Just to be clear, if you’re looking for an article about how to write a pitch deck, this is not the one. However, bare with me, as I am sure that you’ll find tips that you can utilize. Let me elaborate the difference and provide you with advice on how to write a killer sales deck.
What’s the difference between a pitch deck and a sales deck?
A good way to remember this distinction is that with a sales deck, we’re actually aiming to take the emphasis away from the pitch, while opting to engage our prospects with a compelling story, geared towards your customers’ needs, and represented by our brand. So how to write a killer sales deck?
Start with a compelling opener
Just like a movie, you’ll need to hook your audience early. A great way to do this while also setting the tone for your story is to highlight the problem your business solves. However, it’s wise to do this in an indirect way, so your prospect nods along with you, rather than directly suggesting they have the particular problem. For example, you could highlight a general industry trend, or that some of your other customers have had similar issues, rather than simply assuming your prospect will immediately recognize their experience with this problem. This approach can have the added bonus of inducing what I like to call the ‘sheeple effect’: the feeling that others have this problem, and that those who don’t address it are prone to being left behind.
Keep it short and snappy
Ideally, you want your deck to be as short as possible – although admittedly this may be easier for some propositions than others. One of the core aims of a sales deck is to educate the prospect on the essence of your offering, leaving them wanting to find out more – not leaving them feeling like they’ve heard everything you have to offer just from a few slides. I find it helpful to write out every point I may want to make, then review it. Be ruthless – decide on, say, 5 important points you want to cover, and then consider dropping 2 of them. Remember, a sales deck is just an aid, your salespeople have the job of delving deeper into the customers needs and handling objections as they arise.
Utilize minimal design:
You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create an engaging deck which gives the correct impression of your brand. The easiest way to approach this is to not reinvent the wheel, and not try to do too much. Aim to deliver just one point on each page. As long as the slides are not cluttered, you can draw the prospects eye to that main message with ease. Remember, in some cases, this may be the only chance you have to leave a memorable impression – make sure you at least make your main points clear.
Images are great tools for communicating lots of information quickly, in an engaging way.
Infographics can be particularly useful to illustrate relatively complex ideas and help the customer visualize your story, without taking too much effort to read. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, images are memorable.
Highlight benefits (rather than features)
You’ve probably heard some version of this before: your prospect doesn’t care about your product, they just care about how their life will improve due to it. For example, rather than a car salesman stating that a car has heated seats, they may want to frame it in a way that helps their prospect view it through their consumer lens, such as pointing out that they will avoid being cold during the winter months. Furthermore, it allows you to link benefits to any specific pain points which you know your prospect has, or is likely to have. However, beware slipping into ‘pitching’ territory. Try to interweave these benefits throughout your story and keep your customers needs at the center of your message. Put yourself in their shoes: how would you respond to being told what to buy, as opposed to being offered a solution toward solving your painful problems?
Closing statement: provide a clear call-to-action
Now that you have sufficiently engaged your prospect, educated them on the essence of your offering, and left a lasting, positive impression of your brand, let them know where can they find you, how can they get in touch, find out more, or continue the discussion with your sales team. I will generally leave pricing out of the deck, so the client is compelled to look further into your proposition, perhaps by going to your website, where they can register their interest and provide contact details. Ultimately, this will depend on the situation, so its usually a good idea to create a few different versions of your deck and experiment with them. Good luck!