Powerpoint Presentation: The Devaluation of Sales

It seems that almost every sales rep nowadays can’t do his job anymore without the ‘aid’ of some kind of presentation on his laptop, net-book or tablet PC  And I am not just talking about presentations for a group of decision makers. No, even in one-on-one meetings too many sales reps make use of some kind of presentation software.

It violates almost every ‘rule’ in the book:

  • Selling is not telling, selling is listening.
  • Every customer has unique needs, wishes and desires. Get those to the surface and act accordingly.
  • Specs don’t sell, tailor-made solutions do.
  • Build rapport by showing a genuine interest in the customer, not in yourself or your organization.

These ‘rules’ are as old as mankind. And they haven’t changed all of a sudden because of newly available technology.

Most of the presentations I have seen are precooked by the marketing department of the organization. And it proves again and again that marketing people in general have no clue when it comes to sales. It is beyond me that organizations let their marketing department interfere with their sales department in that way. Marketing and sales are two different disciplines; stay out of each other’s play ground!

We have all seen examples of the ‘Corporate Presentation’. Slide after slide about what a great company it is; the growth in annual turnover, the worldwide coverage, all the important customers they have already, their USP’s, the great line of products, etc.

Apparently, the customer is not important anymore. It is all about us; about how great we are, how big we are, how important we are…
In other words: this - new – customer is just there to add to our greatness.
Happy selling…

Every customer wants to feel important, not just one of many, not just a number in his supplier’s automated system. And here comes the sales rep with a presentation that he shows to everybody, regardless of the specific needs, interests and desires of the customer. In the presentation the supplier brags about the numerous offices and plants they have throughout the world and the gazillion customers they service. That will make the prospect with his one mid-sized plant in southern Alberta jump out of his chair of excitement, won’t it? Now he feels very special and important, all of a sudden!

Many sales reps don’t realize that certain pieces of information that are valuable to one customer can backfire when presented to another. One of the most important rules in sales is that you don’t start giving out information before you know if it is of interest for the customer and in what context. Most presentations blatantly violate that rule.

Is every PowerPoint presentation useless?

Certainly not. But there is a time and a place for everything. If you want to (or have to) use presentation software, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Know your customer’s needs, interests, wishes and desires before you show him your presentation.
  • Make sure that your presentation is tailor-made for his customer. At least, remove slides that might work against you.
  • Do the selling yourself. Presentations are there to confirm, explain or add information, they will not sell for you. Don’t make yourself obsolete.
  • Trim your presentation as much as possible. I have seen presentations with dozens of slides. I can guarantee you that no customer is interested anymore after about  dozen slides tops.

There is a lot to say about the quality of the material and – maybe even more importantly – the quality of the presenter. I will make another post about that subject shortly.

Conclusion

Sales people, marketing people and others spend a lot of time developing PowerPoint presentations. It is a shame that so many efforts are in vain or even counter productive. If you decide to create a presentation or review an existing one, answer for yourself at least these three questions:

  1. Does a Presentation indeed add value to the sales process?
  2. Is the presented information of value for the customer?
  3. Is there information in the Presentation that can jeopardize my relationship with the customer?

Have a good look at your presentation. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer and see if you really couldn’t do without.

Never forget: People do business with people!

Happy presenting!

Negotiate to Your Advantage

The hardest and most important part of any negotiation is knowing when to walk away.

Few things are sweeter than a successful negotiation session where both parties leave the table with a winning solution. That’s because the stakes are high: Negotiate too hard and you lose the deal; be too timid and you may not get what you want.

The three most important concerns in any negotiation are the relationship, the risk, and the value–the real decision criteria underlying any future business transactions. So whether you’re negotiating a salary increase with your board or a contract with a vendor, before beginning the process it’s critical for you to cross three essential mental bridges:

1. Clarify the relationship. “What is the current real and perceived business and personal relationship, and what is its true value to my credit union’s future?” Far too often people hold on to the past not realizing that they need to let go to be free to reach out for something better.

Carefully consider what could be lost in this negotiation, but also what new doors may open should there be successful negotiation. Too many business leaders continue with existing relationships beyond their prime simply because it’s easier and more comfortable than striking out to develop a new relationship that better suits their organization’s future.

2. Clearly structure the outcome both parties desire. Very often, people enter a negotiation with the drive to win, but they never commit to paper beforehand precisely what that means. Yes, they have a general idea (to place the contract at the best price or cost); however, they haven’t defined the optimal combination of price/cost and all other terms that reflect both parties’ best long-term interests.

