Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Presentations vs Conversations

In 21-years of Business Development Coaching, I’ve observed an interesting phenomenon...When planning to meet with a brand new prospect, the typical sales executive’s initial inclination is to create a PowerPoint presentation. Now mind you, they’ve never actually met this individual yet. But, off they go digging up past PowerPoint’s to cut & paste 35-slides to ‘fit’ the new prospect’s needs.

This thinking is intellectually lazy, and produces nothing more than a mind-numbing adult version of ‘show and tell’. They might as well simply cut out a chain of paper dolls.In years of research with members of our nation’s C-Suite, I’ve discovered that these ‘Decision Makers’ are actually looking to have a ‘Conversation’...Not a ‘Presentation’. The good news for the sales executive is that preparing for a meaningful conversation is much easier, and authentic, than putting together a stack of slides.

The conversation is made up of 4 key elements:

● Establish Rapport.

● Explore Issues, Ideas, Concerns, and Achievements.

● Demonstrate how you, and your Organization, could be of service to the Prospect.

● Open to the Next Step (as opposed to ‘closing’).

The objective in the conversation is to connect through demonstrating competence, trustworthiness, expertise, likeability, composure, and sociability.

The only thing you will demonstrate with PowerPoint is how to put people to sleep!