The following tips will help keep your laptop presentations in tune with even your toughest clients.
1. Reach the right crowd. Make sure to deliver the appropriate information and level of detail. Most people are given only 20 minutes to half an hour to make a pitch, so get to the points of interest quickly and make the most of your audience’s precious time.
2. Position your portable properly. Point your screen away from the glare of windows and light sources. If you can, find a neutral location for your notebook that gets your customer out from behind his desk. It’s important from a psychological standpoint.
3. Warm up your crowd. Take a few minutes beforehand to ask questions and establish a comfortable rapport with your audience. This will help you better focus your pitch to suit your prospect’s specific needs and prevent it from sounding totally canned.
4. Focus on the prospect, not the technology. To keep your customer involved, you should stop, swivel your body toward the client, and ask a qualifying question about what has been shown onscreen, such as, “Is that a feature that you think would be useful?” Then ask what he or she would like to see next. The more you’re able to let your potential buyer drive the discussion, the better.
5. Show them less, not more. If you’re presenting on a small screen, there should be no more than six words to a line, or six words per image. Otherwise, the screen will appear too crowded and be annoying and difficult to read.
6. Know it cold. It’s a good idea to have your talk more or less memorized, and to know the key points of your presentation even when working with a notebook. That way, if you don’t know where to find something within the pages on your screen, you can say it off the top of your head rather than fumble through your presentation in front of your customer.
7. Preload your notebook. When presenting Internet-based material, don’t dial up during a pitch. Instead of relying on an iffy modem connection, surf the Web before your presentation, downloading screen captures of selected sites, and incorporating them into your material. This way, they’ll pop right up during the real thing.
8. Create a leave-behind that’s every bit as good as the presentation. Before going on a sales pitch, prepare leave-behind materials that incorporate many of the presentation’s key elements plus more detailed information. Not only does this serve as a backup (especially if your technology betrays you), it gives prospects a chance to study the finer points of your product later.