Just as with movies, an effective sales presentation is made up of different segments. It begins with an introduction, in which the subject is presented; this is followed by the development of the idea (the central part of the presentation); and it ends with a conclusion, a logical ending point. And as with movies and stories, we can call this segmentation – the “beginning, middle and end” – Act 1, Act 2 and Act 3, each of which has a different job to do.
So, to create the segmented presentation:
Act 1 – The Beginning: a good start
Act 1 is the introduction, and aims to create interest in the audience, since the audience is not ready to be pitched when you start. They are still thinking about what they left at their desks, worried about their bosses and flirting with their smartphones.
After the introduction, comes the theme or slogan. The slogan should be concise, and it should be consistent with the purpose of the presentation. Although in most cases the slogan clearly reveals its purpose, there are situations in which a slogan can leave a question in the air for the audience or an expectation that needs to be met in the following acts. These two kinds of slogans are quite different, but both can work well depending on the circumstances.
Act 2 – The Middle: the body of the presentation and the support arguments
The second act is the development of the argument that supports the concept presented in the introductory first act. This step, which takes up about 90% of the presentation time, includes the various parts (or chapters/scenes) of the presentation and should be based in a story that answers the following questions:
• Who? (Or What?)
• How much?
• To what?
The order and manner in which these questions are answered is what makes one script different from another, one story different from another. But addressing all these questions is critical to creating an effective sales presentation.
It’s also worth mentioning that in Act 2 it’s common to find subdivisions. If the characteristics of a new product are being demonstrated for a sales team, for example, each of the key product attributes can be identified by a subtitle on a slide that is unique to that attribute.
Finally, try to start Act 2 with an ‘agenda’ slide that tells the audience what’s going to be seen. This makes the content more informative and the flow more educational.
Act 3 – The End: drawing conclusions
The third act is the closure portion of a presentation, a ‘grand finale’ that preferably incorporates, reinforces and consolidates the main messages. For a presentation to make total sense, the conclusion should lead the audience to the slogan or theme revealed in the introduction.
Although it’s actually a very small part of a presentation, Act 3 usually moves as follows:
• It starts with a climax (set up in Act 2).
• It draws a conclusion.
• It restates the slogan or the “DNA” of the main message.
• It consolidates the messages of the presentation.
Always remember these 3 Acts when preparing an Effective Sales Presentation.