When your dream client signed on for a presentation, they weren’t expecting that their commitment would include all 4,201 slides in your deck. They were hoping that you would address their needs, share your ideas, and engage them in a dialogue.

If you have to present everything and the kitchen sink, you are really making the decision to present nothing.

Your slide deck needs to create the value your dream client needs and expects. It needs to provide enough value that it gains you the right to ask for the next commitment you need. It needs to open a conversation about how you can move your dream client’s business forward.

Here is how you can eliminate most of the slides in your deck and accomplish these goals.

Eliminate Who We Are

There are times when you need to share your company’s background with your dream client. But those occasions are more rare than you might believe, and there are other methods to provide that information, should your dream client need it.

The slides that show your company’s major milestones from the beginning of time to the present don’t add anything to your value proposition. The organizational chart that starts with your C-level executives doesn’t add any value either (although there may be a good reason to show them the members of the team that will work directly on their account). And unless the list of your locations is part of what’s being considered, it’s not going to do much to rev anybody up.

If you want to provide this information, it’s best provided as a supplemental handouts. If it isn’t necessary, cut it.

Eliminate Most of Your Offerings

Slide decks tend to get cluttered because one dream client asked a question, a slide gets built and added to the deck, and that slide lives in the deck for all eternity—even though it’s irrelevant to most of your dream clients.

The slide deck that you use to present to your dream client doesn’t have to include all of your service offerings, all of your processes and methodologies, or all of the details around your offerings or methodologies.

Here is the rule: Cut the slides that don’t add anything to the value proposition you are presenting now.

Anything That Doesn’t Fit

Have you ever seen a report embedded in a PowerPoint slide? It’s a thing of beauty, isn’t it?

There is content that just doesn’t belong in a slide. It doesn’t fit on a slide. It wasn’t designed for a slide. There really isn’t an effective way to use the information on a slide.

If it wasn’t made for a slide, it isn’t a slide. Cut it. It’s a handout.

Eleven Slides

Cut your slide deck to exactly eleven slides. Start by defining the value proposition of your sales call and your solution. If you had to choose only eleven slides to tell the story you need to tell, which eleven slides would you choose?

To cut slides, you have to ruthlessly determine what is essential to making your presentation valuable to your client, as well as what is essential to you being able to ask for and gain the commitment you need. The more slides you need to create this value, the less likely you have honed in on what is vitally important.

With so few slides (plenty!) you eliminate the opportunity to monologue and you ensure dialogue.

What To Do If You Need More Slides

I know. You’re frightened. What if you need slides that aren’t in your deck? No problem.

One way to ensure you have the slides that you need when you need them is to build a menu of supplemental material and bury your slides after your closing. If you need a few slides to support a point you are making, you have them available and can get to them quickly. But if you don’t need them, they don’t distract you—or your dream client—from your main points.

Go ahead and chop away.


How much of your presentation is truly necessary to achieving the outcome of your presentation?

Look at each slide. Does it create value for your dream client? Could you make your meaning without that slide?

Which slides in your deck should really be written handouts? What information might be presented in some other way?

Sales 2012
Post by Anthony Iannarino on July 25, 2012
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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