Making presentations is a core part of any business. With millions delivered around the world every day, it’s amazing how many organisations simply let their staff “get on with it”, rather than investing in the development of solid presentation skills.

I think presentations have become stagnant. I’ve made references in previous posts to being creative in front of a new prospect. My opinion is that this is now vital to succeed in today’s world.

Picture the scenario:

  • 4 Suppliers
  • 4 Boring, same old business cards handed out
  • 4 Presentations involving boring slides which the presenter didn’t directly prepare
  • 4 Pitches delivered with zero passion or enthusiasm
  • 4 Conversations with each supplier centred around price

Failing to differentiate from the competition is sure to result in one thing – A bidding war. Presentations are paramount to showing how creative, innovative and valuable your product or service is to the client. So why do so many organisations fail to invest at this critical stage?

A creative presentation, delivered with passion and spoken in the language of the customer is always going to have impact. Make it memorable, compelling and above all relevant. A salesperson who truly believes will always outsell the competition. This is why I think outsourced telesales is such a hard game – 100′s of unenthused, unknowledgeable, number-driven reps, crammed into an office calling client after client with the same, non-tailored message. Compare this to meeting a salesperson face-to-face who believes so much in what she has to offer it can’t help but show.

Think about presentations that you have delivered. Could you have done better? Sure, course you could. We all could have, it’s a learning game. You get better each time you present. That’s unless you are delivering the same boring, uninspiring presentation that “marketing” has given you. If you truly believe in your product or service, try creating your own version of the presentation. Create it with your prospects agenda in mind. Not with the agenda that your company thinks is on your prospects mind.

Corporate sellers are the worst. They are given a “one deck fits all” PowerPoint to show all their prospects. They keep using it, even though it works only a fraction of times. Picture a car salesman getting out a 40 slide PowerPoint presentation to try and sell a new Lexus – You would walk out! The salesman uses the power of the product, sells the dream in owning it, the benefits, the lifestyle, the enjoyment. Talks in the customer’s language – If he sat you down and talked about drive shafts, exhaust manifolds and lever return springs would you get excited? Exactly.

And yet, this is what is happening all throughout the world today. Salespeople wasting the precious opportunity of being in front of a prospect and talking about stuff that’s not relevant, not compelling and sometimes not even comprehendible. The amount of IT salespeople I’ve witnessed which talk in a language only they understand amazes me.

So before you enter your next client presentation, seriously think about what you are about to present.

Ask yourself:

  • Have the slides I’m going to use been created by someone who’s never been to see my customer?
  • If my company won’t let me create my own slides, can I do without slides altogether?
  • Does my presentation make sense to this specific customer? It is in their language?
  • Have I really researched this prospect? Do I understand their business and their challenges?
  • Do I really believe that my offering is going to make a massive difference to my prospect?
  • Do I have questions that nobody else is asking? Questions that will really make my prospect think?
  • Do I have a creative approach? Could I use props, video, or even a game to engage the audience?
  • Do I really know what is different about my product/service to the competition?
  • Do I have any funny & compelling stories which the customer can relate to?
  • If I am taking multiple people to the presentation, do we appear as “one team”?

My bet is your slides have been prepared by someone else – someone who doesn’t understand your customer. You keep using them, blaming the downturn in the economy for customers not buying. Let’s face facts. People all around the world are buying products and services just like yours, daily. It’s not the economy. It’s the way you are presenting. Think about how you can change and start today.