Reflect and learn from your experiences. To do well in sales and to be able to build a long-lasting relationship with your buyers, you want people to like you and trust you.

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3) Prepare to answer any questions that might arise

This is something that you can learn from experience but it also is something that your colleagues can help you with. Remember sales is teamwork. Statistically, if you are able to cover 5 of the most commonly asked questions, you are already very well prepared.

Illustration of a visual sales presentation

Learn more about 7 Key Elements of How to Prepare for a Successful Sales Call →

4) Prepare to change your topic on the go

No matter how well you have studied your buyers' expectations for your presentation, surprises are possible and eventual. That’s why you need to be prepared for any objections. Sometimes instead of a trunk, your audience needs a wall. And remember – you don’t need to change the whole concept, just the common ground.

A good presentation has the facts delivered to the audience that touches an emotional aspect or aims to bring out an emotional reaction.

5) Make sure your presentation is visual, smart, and appealing

From the times of Aristotle, all persuasive communication has aimed to speak to the mind and to the heart. A good presentation has the facts delivered to the audience that touches an emotional aspect or aims to bring out an emotional reaction. Don’t be corny, though. Creating a great presentation isn’t easy and it’s a good idea to ask for help and feedback in doing this. Sales is teamwork.

Learn more about How to Use Videos in Sales: 3 Highly Effective Tactics →

6) Meeting is a two-way interaction; remember to ask questions

When you go on a date, a monologue is never sexy. The communication in your sales meetings is no different. Remember, the most important part of your presentation is your audience. Ask if they’re doing fine if they understand what you’re trying to explain, and if they find your points relevant. Think of good questions beforehand, it is your responsibility to help your buyers feel comfortable, heard, and understood.

7) Use humor, but don’t be an idiot

Humor is difficult. Jokes and business meetings are generally a bad match. People tend to like positive people in positive surroundings, so if you can bring humor about a minor situation,  the weather, or even about yourself to be seen more positively – give it a shot. Never slip out an offensive joke – it makes you look like an idiot.

Always remember that no matter your role in your organization, you are an extension of your brand. 

8) Know your brand inside and out and treat it with respect

Always remember that no matter your role in your organization, you are an extension of your brand. It’s not just you that is meeting with the customer. You represent your company – the past, present, and future of it. You represent all the people that have worked hard to get your company to where it is at this point. So make sure you align with your brand guidelines and values whenever you meet with a prospect. Do good for your company’s brand in every meeting – you owe it to the ones who are carrying you on their shoulders.

Illustration of branded digital sales room

All in all...

Tailoring your sales presentations to meet the needs of your audience can make all the difference in closing deals. Remember, your customers may be blind to your product or service at first, but by following these eight rules of tailoring your presentation, not only are you optimizing your process but most importantly, you can help your buyers see the value in what you're offering.

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