We all make mistakes, but sales presentation mistakes can keep you from cashing in on a commission check.

They can cost you future business opportunities.

They can keep you from hitting quota.

Sales presentation mistakes can certainly be damaging, but they are certainly avoidable.

To keep sales reps from digging themselves into a hole standing in front of a room of C-level executives, we’ve compiled a list of sales presentation mistakes and how to avoid them.

Before the Sales Presentation Mistakes

1. Not understanding the goals for the presentation

Does your audience want to simply learn something new or make a purchase decision? Big difference there. Also, what do you want to get out of this presentation? It can change the way you present drastically.

2. Not knowing who your audience is

Who will be in attendance at your presentation? Decision makers? Champions of your product or service? Reluctant executives? Each of these groups and others could want something completely different than the other to come out of your presentation.

This will also prepare you for overcoming foreseeable objections.

During the Sales Presentation Mistakes

3. Not keeping track of time

If you’re given no more than 30 minutes to present, know when your time starts and how much time you have left. Leave yourself time for questions at the end as well.

4. Not establishing credibility

Give an overview of who you are, why you’re an expert, and why it’s worth your audience’s time to pay attention.

5. Not focusing on your prospect’s issues

Yeah you have this great product and it’s won all of these awards from industry groups and … who cares. If it doesn’t address a problem or pain the company you’re presenting to has, they sure won’t care. Present solutions, not products.

6. Not keeping your presentation simple

The last thing you want to do is start rambling about your product and service by listing all of the features and benefits. A better way to go about it is by researching the company you are presenting to, find a handful of features to focus on that fit their situation.

And don’t feel like you need a million slides in your presentation. Keep it to about five slides for every 20 minutes.

7. Not finishing your presentation strong

Control where the conversation goes after the presentation ends. If the next move in your sales process is a product demo, suggest to arrange a product demo. If the next move is to discuss pricing, set a time to talk numbers.

After the Sales Presentation Mistakes

8. Not following up

It’s nice to reach back out to your audience after your presentation offering to answer any follow up questions they might have. You can also send them additional collateral based on how the presentation went.

And be polite. Thank them for their time.