How To Conduct A Virtual Sales Presentation

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

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You’re conducting an online sales presentation to a prospective new customer…

Just how can you increase their engagement and keep them interested – and how can virtual meetings and virtual presentations achieve this?

This really comes down to a number of key points. I will outline these below, but owing to the detail and complexity that each possess I will hone in on the main points only.

The biggest reasons why demonstrating products and services fail is down to several important elements:

– The Message – poorly thought out, not logical and too much information

– The Deck / Presentation – poorly designed too wordy and lacks impact.

– The Delivery – monotonic voices that lack inspiration, belief or passion

– A lack of understanding about the features and functions of the meeting tool being used. WebEx, Google Hangout, Fuze etc…

The Message

When designing a message to engage your audience you must take the perspective of what does the customer need / want to know in order to make a buying decision, namely:

  • The product? What is it for? What does it do? What are its benefits?
  • What pain or problem will it solve for me? What is the value to me and my organisation?
  • What is the cost? And here I don’t just mean the bottom line. I am also referring to the cost to the company regarding resources. How many IT people, project managers, and support people will I need to implement it.
  • Does the person I am speaking with fill me with a sense of belief? Namely, is this person filling me with confidence that this company can really deliver what I am asking for.

Having observed this on so many occasions, if the answer to any of the above questions is in doubt by the customer, the chances are you won’t get the sale.

This is why the structure, its relevance to the audience and the language used is so vitally important.

Presentation Slide Deck

So what is a bad presentation?

A bad presentation, is filled with worthless and meaningless C.L.I.P.A.R.T (Crass Little Inserted Pictures Always Rubbish and Trite). Are filled with bullets, are dull and boring, lack personality and deliver far too much information.

Good presentations are incredibly visual, and use what is known as Visual Cognitive Dissonance or VCD. Visual because the content is highly relevant to the audience and visually tells a story to a point, cognitive because each slide makes no sense until the speaker or presenter narrates over the top of it, and dissonance relates to the intrigue surrounding the message or story that the slide tells you which initially is incomplete, hence you feel the need to know more.

Add to this the correct language, presentation style, animations and relevant message and you’ve got the makings of a first class presentation that engages the audience and closes deals.

Virtual Delivery

You need to be asking the right questions and seeking the right answers.

Presenting to an audience on a product or service that you either have faith in or believe in, will speak volumes in a very short space of time, in as little as 30 – 40 seconds in fact. Your opening statement in an online meeting has to show confidence, belief and credibility. If it doesn’t you will for the remainder of that meeting or presentation be on the back foot and fighting a losing battle.

So if you are delivering a presentation using an online tool, go in with a script. However, delivering it in this scripted style, every time not only grabs the audiences’ attention, but it tells the audience that what they are about to hear has been thought through, considered and planned meticulously.

Planning, preparation, as well as rehearsal, mean everything. You have to know what is coming next in your presentation upon every single click and yes, on occasion people lose their way. So, here are some useful tips to help you:

  1. If for any reason you plan on using multimedia, make sure that it is rewound and cued up ready to go. If the file is large it is probably best to run it from a USB rather than to wait for the data to buffer. If you are streaming the content from the web this requires a little more thought and consideration.
  2. When working with figures don’t use specifics 76.4% is roughly ¾ so use this instead.
  3. If you forget what you are going to say, as this does happen more frequently than you think, simply advance to the next slide. Nobody need know and the flow will be sustained.
  4. If for any reason the slide that you put on screen did not make perfect sense to the audience you will probably need to consider one of the following options post presentation:
    – Build it slowly in a different way
    – Change it / redesign it
    – Delete it.
  5. Rehearse your presentation to the point that you know what is going to happen and when upon every click of your mouse button or remote.
  6. As and when necessary use the power of the ‘Pause’ to best effect. When people feel an awkward silence they often feel compelled to fill it with nonsense. Instead use it to your advantage.
  7. Whatever happens do not apologise. It undermines the work and effort that you have put into your presentation.
  8. Never criticise your own presentation. I recall attending a major law firm webinar recently where the guest presenter opened with, “Sorry about the quality of the slides I just threw something together over the weekend”. I call this the ‘blame syndrome’ this is incredibly unprofessional and sets a very clear expectation to the audience that very little effort has been made. It also gives the impression that you do not care about your audience or possibly your role in your company.
  9. If talking about money or earnings off topic, changing the frame of reference can sometimes sound more appealing e.g. Saying £2.4m per annum says £200k each and every month.
  10. If you use figures at any point during your presentation never, under any circumstances contradict them. Make sure that all figures are consistent from start to finish.
  11. In any presentation situation make sure you always have a backup plan in the event of something going wrong. Laptop fails (can you jump on your tablet), remote fails (spare batteries)
  12. The topic of digital hand-outs is somewhat controversial. As a presenter myself, I want it all to be a surprise. This is harder to do if you send the slide desk or digital material to them ahead of the event. So use them only as an afterthought to support your audiences’ ability to recall your presentation.

Become A Virtual Meeting Expert

One of the key differentiators for any individual presenting is knowing the message you wish to convey and how you are going to use the features and functions within the chosen tool Cisco WebEx EventCenter™ or Google Hangout for example, to best effect in order to convey it.

Do I wish to capture feedback from the audience using Chat?

Do I want to use Q&A?

Do I want to use specifically designed slides that promote interaction?

Do I want to use video?

Do I want to share my screen, an application or document?

Most providers will offer training to all clients free of charge.

So, knowing your virtual meeting product inside and out is so important to the delivery of a smooth and compelling presentation. Become the best that you can be, as poor experiences will hinder your sales pitch.

When you understand all of the core controls, as a presenter, your levels of both comfort and confidence will grow exponentially. It’s important however, to set yourself a reasonable timeline to learn these new skills. Don’t try to rush it. These skills are not something that you simply pick up overnight they will require some time and effort.

Presenting is an art. Presenting online is a science, by that I refer to the fact that it requires a certain approach and methodology because of all of the elements involved. There is no set formula but if there was then I would recommend.

E = M C2 Where E (Efficiency) is equal to Meetings * Conferencing Squared.

The more of them that you host the better you become.

Improve your online sales presentation skills…

If you’re looking to take your virtual presentation skills onto the next level have you ever thought about taking some Sales Courses Online or attending a Virtual Sales Training Webinar. Both options will provide you with the skills and the techniques to improve your sales performance. We also have a very useful online programme which is delivered to your email over a 2 week period – it’s aimed at beginners and will provide you with 9 useful Sales Techniques.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image at

Sales DNA

Originally published: 12 April, 2020

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