If you’re not using presentations to promote your expertise, you’re missing out on one of the
most powerful marketing tools available to professionals. Here are five reasons presentations
should be at the top of your list for marketing activities.
Presentations cast you in a different role. Instead of being seen as a salesperson or a
marketer, you’re seen as an expert and an advisor. Presentations provide an especially effective
way to make an audience aware of needs they might not even realize they have. With the right
presentation, you immediately establish your professional reputation and credibility. The wellexecuted
presentation provides an excellent start to building the relationships crucial to
success in professional selling. Just as writing a book or article lends credibility to the author,
speaking helps you build your status as an expert. Presentations also provide a key point of
differentiation. The person who can clearly express her ideas is seen as more intelligent and
more self-confident than the person who stumbles through a disorganized presentation. When
you’re competing for business, a well-crafted presentation can give you the advantage because
better presenters are more persuasive. An architect once reported in one of my seminars that
he was sure his firm was more successful in getting business because the people they chose to
pitch for the business were highly trained in presentation skills.
Presentations allow you to customize your material. Unlike a print run of brochures or
postcards, you can customize your talk for each specific audience you address. You can take
advantage of a system of marketing that highlights the most effective approach for particular
audiences. You can choose when to use examples, case studies or testimonials that will appeal
to very specific audiences. Further, based on the feedback you receive, you can make on-thespot
adjustments to create the most effective message.
Presentations create opportunities for audience interaction. The interactive nature of
presentations works to your advantage. In a face-to-face setting you can engage all three
channels of communication–the verbal, the visual and the vocal. When these three channels
reinforce one another, you’ll be even more effective in making your message heard. The
feedback you receive allows you to adjust your material and tackle objections as they arise.
Presentation audiences are not passive sponges soaking up your message. They are involved
participants in the communication process. Because they already want to be there, you can
focus on moving them further along the sales process. Imagine having 30 minutes to educate
your prospects about your services with no interruptions! Your audience often contains highlyqualified prospects. People choose to attend a sales presentation, product demonstration or
continuing education course because there’s something of interest to them.
Presentations furnish high-value marketing at a lower cost. Compared to almost any
kind of advertising, presentations produce a higher ratio of qualified prospects. What would 30
minutes of airtime on a radio or television station cost? When you send out 5000 pieces of
direct mail, how much of it ends up in the recycle bin? Presentations require an investment in
time, but if you plan properly, you’ll receive a very high return on that investment. Presentations also lower the cost of acquiring new clients. This is the most direct way to be in
front of your prospects. When you speak to a group, you’ll often get three opportunities for
publicity. First, when the event is advertised, you can provide a brief synopsis of your talk for
brochures, mailers, the website and even a newsletter. Second, if your talk is newsworthy, you
may receive some media coverage during the event itself. Third, there is an opportunity for
exposure in a summary of the event for the organization’s newsletter or annual report.
Presentations offer prospects the opportunity to “try before they buy.” When
prospects see you present, they get an idea of what it would be like to work with you. They get
the opportunity to see your unique take on issues and to see how you interact with others.
Past experience always influences the choice of a professional service provider. Also, because
someone has seen you present, they often feel they can safely refer you to friends and
Granted, crafting an effective presentation takes planning, preparation and thought. It’s an
investment of your time, but one that can provide significant returns.