You can’t turn back time. Unfortunately, you may be hoping to do so after a sales pitch that goes haywire. If you stumble over your words, you may come off as unsure of yourself. Not knowing a particular component of your software demo may lead the clients to choose a competitor instead. That’s not what you want. While you can’t redo a sales pitch, you can improve your presentations over time through self-evaluation.
The mere thought of watching your presentation back to yourself may make you cringe. How you think you sound and appear is oftentimes different than what shows on screen. Thus, the cognitive dissonance of hearing your voice, but not recognizing it, can be alarming. You may be surprised that you can’t tell that your hands are shaking but may pick up on trepidation in your voice.
Watching your own sales presentation back can be advantageous if you’re struggling to get through your full spiel. The same goes if you are less certain about a specific portion of your talk. The more you watch yourself, the more you’ll learn about how to improve overall, resulting in a solid pitch.
What are the Benefits of Self-Evaluation?
Watching yourself on a screen may be nerve wracking, and yet there are more benefits to watching yourself than drawbacks. First, you’ll be able to analyze your delivery. How you appear in-person and onscreen shows how prepared and confident you are in the material. If you trip up over your words or start to hesitate, you can make the audience feel nervous for you.
Second, self-evaluation is a way to recognize what sections you need to practice. For example, you may start great and charming as you speak about your company. But when you start going through the demo and sharing your screen, you may not be as sure of yourself. No matter if you give most of your sales pitches in person or remotely, it may be best to tape this portion instead. You can insert this video into your presentation and have it playing as you speak about what is going on.
To pre-tape this portion, it’s easiest to use a screen recorder, a tool that captures exactly what is on your screen. If you’re running through a demo and want to show how to from start to finish, you may decide to record your full screen activity.
Alternatively, you can opt to record just part of your screen and/or include a webcam overlay. If you want to record sound, you can select your audio and microphone preferences as well. Watch your demo again as you go through your full presentation, ensuring it’s embedded and flows seamlessly.
How Can You Use Your Self-Evaluations To Your Advantage?
Watching your recordings for the sake of it won’t necessarily enhance your pitch. As you’re reviewing, be on the lookout for areas of improvement. Are you swaying too much back and forth to the point that it’s distracting? Do you look too stiff as if you’ve memorized your lines? Or are you talking too quickly or mumbling without clearly enunciating your words?
These are all common public speaking behaviors that you may pick up on as you go through your footage. Jot down where you can improve and identify ways that you can work on these areas. For instance, it may be helpful to recite your lines to a mirror to pick up on any of these mistakes. Alternatively, you may ask your sales director or a fellow seller to watch you present. They may be able to provide additional tips, especially if they are giving the same type of pitch.
Once you’ve identified all of these areas of improvement, keep practicing. With each take, you’ll likely notice where you’re integrating these tips and where you still need to focus on. For instance, mumbling may be something that happens when your heart is racing in front of another colleague. Keep a list of three to five items that you want to prioritize on a sticky note and review it before rehearsing again. Having these items top of mind will help you focus as you keep rehearsing.
Takeaways: Nailing Your Presentation
When your pitch day arrives, take a breath. Knowing that you’ve practiced all that you can will help you feel more at ease. Even if you’re a bit nervous, try not to be stiff. Each pitch will be unique regardless of the information being the same, so be prepared to go with the flow.
If you’re presenting remotely via Zoom or Microsoft Teams, take a recording of your presentation. Again, you can use your handy screen recorder to capture yourself and your audience’s reactions. Doing so will allow you to keep finessing your pitch.
Even though you may feel foolish watching and rewatching yourself, remember that it’s a way to track your progress. Athletes, actors/actresses, comedians, and many other performers review their footage regularly. The more you review, the more easily you’ll identify your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. And, most importantly, all of your hard work may just result in better closing rates — the real testament to how well you’re doing.