If you pitch for a specific piece of work and don’t get it that dissapointing but at least you know that you lost it and you can try and do something about it before the next pitch.

But what about when you give a presentation to a group of potential clients with the hope of generating new leads. What happens if your presentation turns your audience off rather than on?  You could be losing sales because they won’t even invite you to pitch and may even talk about your poor pitch to friends and colleagues. The knock-on cost of a poor presentation is potentially enormous.

Recently I attended a networking event where a technical expert was presenting a “tips and tricks” type session. I was interested in the subject and a potential client and so were most of the people in the room. The problem was that the presentation was dry and dull and that reflected badly on the speaker.

His mistakes included:

  • No interaction with the audience – we were “talked at” for over 45 minutes
  • Failing to follow the promised agenda
  • Attempting to illustrate his points with irrelevant examples made up on the fly rather than giving us real examples from past clients
  • Using slides consisting solely of text heavy bullet points when he could have shown screen captures of real examples

I could go on…

Was I confident that he really was an expert in his field and did I want to hire him – no not really?
Was his audience, involved, engaged and excited?- Nope!

I estimate that his presentation could have cost him at least £3,500 in lost sales.

So what should he have done? Well there are basically two options:

1) Avoid public speaking and rely on traditional marketing techniques to generate his sales.

2) Get some help and learn how to craft and deliver a persuasive presentation.

If you find public speaking terrifying or even just uncomfortable then the first option may seem like a no brainer but stop and think for a moment.

When you are selling professional consultancy services trust is a key part of the sale and presenting is a very cost effective and fast way to establish trust. So don’t write it off without giving it a try.   Get some professional help and ensure that your presentations, engage, enthuse and inspire!


  1. Fred E. Miller on 02/08/2011 at 13:32

    Gavin, you certainly made good point here.

    We should always put our best foot forward and realize that great potential clients could be in every audience.

    Thanks for the Post!

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