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8 Essential Presentation Tips for Creative Professionals

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Presentation skills are important for everyone who’s involved in sales, and creative designers, copywriters, illustrators, web developers and the like are no different. Are your sales presentations helping you win the business, or are they making your prospects wonder if you’re the best person for the job?

Your presentations are going to vary greatly based on whether you’re trying to sell into local businesses, or to organizations on the other side of the country—or even the world. But whether your meetings are face-to-face, via Skype, or your communications are largely email based, here are some of my basic rules for creatives in making your presentations as successful as possible….

1. It’s not about you

This is sales 101, but it’s so often neglected. How many times have you sat through canned sales presentations that were designed for the presenter, not for the listener? How many times have you given such a presentation?

You have to focus the presentation on the client. Find out as much as you can about the organization in advance, and understand their goals and objectives. Only then you can speak directly and powerfully to their needs. Believe me, this separates the winners from everyone else.

2. Ok, it is kind of about you

Speaking to the client’s needs is the top priority, but I’ve seen creatives make the opposite mistake. They spend so much time listening that they leave too little time to talk about why they’re the top choice. The client is left wondering if they’re really any good.

Remember, most people are all too happy to talk about themselves and their businesses. Be sure you make your solid case!

3. Get to the point

If you’re confused about how to combine one and two in a way that works, have no fear. There’s a great way to broach this. It’s in concisely and powerfully delivering your message. Make out a list of the top ten reasons why a company should pick you. Then narrow that down to the top five. Even better, go for three.

Why are you better? Once you have distilled these down, be sure to highlight these throughout your presentation. Circle back and reiterate them when you showcase your portfolio, talk through your examples and answer their direct questions.

essential presentation tips

4. Mind the details

Whether the presentation is in-person, over the phone, via email or over Skype, details matter. Call in on time. Be sure the documents you share are accurate and error free. Make sure the presentation is organized and flows well. Give them no reason to doubt that you can pull off the project.

Speaking of details, a fair amount of your communications will probably be email based. Always be professional in your emails. Just because it’s easy to fire off a casual email, think about how every communication makes you look. Be professional, make sure your communications are error free, and be sure to communicate clearly. You may make a small and innocent joke that could be misinterpreted over email and jeopardize your chances of winning the work.

5. Name names

Be sure to share examples of work you’ve done for organizations like there’s. This is absolutely critical. Companies will very often want to work with designers, writers and developers who have been there and done that. Name drop some of the largest and well known organizations you may have worked with as well, as this gets people’s attention. Plus, they tend to remember it.

6. Hear what they say

This harkens back to number one above, but is speaks to how actively and accurately you listen to the prospect during the presentation. If you’re going to win the business after the presentation is over, you must be clear on what they are really asking for, if their budget is appropriate, and if their way of doing business is in synch with your own.

This sales presentation is the time to ask these questions and take careful note.

7. Make them say “wow!”

If you are a wow factor creative who develops aw-inspiring designs, or a web developer on the fore of websites with amazing functionality, be sure and highlight these claims to fame. Maybe you’re a copywriter and messaging pro, as I am, and you can’t wow them with intense visuals. But you can discuss the metrics by which your campaigns were successful, the business challenge and how you met your clients’ needs.

Resolve to make them say “wow” at every sales meeting!

8. Let your clients do the talking

Show off your client testimonials and be quick to provide references. The more your clients can say amazing things about you, the less you’ll have to say about yourself. Moreover, your prospects will believe your clients more than they’ll believe you!

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For presentation tips for after you win the business, read my Best Practices and Tips for Presenting Your Creative Concepts right here on the gonzoblog.

 

Author: Becky Sheetz-Runkle

Becky Sheetz-Runkle is a marketing strategist, copywriter, speaker, and author of Sun Tzu for Women: The Art of War for Winning in Business. You should follow Becky on twitter or on facebook

4 comments

on this article: “8 Essential Presentation Tips for Creative Professionals”
  1. Hi Becky, This is so true. While sales is supposed to be about the customer and their needs, people many times end up with canned presentations. There is no way it can address concerns of a customer and be relevant. Only interaction and feedback can provide that customization.

    For this, like your last point – Letting clients do the talking is a great idea

  2. Thanks, very useful remainder and a couple of new perspectivs! Great word :-)