Halt! Before you start your newest PowerPoint presentation, read! Don't you touch that dry erase marker.
If you start out your sales pitch stating the possible clients' problem, you're doing it wrong. Now that has always been conventional wisdom, but we've evolved as an industry into a world of subtlety and nuance. Stating a prospects' problem outright will immediately put them on the defensive, make them hesitant to reveal issues about their business that truly could need improvements. You need a more tertiary, subtle approach. But what! Well, we've researched sales decks that are great examples of how modern salespeople have found success in an industry driven by relationships and customer choice. Prospects are more informed than ever, they are advocates for their needs and will not listen to armchair experts tell them what they should and shouldn't buy. So let's get on with it. Here's why your sales deck needs an update.
#1 Don't state the prospects' problem
state a global trend that is driving change. Take a marketing department for example. They are seeing reduced ROI on their investments into outbound marketing, print marketing, and PR. They can't quite seem to figure out why it's not working like it had in the past. Telling them outright that their strategies are dated and and there needs to be adaptation will not a happy prospect make. They could be unaware to the fact that the vast majority of prospects find the products they will buy online, and that social media, email, website interactivity, and blogging will see much better ROI than more traditional models. Rather than point out glaring flaws, point out that we have this magical thing called Google Analytics which enables incredibly detailed segmentation of prospects. By revealing a global shift, prospects will open up about their issues and be more enticed to speak about the finer details.
#2. Demonstrate the risk that now exists because of the global trends and changes
In the previous world of sales, this was called "fear, pain, and death." Create an unavoidable reason why the prospect needs to act, and act quickly. Once again, nuance and subtlety are key. Rather than the bullish claim that your product is the only solution, present the situation of others that shows how the global shift has challenged them, and how they succeeded by adapting (with your technology, of course). Present the situation that they can fail if they don't adapt, but don't explicitly state they will fail without your technology. There are others out there like you, maybe it really isn't a good fit, and they still need to change. The goal is to provide genuine insight that they can take away. Be educational.
#3. Show what is possible
Don't talk about specifics about your services/products yet. Resist. You need to create the context of your product or service to exist within. You want to show how your offering stacks up against the competition. They know your competitors, they chose to talk to you. They're already curious. You want to help inform their decision and not stuff your pitch down their throat. Show what is possible with the overall product, not just yours. Using VoIP as an example, Simplicity provides more affordable, higher quality voice services than a traditional phone service/landline. That's great, but there are other VoIP providers that argue the same thing and are often just as valid. This is the moment where you create the canvas for your product to paint a picture of what is possible. Resist specifics about your product, resist. Tease them with possibility. 50-60% savings. Crystal clear voice quality, talk about industry innovations. This "promised land" should be easy to understand, but conversely, difficult to accomplish without outside assistance. Show them what the world is like using these new innovations. Show them why using google analytics is a quantifiable solution to discovering their target audience.
#4. Create a trail of breadcrumbs to success with features
There are obstacles to accomplish the immense challenge of adapting to the new global trends, show how your products features can exactly help overcome obstacles created by change. Change is curious, challenging, and often terrifying. By creating the context for your product, you can now show how your specific offerings can solve specific obstacles created by the emergence of say, the internet. Sales professionals are presented with significantly more informed prospects. Their expertise in their field will be challenged in a way that hasn't been seen. You need to show how big the world still is and what is still coming. Solidify your expertise without telling them what to do and why to do it. Enable their choice. To this end, show what obstacles there are and what your product's features solve. They may not have these obstacles. This is a good moment to figure out if the solution is a good fit for them. If it's not, don't force it. Customer experience begins the moment a prospect starts interacting with your brand. Just because the quote isn't good now, doesn't mean it won't be good in the future. Hang loose and relax.
#5. Show how you can give them a fairy tale ending
This is where you can show testimonials of previous clients. Obviously you want to tailor these testimonials to the closest industry and your prospect. Don't use an end user testimonial to pitch a CFO. Show how your product or service has enabled successful adaptation within the new global trends. Show tangible success. Charts, graphs, statistics, all of that is great here, but don't worship statistics. There's lies, damn lies, and statistics. If it sounds too good to be true, you'll lose all that credibility you just labored to create. Just be cool. What it really comes down to is you need to close by showing your prospect how you helped someone else reach the 'promised land.'
Don't finish there. This deck can't exist in a vacuum. Your entire company needs to resonate what you say. Talk about the promised land, talk about winners and losers. talk about the obstacles created by huge global shifts. talk about obstacles your customers face and how you've helped them succeed. Play nice with competition, maturity is more important than mudslinging, and the internet is written in ink. Talk about the benefits of the products and services of you and your competitors holistically. Hopefully this deck will assist in closing some sales, but at minimum, it should be a lens into the modern views around sales, and how it has changed.