8 Tips to Make an Effective Sales Deck Headline

Sales decks get a bad rap. They’re often seen as gimmicks or PowerPoint presentations that are inessential to the sales process and overused by under-qualified salespeople. But when used effectively, they can be an effective way to drive conversations and close deals.

So why do you need a good sales deck headline? Well, for starters, research shows that people remember only 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read — but 80% of what they see. Headlines help set the stage for the audience so it’s important to spend time crafting one that will catch their attention in just a few seconds.

We put together this guide with eight headline tips to help you make a high-impact, effective pitch.

Via Unsplash / @xteemu

1) Your sales pitch presentation headline should be clear and conversational
Your headline should be easy to understand, even for readers who are skimming. The last thing you want is for people to enter your deck with the wrong assumptions about what it’s about.

If possible, avoid jargon and insider phrases. You don’t want people reading your slides and having no idea what they mean or why they matter so make sure your headline matches their level of understanding.

2) Avoid exaggeration
There’s a fine line between writing a good headline and overselling yourself — and trust us, you’ll come off as an amateur if you cross it. Even if you’re pitching to the most hard-to-crack clients on the planet, your headline should be realistic. Use data points to support the major claims you’re making about your business instead of just giving vague statistics that make you sound good but don’t say anything specific about what you do or how well you do it.

Via Unsplash / @Jason Goodman

3) Dig deeper on your sales pitch deck headline for impact
Most sales decks will make broad claims about their company and how they help clients, following up with a series of talking points to explain why they matter. That’s not necessarily bad, but if all you have are bullet points then people are going to skim right over them. It’s better to dig deep into one particular statistic or figure that highlights an important point in your deck rather than listing off several different ones each with its own slide.

4) Make your selling deck headline clear who you’re talking to
If a potential client has a bad experience working with you, the headline of your next deck isn’t going to make them feel any better or change their minds. But if all other qualifications match up and they’ve been looking for a solution like yours, then it gives your brand a much greater chance of success.

That said, don’t sell yourself as something you’re not just because you think that will be more appealing to the customer. You want people to leave with an accurate impression of what you do and how well you do it — so include enough information about the type of clients and customers who turn to your company for help so they know right away whether or not you’re the right fit.

Via Unsplash / @ThisisEngineering RAEng

5) Strike a balance between light and serious
Research shows that people are more likely to share information about things that make them laugh or smile, but if your headline is all fun and games it’s also probably going to be unprofessional — and no one wants their business represented by an unprofessional company. If only big businesses were good at striking this kind of balance… But since we can’t change the world overnight, we’ll just have to settle for making things funnier where we can.

6) Be specific… with limitations
While it’s important that your headline gives potential clients just enough information so they know whether or not you’re the for them, don’t go into too much detail. You want to give just enough information that they can decide whether or not they’re interested in learning more, so use the opportunities when you have their attention to explain why you matter without letting them off the hook by giving away all of your secrets at once.

7) Make your sales deck outline headline personal
It seems obvious, but most sales decks are pretty impersonal — which is a missed opportunity for everybody involved. Don’t rely on buzzwords about synergies and client satisfaction; take the time to include details about who you’re helping and why it matters to them personally before moving forward with the rest of your deck.

People like reading stories (go figure!), so if can include anecdotes that highlight how you were able to help people just like them then you’ll have an easier time winning them over.

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8) Look at your headline as the most important line of your deck
If your headline is bad, then they’re not going to read anything else in your deck. And if the rest of your deck isn’t good enough that it can stand on its own without a compelling lead-in, then what exactly are you trying to accomplish here?

Take some time to think about how best to present yourself before hitting ‘send’ — if you don’t do it right from the start, there’s no point in continuing and investing any more resources.

As you put your headline together it’s helpful to remember that the goal is to get people’s interest without giving too much away. It can be tempting to lean on jargon or buzzwords when you’re trying to sell yourself, but if they don’t have any context then they just come off as empty.

Make sure you leave enough room in your headline for what comes after so that each piece of your deck can work together to build an effect, rather than fading into obscurity after the first few slides.