Preparing for presentations can strike fear into the heart of even the most confident advisor. And while nearly every sales meeting is essentially a presentation itself, advisors still struggle with how to make each event unique and, more importantly, how to get the most out of the time you have.

David Lewis, a Denver-based business writer, has identified five specific steps to help make your next presentation into your next sale.

  1. Content. Be aware of who you’re selling to and what their needs are. If you’re meeting with someone specifically looking for annuity information, you might not include information about unrelated products. At the same time, be conscious of how your method will influence your audience. Lewis suggests printouts for older clients or large-screen demonstrations.
  2. Compression. Keep the client aware of their goals. This can be done in a variety of ways, but having a written document of the client’s financial goals, resources, and what they can do to reach those goals can be a motivating factor during a presentation.
  3. Clarity. Due to the complex nature of financial planning, simplicity goes a long way when dealing with clients. Use simple language and consider providing a glossary of common terms to newer clients while reviewing terms with experienced customers. Giving clients a sense of control will not only help them make educated decisions, but will increase their trust in you as an integral part of the planning process.
  4. Color. To help condense the complexity of the message into something digestible, remember the old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Use graphics to maximize understanding by simplifying large chunks of text, numbers, or anything else that can get in the way of comprehension. At the same time, be sure to make the message the main draw, not the fancy extras. Your clients are paying for your expertise, not your use of clip art.
  5. Collaboration. The process between the advisor and the client towards a plan of action is the last step. This step is about customization and adapting the message to immediate and future needs. To be truly effective, a presentation must provide a platform from which an advisor and client can move forward. This means presenting a client with comprehensive advice designed to get them to where they want to be.

Presentations can be daunting, but with the right preparation they don’t have to be. Make the most out of the time with your client by making your message count.