Taking Centre Stage


If you are moving into or hoping to move into a career involving face-to-face sales, especially in the B2B environment, then you need to get used to delivering professional and productive presentations. If you have no experience in giving presentations, then it is a good idea to get some practice or formal training as you don't want to find out to your cost that you are out of your depth. If you are applying for jobs that will involve face-to-face selling via sales recruitment agencies in the West Midlands, then use the interview process with them as practice for your presentation skills. Ask for honest feedback and work on the pointers you are given. When it comes to separating the good presentations from the bad, preparation is everything. That doesn't just mean to make sure you know your product inside out. It also means making sure you know your audience. What is their role or purchasing driver in the process? It means being able to pace your presentation to make the optimum use of the time you have allotted to you. It means learning to understand the body language of your audience so that you can maximise the impact of your delivery to keep them engaged. And it means getting used to speaking in front of a lot of people. This can be nerve-racking at the best of times, and however much you know your stuff a total mind blank can happen to anyone. A fail-safe approach to preparing a great presentation can involve the creation of a set of prompt cards or a script. If you know your subject well enough, this shouldn't need to be something you read word for word. It can just be something to remind you of what's coming next and to store any complicated facts and figures that you need to get right. They can also be helpful aids to keep reminding you to keep speaking at a slow enough pace and to keep making eye contact with the audience — all things that can be forgotten when under pressure. Remember that some of your audience might not want to be there, so do your best to keep them engaged. Drop in the odd question now and then to regain their attention and steer your focus to any obvious areas of interest notable from their replies. It is a good skill to be able to read the body language of your audience to see if they are listening, interested and thinking about decisions or if they are bored, challenging you or have drifted off into other thoughts. Above all, be mindful of people's time, and never overrun on the time you have been allotted unless this has been agreed. Keep an eye on your timings and if you are running over, then skip to the main points you need to make. If the prospect of presenting to lots of decision makers doesn't fill you with dread, then you may well be cut out for a career in sales. Speak to your local sales recruitment agencies in the West Midlands to find out what opportunities are available.