For consultants, the client presentation is part of the value delivered – and so it makes sense to get it right. A consultant spends weeks together researching, thinking, testing, and prototyping, and so on. It all goes vain if slides look bad and not able to deliver the presentation successfully during the client meeting. But most of the time, many consultants create huge text-heavy slide decks that work OK as documents, but they leave a trail of bored clients in their wake during the presentation meeting.
So, how should you give a great client presentation? What should consultants do to deliver more value with their client presentations?
We give below a few of the suggestions that help you to improve the presentations that would impress the client during the meeting.
Seven different styles – Structuring your presentation
Fact and Story
The presentation moves back and forth between facts and stories. Mixing storytelling with the relay of facts can help your audience stay interested until the end of your presentation.
The main purpose of the Explanation is to inform you about a process or plan to either fix a problem or learn something new. It shows the progression of the facts along with the flow of the story.
The Pitch presentation structure is like a climb uphill that takes you over a hurdle and on to a positive resolution. It is used to show how the presenter’s idea can really improve a situation.
The Drama is often used to tell the story of an influential company from founding days, through trials and tribulations, and then finishes with an inspiring show of success.
Situation – Complication – Resolution
B2B sales and business consultancy follow the Situation – Complication – Resolution structure.
- Situation – Current conditions are shown in an unbiased and transparent way.
- Complication – Present it as the challenge that needs to be overcome.
- The final destination is The Resolution, which is connected to The Complication.
Situation – Opportunity – Resolution
A similar structure to the one above, the Situation – Opportunity – Resolution replaces Complication with Opportunity. This structure is perfect when you need to show that something is not that hard to fix; that the problem might not be so big after all and that the solution is easy to grasp.
Hook, Meat, and Payoff
Hook, Meat, and Payoff are more like a spoken-word progression.
- Hook – The presenter gives the audience a sense of place and time, plus the situation.
- Meat – The story progresses, and all the information is relayed in an interesting way
- Payoff – Inspiring conclusion that leaves the audience feeling inspired.
Understanding your Client needs – Designing your client presentation
After spending a significant amount of time and effort creating a presentation, you want to impress the client with your findings and recommendations. Even though you are presenting, you want to encourage client feedback. It will allow the client to be more involved while also giving you further information that you may not have received otherwise.
Ask the client for input before beginning
You will lose your audience if the material being presented does not speak to their concerns. Instead of a presentation that showcases many ideas but lacks focus, tell a story based on the client’s input. The presentation will be tailored to that client and address their specific needs.
List the key takeaways at the beginning
You should tell a story through your presentations, but you should also include a summary at the beginning. This summary can be bullet points that give an executive-level overview.
Have a clear agenda
Your presentation must have a clear and compelling agenda. Begin with compelling reasons to consider your proposal and culminate with a specific request for the business.
Begin your presentation by illustrating the opportunity or challenge that your client is overlooking. Make sure it is compelling enough to motivate your client to listen to the end.
Discuss the benefits that your client will achieve by adopting your solution. Use a customer case study or testimonial to support your point.
Present your plan or options to resolve the client’s challenge/opportunity.
Briefly share your company’s background, including who your company helps with these issues.
Before closing your presentation, be sure to ask for the business. Being able to effectively present proposals is key to your success.
Call to Action
To be effective, get to the point and focus on vision and stories. Use PowerPoint or Keynote as supporting material and be sure to keep it short. The presentation should begin with compelling reasons to consider your proposal and culminate with a specific request for the business.
Handy tips to improve client presentations
- Choose the right foundation
- Set expectations ahead of time
- Survey your audience
- Gauge your client’s mood
- Set a client or prospect at ease
- Prepare for multiple scenarios
- Respect your company brand
- Pay attention
- Show and tell
- Show your proof points
- Keep core message crisp and clear
- Use High-impact visuals
- Include a summary
- Take time to practice well
- Encourage interaction
Key elements to improve while designing your presentation
Visuals support but do not replace the speaker
The presentation has two key parts – visuals (usually slides), and a speaker. If the slides are self-explanatory, then the audience will read through the slides, ignoring the speaker. If the slides have complex or data-heavy material, the speaker must explain them in detail.
Create separate slides and handouts
Do not be tempted to use the same slides to present and to leave with the client as an abridged report. The best approach is to create a version of your slides to present, then add additional information to a separate version to use as a report.
Do not follow the design rules blindly – tailor them
A lot of consultants are exposed to a lot of “rules” about slide design, many of them suggest a strict pattern to follow upon. Consultants are paid to analyze, measure, and think. Do not ignore these skills and accept only the strict patterns blindly to compromise quality content.
Thought to ideas – Creative Visuals
Try using Post-It with a key point on each and arranging them to help plan your structure. Then paper and a pen to sketch out your visuals. First, arrange your thoughts flow into ideas and then structure them to create visuals.
Set clear objectives
You typically have things you want to achieve – to explain, to justify, or to promote. Making these explicit when you start to create your presentation helps you know what you want to work towards achieving your plan.
Do not always try to tell a story
It is almost clichéd to suggest that good presentations should tell stories. But, if there is nothing surprising, nothing unexpected, and nothing exciting, it might not make the best story. Try the other presentation structures, that may appeal to the audience.
Design gorgeous graphs
Consultants use a lot of graphs because they typically share a lot of data. Design your graphs that look creative and professional to depict the data meaningfully. Do not clutter your graphs with a complex data structure that keeps the audience confused.
Ensure your slides are not too busy:
Often, slides contain too many bullet points, an influx of images, or graphs/charts that are not clear. It is not that the information is not relevant, it is that it gets overlooked.
Include only key data – Other data be in Appendix
Keep an appendix at the end of the presentation and include all the data you want without having to tell the client to explicitly look at it. The client can review the appendix section, on the client’s time if they are so inclined.
Use meaningful visuals
It sounds obvious, but presentation visuals should be meaningful. Ask if that graphic/visual helps me explain things? If not, what is it for? Choose the visuals wisely that support you to explain.
Pay a designer to create a unified design
Nothing says ‘cobbled together’ like inconsistent presentation design. If you are sensible, do not spend your own time trying to become a PowerPoint expert. Pay a presentation designer and use your precious time for your key business goals.
Client presentations tend to be classified as time-consuming and somewhat tedious, but they should be looked at as an opportunity. You have the chance to showcase your work while engaging the client to see how both parties can improve. Focus more on your presentations, and your relationships will prosper.
If you are looking to use ready-made presentation designs to shorten the process, reach us and our team of designers take up your assignment to create customized layout designs for you.