Business Presentations – How to Sell From the Platform

Business presentations are essentially about selling. Selling ideas: maybe you get people to change their behaviour, or give you an investment, or reverse a policy. Either way; getting an audience of business executives to buy requires a clear argument, and that requires a clear structure. Read on to get the formula.

Selling ideas in a presentation setting is much like selling face to face, your audience goes through a process of being dissatisfied, they recognise the benefits of change, and then you point them in the direction of a solution.

Taking clients through this sequence requires a highly structured process. One that is not well understood by many business presenters, though those that do understand and use it, sell more, quicker, and with less stress.

The process of selling complex ideas via a presentation is a three step system. In step one, the presenter should spend time developing the problem, in step two the solution is explained, and finally step three involves making specific recommendations and a call to action. Here’s what each step looks like in more detail.

    1. Develop the problem. This stage is essential because you first have to make sure that the audience understands why they need help. Isn’t it the case that if you offered cough medicine to someone who was well, they’d be likely to refuse it? But point out that they look a bit feverish and you may have a buyer. That’s exactly what you are doing in this stage; metaphorically pointing out that your audience might be ill. How you do it is to use case studies, examples and data to get agreement, both on the types and size of problems in your chosen topic.
    2. Show the direction of the solution. Note I have said direction of the solution, you don’t want to give away all the answers so that they can take your advice without paying for it. So your solution should provide value, but have a few critical implementation steps missing. Also it’s important to explain the benefits. Make sure the audience knows what they will gain by using your solution.
    3. Provide a call to action. Make sure you audience knows what to do next. Is it to go to your website? Then don’t leave it to chance, have your URL printed on paper and handed to the audience as they leave the room.

Additionally following this flow will make your presentation easier to build. Simply take the first heading, let’s call it “industry problems”, and write out 2-3 key points, then do the same for the other two sections. Finally under each point provide evidence to back up your argument.

Selling doesn’t need to be tough, like everything in life you just need the paint by numbers formula. So now you have it what are you waiting for, get going!