The Pitch Deck Mistakes You Must Avoid as a Consultant
A consulting slide deck or consulting PowerPoint presentation is your pitch to a potential client.
Unfortunately, presentation mistakes can cost you the business you are pitching for.
Here are four tips to help you avoid mistakes and improve your hit rate.
- Amateurism is a no-no
- Do your homework
- Tell a story
- Have a call to action
Amateurism Is a Consulting Slide Deck No-No
Even if this is your first-ever consulting PowerPoint presentation, there is no excuse for amateurism.
Consultants should perhaps learn from professionals designing websites. They are concerned about both UX and UI design.
- UX is about user experience. How does the user feel, and how easily can they achieve their goals?
- UI is about look and feel and interactivity elements.
Consultants should ask themselves about the goals of the audience. Do they want a general introduction, specific solutions to their problems, or information about who you are? How well is the presentation delivering what they want?
It’s essential to put yourself in the shoes of an audience seeing information for the first time, and ask,
- Can everyone see the slides – are fonts large enough, and is the page simple enough?
- Are the most important elements obvious?
- How much clutter is there?
Lilly Walters puts it like this, "The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives."
If you have a critical pitch, it might be worth spending a few hundred dollars on a professional graphic designer.
Short And Sweet Works
One of the presentation mistakes is to have a deck that is too long or too detailed.
The rule of thumb is that 15 slides are enough for a pitch deck. Anything more makes you look unfocused. This forces you to identify the critical elements and present them concisely, without fluff.
Infographics, charts, photographs, and even video clips are helpful, provided you know exactly why each one is included.
Do Your Homework
A consulting PowerPoint presentation is not just about content. The context is equally important.
Only Present to Those Who Are Interested
The most brilliant presentation is lost on those who don’t need the service.
Before you present your pitch deck, do thorough research on the audience.
- What is their previous history of using consultants?
- What specific problem in their business could you address?
- Who are the change drivers?
- Are there any similarities between your experiences and theirs?
Be Prepared for Questions
The good news is your audience asks questions if they have connected with your presentation. But they want immediate answers.
Expect questions about your team, project management, the market opportunity, as well as your financials and key metrics. If you promise high returns, be ready to explain the factors you have considered.
Also acknowledge the strengths of your competitors and show how you match up.
It’s a good idea to run your presentation past friends or colleagues to see what questions they ask.
Add a Call to Action to Your Consulting Slide Deck
A presentation mistake is to end triumphantly with everything you can do and not tell the audience what they should do. So, remember to add a call to action (CTA).
Types Of Calls To Action
If you want your message to be clear, use only one type of CTA in a presentation:
- Call to change: You want your audience to think differently or adopt a new methodology or idea
- Call to stop: You want your audience to stop doing something – for example, using manual instead of digital systems
- Call to deter or discourage: You want to persuade your audience not to start something
- Call to continue: You want the audience to keep doing something – e.g., using your services or funding a project
How To Make A Powerful Call To Action
Let’s assume you want the audience to trial your new digital product. Your CTA might look like this:
To access a 7-day free trial of [wonderful product]
- Login to [website]
- Enter your email
- Press download
This CTA is a call to change and demonstrates a few tips:
- Be clear and specific. Make the CTA short and add data - e.g., the website address
- Ask the audience to act quickly. Here they have 7 days.
- Offer a reward (a free trial) because everyone is asking, What’s in it for me?
- Make the CTA easy to do. You want them to buy your new digital product, and you are giving them an easy first step.
- Always add the CTA to your consulting slide deck. Make sure the font is large enough and that there is plenty of white space around it.
A critical point is that although your CTA may be the last slide (don’t add a thank-you slide after it), it must be framed in the context of benefit to the audience.
So, you might have an introductory sentence on the slide:
“[Wonderful product] will give you an extra three hours on every working day.”
Key Takeaways for Your Consulting Slide Deck
Professional techniques will help you develop powerful consulting slide decks and avoid presentation mistakes.
Make sure that the presentation itself looks professional and addresses the goals of the audience. Then do your homework, learn to tell a story, and add a clear call to action.
Try these tips and see what effect they have on your next consulting PowerPoint presentation!