In the Experience Economy, authors Pine and Gilmore write, "Those businesses [sellers] that relegate themselves to the diminishing world of goods and services will be rendered irrelevant. To avoid this fate, you must learn to stage a rich, compelling experience."
Unfortunately, most PowerPoint presentations do exactly the opposite. They’re boring. They’re one-sided. They’re self-promotional.
Worse yet, they often turn prospective buyers into disengaged, judgmental observers who are looking for reasons not to do business with your company. (Or stay with the status quo.)
How to Kiss that Boring Sales Presentation Goodbye:
Creating a rich, compelling experience requires us to let go of our PowerPoint crutch so that we can find better ways to connect with our prospects and accelerate the sales process. Here are some ideas you can use to make that happen.
Focus on “Why Change”
Most people you present to haven’t decided if changing makes good business sense. They’re simply open to considering it. Instead of spending your prospect’s precious time talking about your “stuff,” use your slides to facilitate conversations about topics such as:
- The issues/challenges faced by your typical customers
- The business results attained by your customer base
- Emerging trends or evolving market dynamics
- Your prospect’s objectives, priorities and challenges
If you already have slides focused on these topics, move them to the front of your presentation. You’ll immediately capture your prospect’s attention because this is what they want to talk about.
Slash the Slides
The more you have, the worse experience you create. You’ll feel compelled to cover them all, leading to a serious case of “Death by PowerPoint.” Besides, most of them are likely about your company and its products/services—a topic that’s irrelevant to prospects who haven’t decided to switch yet. Definitely you’ll want to dump:
- Mission or vision statements
- Company photos, location maps
- Detailed product or service overviews
- Qualifications, awards, recognition and bios
In a successful meeting, prospects are engaged in a stimulating conversation about how they’re currently doing things, business challenges, ROI, or getting buy-in from colleagues. To increase engagement, determine 2-3 questions you could ask—per slide. For example, if you share:
- Case studies, you might ask: How similar is this to your situation? Have you experienced these issues? What are you trying to do to drive better results?
- Industry trends, you might ask: How are they impacting your business today? What initiatives do you have in place to capitalize on them? What worries you the most?
Questions drive engagement, stimulate your prospect’s thinking, build credibility and strengthen relationships. Additionally, questions give you great insights into what matters to this company—invaluable information for planning your sales strategy. When prospects start talking amongst themselves, they frequently gain fresh perspectives, discover varying opinions or identify potential pitfalls. Believe it or not, your prospects find this highly valuable too.
Make sure to figure out your questions before your meeting. They won’t magically materialize from thin air when you need them. Since the questions drive the conversation, they are your secret weapon!
Consider Other Mediums
Maybe Prezi, a much more fluid presentation format, would enable you to more easily transition to your prospect’s most pressing interests.
Maybe a presentation could be totally replaced by a facilitated conversation—online or in-person. Maybe hopping up to a flipchart and leading a discussion would accelerate the sales process. There’s no way you’ll know unless you try something different.
Create a Rich. Compelling. Experience.
Here’s the deal. Today’s buyers view your products/services as comparable to your competitor, even if they aren’t. If you’re the leader in the industry, they view it as temporary. That’s why your focus needs to switch to creating a rich, compelling experience—one where you:
- Bring invaluable insights, ideas and information to your prospects
- Make them think about what’s possible
- Show them ways to accomplish their goals that they didn’t know about
PowerPoints can be a tool used during meetings to help you create this experience. But if you’re still using the same deck you used last year (or even before) and still talking your way through it, you’re missing tons of opportunities.
Your prospects expect more today – and they’ll choose to do business with sellers who deliver.