Client Focused Presentations

Photo credit Engin Erdogan

Client Focused Presentations
by Beverly Terrill (c)

As a Payroll and Human Resource professional for over 20 years, I have done many presentations. I have presented to my internal associates (co-workers), my client’s company executives, the employees of my clients and everyone in-between. For me it’s exhilarating and gets my adrenalin flowing!

About 10 years ago, which was well into my career, I took a 2-day training called “Presenting and Persuading”. Wow! I learned some very valuable lessons. Today I want to talk about the number 1 lesson that I learned and how it will help you to present in a whole new way.

When you read materials on presentations, most revolve around how to use the software, what size font, voice inflection etc. And these are all techniques to consider when preparing your presentation. But when I talk about presenting, I am referring to the actual meeting when you are in front of your client (or for you, your potential sponsor).

What was the eye opening, game-changing lesson?

Present what your client wants to hear, not what you want him to know!

This sounds so simple. When I used to create presentations, I would put my bullet points on the screen and have my notes in hand. These bullet points were all the things that I wanted my client to know. How great my product is, how it works, how excited I am that they are coming on board. Sound familiar? I would dwell on what I want the client to know not what my client wants to know. Do you know what happened then? The client sat thru an hour presentation and then had an hour of questions for me. What a waste of a good hour!

Now, you may already have a presentation that is fabulous. The good news is, you don’t have to change your presentation, but HOW you present.

So how do you do this? Here are my tips:
  1. Don’t dwell on how happy you are to be there and have this opportunity. There is a time and place for that - but make it a sentence not a topic. If you were about to spend 50K on a car, do you want the salesman going on about how happy he is that you chose his lot, instead of the one next door?
  2. Put yourself in your client’s shoes. What are his concerns? You can talk about trends etc. but what does that really mean? Trends are a look at the past and sometimes predict the future, but what are the client’s expectations? Don’t just say here are the trends. but ask him how that stacks up to what he has seen and heard. 
  3. Be clear and to the point. By this I mean don’t drag out a topic that should be easily explained. Don’t go on about how much tires cost these days and don’t make excuses for why they cost so much. Your client doesn’t care. Tell him how much you need to go promote his company – which just happens to include tires.
  4. Bring a couple folks with you. You don’t want someone who just reads the slides but he or she must understand the message. This helps in multiple ways – first – what if you get there and can’t talk for whatever reason. But also you have a teammate who can assess what’s going on around you. He will have more time to think about the question while you are answering. So he might say, ‘let me just add to that comment’. 
  5. Present what you know about the company. This is a great way to let your client know you have done your research but also give him a chance to talk about something HE loves to talk about.
Just a couple of general rules for presenting that you have heard a million times but, bears repeating.

Be prepared - We all tend to ramble and lose our place if we haven’t done it a hundred times already. It cuts down on nervousness too.

Record yourself - In the course I mentioned at the beginning of this article, they videotaped us and our instructor counted the number of times we used a word or phrase. For instance, how many umms. My no-no phrase was ‘And so’. These things become annoying and can detract from the message. You can avoid this by having someone critique you while you are practicing and remove any offending words from your vocabulary.

And remember, always present what your audience wants to hear, not what you want them to know!

Best of luck on your sponsorship goals!!