It takes a team to win business
Team presentations are becoming more popular, but the biggest mistake is when each member presents as if they are on their own, instead of as a cohesive unit.
It’s even more challenging when you want to include freelancers who provide technology, marketing or other services in the sales presentation.
It’s also challenging when you rely too heavily on your superstars to present your capabilities. One company president told me he and the CEO closed a lot of sales, but they were doing all the presentations as well as managing the company.
Here are some tips for giving a knockout team presentation:
Prepare. Meet in advance to determine roles, timing and logistics. Decide in advance who will answer certain questions. Schedule a dress rehearsal in person or by phone if you have to, but don’t skip a rehearsal.
Appoint a leader or facilitator. That may or may not be the CEO or owner. Often, the account manager can lead the meeting. Choose a point person to chair the meeting, facilitate questions and close the meeting.
Present your agenda visually. The leader opens the meeting, introduces the team members and shares the agenda. (The agenda can be projected on a screen or outlined on paper.) This serves as a roadmap for the attendees.
Plan your transitions. To create a smooth flow, team members must transition smoothly and “pass the baton” to the next speaker. For example, say: “That covers the tax issues. Now, Ray will talk to you about estate planning.”
Time each segment and rehearse out loud. Effective presenters finish on time.
Check in for understanding. Periodically, ask if the attendees have any questions, offer clarification and be sure they are in agreement before you continue. You don’t want to reach the end of the presentation only to be faced with multiple misunderstandings and objections.
Look at the decision-makers, not your teammates, during the presentation. It’s more professional for the team to be looking in one direction. Check for non-verbal signals from your audience and be aware of your own body language. If you look bored, you’ll create a negative impression.
Don’t debate or interrupt a teammate. If a speaker omits a key point or provides incorrect information, let them finish. Then, add your point: “If I can clarify what John just said…”
End with a strong close. Be clear about your desired outcome. Don’t ask, “Are there any questions?” Summarize and tell them the next step. “We’ve discussed investments, taxes and estate planning. The next step is to sit down and take a look at your portfolio.”