Research has revealed conclusively that emotion has more impact than logic at point of decision, and that similarly visual impact influences decision making more than concrete evidence – crazy as it may sound!. For example, relatively few people decide to purchase a vehicle based solely on the proof of performance which lies under the vehicle’s hood. They may have done their homework, but the moment of decision to buy is almost always swayed by visual impact. Further research indicates that our sight is so powerful in decision making that 87% of all information we gather is done via one sense only – sight. Our hearing accounts for another 9% and the other three, making up the remaining 4% are pitifully underdeveloped.
How does this impact a sales presentation? Well, in a number of ways. We’ll discuss the main five here.
First, you should take the trouble to ensure that you look right. Of course it helps to be naturally good looking, but today with the correct grooming advice, a professional, impactful “look” can be achieved by anyone with the time, resources and inclination to make it happen. Your attire is a vital part of your image, and with deliberate planning it is not difficult to find the right outfit to suit the occasion. The rule is to dress as your audience will, or one step up. Darker colours, especially when contrasted with a light shirt help to create power and presence, while lighter colours like pastels create softness and approachability. The choice is affected by what you wish to achieve in the presentation. Black is the best colour for shoes and belts, which should match. It may not be necessary to be formal for every presentation, but scruffy is a bad idea.
Second, your face should be groomed for the occasion. Hair should not be touched or played with. Women are best served by tying up long hair – beware of the pony-tail which bobs behind you like, well, a pony’s tail! Make up should be light for smaller audiences and heavier for larger audiences. Shiny faces suggest nervousness and tension and should be lightly powdered. Gents should avoid facial hair. If it is part of an established image, beards and moustaches should be neatly trimmed and short hair is best. The unshaven look is great for the ramp or beach, bad for presentations.
Third, the area where you will be presenting should be neat and tidy with suitcases and equipment bags packed out of sight. Cables should be tied or neatened up so that tangles and trip-ups can be avoided. It’s a good idea to check the lighting and where the controls are and ensure that light is not shining on your screen.
Fourth, the slide show. The simpler the better. The fewer the better. Slides should be relevant, no more than one illustration per slide, use the same transitions, special effects should be kept to the minimum, use no more than three or four colours, text should be bold, in the same font and in lower case, and please do not walk in front of your slide. I watch professional speakers do it every month, and it looks everything but professional.
Fifth and last, body language. Whatever you do naturally when you’re relaxed or angry and “just being you”… is what you should do during a presentation. No shuffling and fidgeting, just be natural. Don’t pace, but if you move do it decisively. Use big bold gestures, but not repetitive ones. Make eye contact. Smile, be nice and connect with the people you’re talking to. If you want to know how well you can be animated when presenting, ask someone to film you when you’re mad. That’s a great default setting for presentations. With natural enthusiasm you’ll successfully persuade almost anyone!
These are the five key aspects that will influence the success of your presentation. They will influence the buyer’s first impression more than anything you can say.
Now, imagine if you have something interesting to say?