What to include in your sales deck

A good sales deck increases the impact of your value proposition. In order for that to happen, your sales deck needs to reach two objectives: understanding and memorability. In other words, your audience needs to understand your value proposition and remember it. Like a spotlight, your sales deck needs to highlight the key points of your value proposition and shape the way your customers think about your product. Like a megaphone, it helps you communicate your value proposition loud and clear. Keep reading to find out what to include in your sales deck.

Talk about change

The times, they are a-changin’. Kick your presentation off by talking about a recent significant shift in the status quo. Think of something that has recently rattled the world of your audience, and therefore requires their action. Without getting straight into the specifics of your value proposition, this allows you extract the pain points of your audience, without talking about the point points yourself.

Steve Jobs commenced his 2007 speech introducing the iPhone with “Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.” In one sentence he painted the picture of a world about to be changed by the product that he was about to introduce.

What to include in your sales deck is a bold statement about a change that has been bestowed upon your audience, why it matters and what is being done about it.

You win some, you lose some

Underline that in this pivotal change, there will be winners and losers. Studies in Psychology suggest that losses are twice as powerful as gains. Loss aversion is an important concept in Behavioral Economics. It refers to people’s tendency to prefer to avoid losses than to acquire gains. It explains why penalty is often more effective than reward.

What to include in your sales deck is a clear distinction between the winning camp and the losing camp. By doing this, you begin to set the foundation for your value proposition, without explicitly telling your audience that you hold the answer to their dilemma. The key is to only set the bait and let your audience get their themselves. Do this by underlining the common thread between the winners and the losers. Who would want to be a loser after that?

In the same speech, Steve Jobs concluded that the smartphone losers all had one thing in common: plastic buttons that were a constant for every single application, whether necessary or not. The winner, however, had digital “buttons” that changed depending on the application — the iPhone touchscreen.

The grass is definitely greener on the other side

The grass is greener on the other side, and your value proposition is what’s going to get your audience there. Similar to painting a picture of a changed world, you want to paint a picture of a desirable future, one that cannot be achieved without your value proposition. Talk about life thanks to your offer, not about life with your offer. For example, instead of talking about using the most vibrant paint, talk about a more colorful home. Or instead of talking about an eco-friendly washing machine, talk about a healthy planet.

Again, it is all about setting a foundation for your value proposition, which should be the next point. What to include in your sales deck is a picture of an ideal life, one that can only be achieved thanks to your value proposition.

Value proposition

At this point, you have already introduced your audience to a significant shift in the status quo. They already believe this shift to be true. You have already established that there will be losers and winners. Your audience is already lining up for the winning queue because losing just is not an option. You have already shown them what life would be like in the promised land. Your audience already cannot imagine life otherwise. And so far you have only implied all of this, without actually talking about your product, leaving your audience to lead to your desired conclusion themselves.

You have set the perfect foundation for your value proposition—the perfect trap for your audience. After all, who does not want to be on the winning end of this pivotal change in the world? Who does not want to have a secure and worry-free future? No one. At this point, opting for your value proposition is a no-brainer for your audience.

If they want to be a part of a global movement to save the planet, they need to change their habits. If they want to live in a better planet, they need to use more energy efficient machines in their household. Enter: your eco-friendly washing machine.

What to include in your sales deck is a clear definition of your product as the one and only means to get your audience to where they need to be. What kind of features does the washing machine have that will help your audience achieve the life that they so desire?

A club of happy customers

After making your audience go through a rollercoaster of different scenarios that all lead them to believe your value proposition, it is time to make sure that they feel secure enough that you — of all the possible options — can get them there. How has your idea been vetted? What is the qualitative or quantitative proof that yours is a superior solution? A list of happy customers always does the trick.

What to include in your sales deck is a nice list of customers that you have helped. How did your customers make use of your value proposition? What did they think of it—of you? You want to present your customers as happy members of an exclusive club that, through the help of your service, have reached greener pastures.

Spend time on your presentation design

Repeat: understanding and memorability. A poorly designed presentation will distract your audience from your value proposition. Do you really want your brilliantly crafted sales pitch to go down the drain because of bad PowerPoint presentation design? Of course not. Make sure that your sales deck design serves the purpose of highlighting your value proposition.