There is little point putting time and effort into building slick sales presentations unless the content is relevant to your customer. To be relevant is to be respectful. All too often, sales presentations concentrate on business features rather than customer benefits. It is important to properly understand what your customer wants from you and present your case in those terms.
Consider the two main reasons why a customer might not buy from you:
- They don’t have a need for what you’re selling (you’ve failed to make the case, perhaps)
- They are going to buy from your competition
Time and time again businesses fall at the last hurdle in terms of attracting new projects (projects that they were perfectly capable of doing) because they were simply unable to convince their customer to close the deal.
Too many business presentations do a great job of selling the product or service at a conceptual level but too few of them go on to really explain why the customer ought to buy that product or service particularly from them. It’s a problem of features versus benefits. How many presentations have you witnessed where it feels like the business case is “all about them”?
Most businesses, unfortunately, make a really bad job of presenting their case to customers. The poorest presentations, inevitably, are packed with tiresomely unimaginative corporate graphics and bullet-point lists. These absolutely work against the notion of helping people remember your message, and here’s why:
If you present a bullet-point list you are asking the audience to do two things at once – to both read (the words on the screen) and listen (to what you are saying). The brain cannot cope and as a result very little gets remembered.
Doubtless you have a unique selling point of which you are incredibly proud. You have probably presented it at many networking events, in the form of some sort of “elevator pitch”. Your business presentations, however, should be completely customer focussed and outward looking. You should only refer to your unique selling point (or any other business feature) if it directly supports a customer benefit.
Ultimately, it is a question of respect. Respect is the foundation of all relationships (personal and professional), make sure you demonstrate it and be relevant to your audience.
So when you sit down to plan your next business presentation, consider your customer. Know that they will turn up with one question in mind: “What’s in this for me?” If you can articulate an answer to that question within your presentation, you will be more likely to win the business.