Client Presentations: How to pitch like a pro

Here are four things to seriously consider before pitching a presentation to a potential client.

The point of a presentation is to persuade people. You might be delivering a keynote speech about your company’s latest project, or sharing with your school class what you’ve discovered about dinosaurs; it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you bring people around to your way of thinking. That’s doubly important if you’re presenting to a prospective client to win their business or backing.

The following points highlight what you need to think about before creating that killer pitch presentation. Follow this advice and you’ll turn potential clients into actual paying punters.

Research your audience

Unlike the aforementioned keynote, a pitch presentation will often be made to a single person, or to a small group. This smaller audience gives the presenter a wonderful opportunity to research and create a targeted pitch.

Sales Managers care about different things than Marketing Managers. Find out to whom you will be presenting, investigating as much as you can about them. Know their job title, their position within the organisation, and, most importantly, what they ‘need’.

Knowing how you can solve their specific and individual problems will make your presentation far more effective. This is why you need to do this research first, ideally waaaay in advance of your meeting. Knowing your prospective client will influence almost everything about the form of your presentation.

Make you and your presentation as relevant to them as possible.

Show them, don’t tell them

Presentations are a visual medium, so get as visual as you can. You might understand how your product or service operates, but your potential client won’t. It’s actually very hard for the average human to imagine something they can’t see or touch, no matter how well it is described.

Show them as much as you can. Obviously a client presentation for design services will include mockups and examples, but this is a technique that everyone can employ. By showing as much of your working process as possible, you’ll build a true image in your client’s mind.

But… make sure the visualisation you present takes a big leaf out of the book of your client research. Tailor your visuals to the person to whom you’re pitching, and use them to better alleviate their fears and concerns.

Show how you or your company will integrate fully with the client’s. Something as simple as Photoshopping their logo into a proposed situation can have massive impact. The beneficial potential arrangement that you are proposing might seem amazing in your head, but remember that your client can’t read minds.

Pitches that present their prospects with visual mockups are always more successful. Build upon what you learnt about them and their organisation, and consider what they both need and want to see.

Paint the picture with actual pictures.

Ditch the so-so stuff

You might have lots of ideas to pitch to your client, and you’ll probably want to fit in as much into your presentation as you can. However, a client presentation is not a one-way affair; you want them to ask questions so you can answer them and sound even more impressive.

That is why your pitch needs to be 100% your very best ideas. The content of your slides and your speech should pour out of you with total confidence. That way, if questioned about any of it, you’ll be able to answer effectively, quickly and precisely.

Shoving ‘filler’ into your pitch might pad out your content, but it will come back to bite you. A two-way presentation is an unpredictable creature, and clients might start questioning you about things you’re less confident about. No matter how skilled you are at making like a politician and answering only the questions you want to question, a lack of confidence will undermine your whole pitch.

Concentrate on the ideas you are fully onboard with, and boot out the second rate stuff. If you lead with your best ideas, but then continue with one that is clearly not as good or as well developed, the client will notice. In fact, a dip in quality, and a reduction in your own presenting confidence, will lessen the impact of your overall pitch.

In planning your presentation, list all your very best ideas that you think the client will want to hear about. Start with the strongest, the best, and the one in which you have the most confidence. Develop that idea as far as you can, shaping it to fit the needs of the prospective client. Continue down your list, and in doing so, you’ll discover what ideas won’t work well for this pitch.

Kick ‘em out.

Go non-linear

We might have it stuck in our minds that presentations have a beginning, middle, and an end, but that doesn’t have to be the case, not anymore. Although you should write down and plan your pitch as a narrative, as if you’re writing a story, you need to be prepared for the unpredictable.

If you’re giving a keynote speech and someone in the audience blurts out a question, they’re considered a heckler. But when a client does it in a one-to-one pitch presentation, it shows they’re interested. However, that can derail your train of thought, especially if they ask about something you’re not currently detailing.

The answer? Create a presentation that is non-linear by taking advantage of PowerPoint’s latest features. The Zoom feature allows presenters to build an interactive menu system into their slide deck. With that, there is no need to flick through dozens of slides to get to the section that the client is interested in. You simply tap a button and instantly ‘zoom’ there.

Presenting like this allows you to even further tailor your pitch to a specific client. You can ask ‘what would you like to hear more about?’ and respond to them. However, don’t just build a presentation from various sections and start by asking this. Keep the narrative and the story-telling flowing in a conventional manner, but be prepared for questions.

If you can deal with a side-swiping question efficiently, you’ll take another step to winning them over.

If you need more help in planning that killer client presentation, get in touch with us today. From expertly designed slides, to damn-clever PowerPoint development, no one does presentations like we do.