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Strategic Presentation Preparation

Have you strategically considered the message you are sending when you make an in-person presentation to a prospective client?

Companies that are in the business of selling their product or service to another business compete in the highly competitive business-to-business space. B2B sales often culminate in a formal interview to clarify a proposal and introduce a team to a client.

Strategically planning your interview should be a process that has already been defined by the leaders of your company. Firms that successfully make in-person presentations have a coordinated plan of attack that covers the following important areas.


Knowing Your Audience

If your firm has a chance to make a pitch, you should start by gathering the interview team and spending 30-60 minutes discussing the audience you’ll be addressing. How many people will you be presenting to? Who are the decision-makers? What is the hidden pain of the customer? How much time have you been given? Is there a formal agenda? Will you need handouts or a slide show?

Those are just a few of the things that you should be thinking about before you walk into an unknown room with your team. Understanding your audience is the most important thing you can do during preparation.


Rehearsing and Assigning Roles

Now that you know your audience, you should carefully craft your message using the strengths of your team to deliver an impactful message.

Have you ever been a part of a presentation team where one person did all the talking? That team likely did not rehearse and assign talking points to the presenting team. Prospective buyers will be much more impressed with a “team” of qualified service providers than with a single, charismatic speaker who carries the presentation.

Savvy buyers know that the “sales guy” won’t likely be around when the going gets tough. Successful firms rehearse and make actual “team” presentations by scripting and rehearsing their presentations.


Ask for the Work

Our firm was once engaged in a very important pursuit that required an intensive request for proposal and interview process. After the process, we were awarded the job. The buyer told us how impressed he was with our previous experience and raved about what a great presentation we gave.

However, one of the final factors that swayed his decision was when we humbly and sincerely asked for the job.

“You were the only firm that said they wanted the job, and that made us feel really special,” he said.

Asking for the work is an obvious but often forgotten closing strategy.

If your sales process culminates in an in-person interview, make sure you are maximizing your opportunity by being strategic in your interview preparation.