Identify what it will take for all parties to believe they’ve been treated fairly. Outlining what each party should view as a “great deal” often leads to the optimum win-win agreement. After all, negotiating is merely a more formalized variation of common marketplace bartering. It’s all about give and take and each party’s perceptions of value. You offer. They counter. You respond. And so it goes.

3. Determine your walk-away point. The hardest and most important part of any negotiation is knowing when to walk away. Decide when you’ll walk away from the deal before the negotiation process, because it’s difficult to identify it in the heat of the negotiation.

It’s important to approach your walk away point calmly, as negotiators truly need to understand what each side requires to make it a “great win-win” agreement. Then, if the other side becomes unreasonable and prevents your desired outcome from happening, weigh the predetermined value you placed on the relationship as well as ask the question, “Do we really have a mutual relationship or merely one party taking undue advantage of the other?”

Once you’ve laid out the previous three steps you can begin negotiation, realizing that at times the process requires the patience and confidence to be still. For example, if the other party precipitates a long silence then wait, say nothing, and let the other party break the silence.

While it’s important to hold out firmly for your high priority/risk issues, holding out for a lost cause isn’t in your best interest. Know when to give in on a point. If it’s not a walk away issue, then concede and negotiate onward.
Most important, realize when you’re approaching the walk away point. That will help you try and steer the negotiations away from falling unnecessarily into a downward spiral, where relationships deteriorate and from which it’s often impossible to recover.

Copyright 2005 by John Di Frances.

Soft skill Development Program- Enhance Your Skills

Hard skills provide solutions to technical problems, but crises are technically resolved but adaptively and those provided by soft skills.

What are soft skills?

The concept of soft skills refers to skills related to how we interact with other people. For this reason, soft skills are strongly associated with each individual’s attributes and personality traits. These social skills are not specific to a particular job. Having them does not affect the way you work (at least at the technical level), but it does affect the integration of people into your work environment. In the long run, this has a positive effect on the operation and productivity of the equipment.

Soft skills are more related to emotional intelligence and relationships with other people. College courses do not have their subjects that teach young people to communicate better and feel empathy, making soft skills assessment more difficult and more complex to validate.

The importance of having both is that the first one will perform a particular task satisfactorily. The latter helps you better interact with the people around you (colleagues and clients) and makes your job better.

Five most required soft skills

Creativity
Persuasion
collaboration
Adaptability
Emotional intelligence
Importance of soft skills for companies

Increase productivity: Increase the efficiency of employee tasks and responsibilities and help the company reach its goals.

Enhanced teamwork: To function effectively, people need to work together to achieve common goals. Working together to improve the quality of work by leveraging individual strengths and abilities.
Improving Retention Rate-People want to work for a company that invests in employee career development.
Improve employee satisfaction: Investing in employees shows that they are valued. Being grateful and having a positive view of the company will increase your job satisfaction.
Improved leadership: Soft skills require specific skills, such as active listening and empathy, to help employees prepare for leadership. This is important because 50% of employees quit their jobs because of poor managers.
The daily challenges faced by executives and professionals are breaking the paradigm, leaving the comfort zone, and starting the concept of “boss” with the concept of “leader.” Here is the importance of having a worker who manages social skills. The solution to this is to access courses that enhance the skills needed in the market.

How Soft skill Development Program Can Benefit Your Business

The ability to communicate, resolve disputes, solve problems, etc., supports almost every aspect of business operations. Throughout the organization, in all business units and employee duties, soft skills are essential to attracting new customers, improving customer service metrics, and building stronger team dynamics.

There are lots of benefits that can be gained from a Soft skill Development Program. These are our top three.

Improve customer service
This can be seen as the most obvious benefit of improving social skills in the workplace. Employees can listen more effectively and proactively to establish customer needs, identify problems, and help resolve them. They can also gain more compassion and empathy after improving their social skills, which can significantly positively impact customer service.

Increase sales
Improving soft skills can benefit the sales team during the sales negotiation process. Employees can use their abilities to interact with customers at a more personal level without crossing the boundaries of key professionals, who will appreciate it. If employees discuss what their customers are experiencing and spend extra time combining them with the right solution, the sale will be rewarded on its own.

Improve employee retention rate
Your organization will retain more talent as you invest in their professional growth, and it will be rewarded.