One of the most popular ways for financial services sales agents to market themselves is by presenting seminars, workshops, or “lunch and learn” events — and with good reason. These types of events put you in front of a room full of your ideal customers, interested in a topic on which you are an expert, and give you an opportunity to be seen as an expert and educate them on how you can help them.

But presentations aren’t just helpful in group settings for financial services sales; being able to share a custom presentation with a potential client at your first meeting can be an incredible tool to help you close the sale.

Whether presenting to an individual or a group, however, it’s important to keep some things in mind.

Why presentations are difficult for financial services sales

Anyone who’s ever sat in on a financial meeting at work probably knows how painful some financial presentations can be.

That’s often due to a variety of reasons we can sum up as “the expertise bias.”

When you are an expert in something — financial services, for example — you naturally forget what it was like to be a novice. That means you can start to take for granted that everyone knows and understands the concepts, formulas, and terms that you use on a daily basis.

Experts also, quite naturally, like to show off their expertise. Especially in the financial world, this often manifests as the expert attempting to “show their work” as part of the presentation — sharing all the data, charts, and formulas they used to arrive at a particular conclusion.

The problem with all of this is that, while it may show off your expertise to your peers, most often the presentation is not for your peers — and it leaves us lay people in the dust.

But with three simple tweaks, you can start to create presentations that will not only engage and resonate with your audience but also help you close more sales.

1. Turn data into stories

People respond much more favorably to stories than they do data and figures. Many financial services sales agents will want to fill their presentations with vast tables of numbers — and just cross their fingers that the audience will get the point.

Instead, flip the script. When you are planning and outlining your sales presentations, start with the 5 Ws — the who, what, when, where, and why — behind the numbers. Determine your key message, the main takeaway you want the audience to leave with, and then use the data to support that point, rather than the other way around.

When you tell stories with your presentations, you also help potential customers see themselves working with you and using your services. You can use anecdotes and case studies (anonymized if necessary) to demonstrate how your services help your clients achieve the desired outcome.

2. Put your content into context with visuals

Imagine a chart of numbers showing the annual increase in someone’s retirement accounts, for example.  Now imagine those numbers plotted on a line graph that clearly points up, up, up!

Which do you think is more compelling?

Charts, graphs, and other visuals can help your audience understand your message at a glance, instead of having to try to parse the point out of a huge table of numbers. As a bonus, our brains are much more likely to remember the visual of a graph or chart than to be able to remember a series of numbers.

Choose simple, easy-to-understand graphs and diagrams over complex ones, and use callouts to highlight important information as needed in order to make your message more visual and more memorable.

You can also include other types of visuals to help back up your message. For example, if you’re giving a financial services sales presentation on retirement planning, photos of happy people at retirement age, family gatherings, even vacation destinations can help your audience picture themselves enjoying a happy (and well funded) retirement.

Take it one step further and include animations and videos in your presentations for even more impact.

3. Make it personal

Let’s face it: most of us are really only concerned with what impacts us in any given situation. The global market is fluctuating? Fine, but what does that have to do with me?

Any good presentation should start with the audience in mind. For a financial services sales agent, that usually means that you are presenting to a lay person who needs your expert advice and support to make the best financial decisions. What they don’t need is for you to baffle them with a presentation full of numbers, equations, charts, and jargon. They want to pay you so they don’t have to understand all of that!

When you develop a presentation with the audience in mind, you can simplify your message. They don’t need to understand how you arrived at your conclusions — they need to understand that they can retire early, put their kids through college, or buy that summer home they’ve been dreaming of.

Whether you’re presenting to an individual or a group, with a little preliminary research and some good intuition, you can decide what’s important to your audience and frame your presentation in ways they will both understand and connect with — much more than numbers on a balance sheet or in a calculator.

Make it easy with Showcase

Of course, it’s one thing to create a great presentation for a new potential client — but how are you going to present it?

As we’ve noted above, presentation is everything; fumbling with software that doesn’t work, dongles that don’t line up, or files that won’t open will make a poor impression before you even start your presentation.

That’s why a solution like Showcase can be so powerful for financial services sales agents who are serious about using presentations to sell. Showcase easily collects all your presentation materials in one place, allows you to access them easily on any mobile device, and makes it easy to customize a presentation for any audience.

No more hauling reams of printed materials around with you to appointments when you can present straight from your mobile device (and think of all the trees you could save!).

Want to see how Showcase could make your presentations easier and more effective? Click here for a free trial.