Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Making an Exceptional Sales Presentation...when you're not at the presentation

Chris Peterson of Vector Firm wrote a post for the Security Industry Association blog entitled "Making an Exceptional Sales Presentation." He spoke of three key ingredients, two of which I'm not going to cover. (Read his post.) But I do want to elaborate on a point that he made regarding his first key ingredient, "Write the presentation before building the Power Point." When discussing this, he said the following:

A PPT should support the story; it shouldn’t *be* the story.

On the one hand, I heartily agree with Peterson. I have given presentations numerous times, and realize that the focus of the presentation is the words that I am saying, as supplemented by PowerPoint or music or gadgets or whatever else I use to, in Peterson's words, "support the story."

On the other hand, many sales presentations are given to multiple audiences - the audience that was there during the presentation, and the audience that was not there.

Let me give you an example. A computer software company is giving a presentation to a government agency. The government agency is represented by its Assistant Director, along with various staff members. The computer software company is represented by a suit and a t-shirt. With an artfully designed PowerPoint presentation in the background, the t-shirt shows the insanely great software, while the suit explains the benefits to the agency, telling a few stories along the way. The suit and t-shirt answer questions, suggest options, and hold what appears to be a very successful meeting. The agency people are also pleased.

Next Monday, everyone meets with the Director and provides a summary.

"I'd like to see the presentation," the Director says.

So a staff person at the agency contacts the suit at the software company and asks, "Can you send me a copy of your presentation from last week? The Director wants to see it."

A PDF file is dutifully passed on, and the Director opens the four-slide presentation.

Super-Duper Software
Allowing Your Agency to Provide Better Services for Less Money

Super-Duper Software Demonstration
Agnes Harvard
Sr. Software Engineer
MegaCorp, Inc.

John Gonzalez
Business Development Manager
MegaCorp, Inc.


The Director, underwhelmed by the slides, calls the Assistant Director. "I thought you said that this was a great, informative presentation! I got nothing out of it!"

The Assistant Director replies, "You had to be there."

So how do you balance the need to cater to the multiple audiences who view a sales presentation?
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