November 1, 2014

Sales and Marketing Advice

Real conversations, not PowerPoint, will get their attention

Ron Stein | 9/16/2012

You do it all the time -- stand in front of people to sell them your product or service. More than likely you have a presentation that covers the features and benefits of your solution. There’s also some background information on the market and of course a “why us” slide that describes your company.

Sound familiar? Just change the name of the company and the offering -- and it looks and sounds like every presentation given since PowerPoint software was created. Aside from boring with a capital “B”, most presentations do little to truly distance companies from their competitors.

Let’s face it -- you end up talking too much about your company and not enough about the customer. The audience never hears your message.

Instead, get your audience to sit up, stop reading text messages, and say, “wow, you now have my attention!”

Change the rules. Here what you can do to separate yourself and your business from the mind-numbing and lackluster presentations of your competitors.

It’s not about you and your offering. Presentations that start with a handful of facts on the company and then launch straight into a product presentation are sadly the norm. Turn this on its head! To sell, you’ve got to make it relevant to your audience. Their problems and clear solutions to the challenges they face are the only things that matter. Skip the “me” stuff and get right into “we understand you, your industry, and your issues” pronto. Lead with the issues your prospects want to talk about -- move the conversation to requirements and solutions.

Have a conversation, not a monologue.  You are not a professor giving a lecture. People want to talk about their problems and what their requirements are. People want interaction. They want you to listen and give thoughtful answers. Starting with your first word, act like an invited guest in their living room. Speak with them, not at them. Ask questions. Capture their attention on an emotional level.

Don’t give a slideshow. There is more to you and your company than a PowerPoint presentation. Slideshow software is a crutch, so try something different. This goes hand-in-hand with having real conversations. Telling your story on a whiteboard, flip chart, or any other drawing surface is a powerful alternative to have prospects thinking, "oh no, not another PowerPoint Presentation!" If you feel like your inner artist isn’t up to it, then use 20” by 30” foam board or poster board with key points already written down and a few graphic images pasted on. You’ll audience will feel very engaged. People are tired of boring PowerPoint presentations -- kick the habit!

Have real conversations. Blast past the barriers your prospects put up. Interact, connect, and get your message to resonate. After all, if you talk too much about your company and offering, and not enough about the customer, you’ll never sell anything!

Read earlier columns from Florida Trend's business coach, Ron Stein
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Ron Stein is the founder and President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He has more than 20 years experience in sales, marketing, and business development, working positions ranging from salesman to vice president of sales and marketing to CEO of startups with industry leaders such as Motorola, VideoServer, Paradyne, and SercoNet. Ron is a member of the advisory team at the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial and startup accelerator for the state of Florida. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com

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