- It is part of almost any sales cycle that is beyond a “self-serve” purchase. With the exception of certain retail sales where the customer or shopper is expert enough to determine his/her needs alone and decide on the best product fit to accomplish the goal, a sales person will be involved. During that involvement, there will often be a presentation offered by the sales person to explain how the product or service accomplishes the meeting of the customer’s need(s).
Here Come the Yawns
It is at the point where the lights go out and the PowerPoint application is accessed that many customers silently pray for an electrical power failure. Here is why:
The presentation is a long and unnecessary series of patting the presenter on the back delivered by the presenter (“I did this, we were first to do that, we are the best at, etc.”)
The presentation includes too much text in way-too-small font to be read and understood
The presentation is read word-for-read by the presenter without providing context, insight, or offering a point of view
The buyer is not addressed in any meaningful way. There is no attempt to “put the buyer” into the picture.
There are no clear “next steps” or call to action that advances the purpose of the presentation.
So, buyers are forced to wonder how to apply the information offered to their own situations and essentially link the seller or seller’s organization’s capabilities to their own needs without the benefit of the seller connecting the dots in the presentation.
I am currently working with a very progressive executive who recognizes that the existing template being used by the sales force (of about 25 sales people calling on national accounts, large regional accounts, and smaller progressive accounts) are becoming less effective at convincing these accounts to increase their order size with the company. Competitors offering lower priced (and lesser quality) products are encroaching on market share, unit volume, and total dollar sales of the executive’s company.
In working with this executive and his staff, some of the key objectives we have collectively agreed upon are:
The importance of “telling a story” and not just listing facts, details, features, etc. The presentations should have a theme, a purpose, and be very specific about answering how the buyer stands to gain from working with the company and their products.
Sharing how the company is different than competition. Not just in a comparison of product, but in their methods, marketing strategy, customer service, and other aspects of corporate performance.
Explaining the following to the buyer:
– WHY it is important to act or take actions
– WHAT is to be gained, lost, avoided, pursued, etc.
– WHO is responsible for each step of the way
- HOW the business will be impacted (the benefits)
A great place to start in learning how to present is with this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqcEYTM7ogE. There are numerous books and videos on the subject, but the importance of answering the questions above cannot be over-enphasized. Talking about oneself without addressing the needs of the customer will surely lead to eyelids fluttering and snoring soon to follow.