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!

Five Tips to Present Effortlessly

“I don’t like your attitude” shouted my high school teacher as I was evicted from the class and demanded to appear in front of the Head Master. He gave me a complete dressing down and I swore from that point onwards to improve my attitude to school.

Having the right attitude or the right state of mind is essential for anyone speaking or training in public. Here’s six tips on how.

Remove all concerns
Remove all concerns from your head. We’ve all baggage of some sorts in our head. A lingering argument with your partner, a major mistake you made yesterday or the loss of a deal can all affect your state of mind. The trick is to adopt mindfulness and empty the head so you can focus on the now.

A favourite Dandy Warhol’s number from the early noughties talks about having a trap door in the back of my head. I use this metaphor to empty out all the thoughts that are bringing me down before I perform on the stage. It works.

Music Anchors
On the subject of the Dandy Warhol’s let’s get into music and the effect it can have on your state of mind. As I write this, I’m listening to my State Changer Playlist on my phone. This playlist consists of a number of songs, tunes and tracks from my collection that each control and influence my state of mind. I’m 33,000 feet above the Himalayas having presented in Bangladesh and I just fancied a boost of energy so I’m listening to my playlist.

Music is an anchor. The listening can bring back a state of mind which you either experienced when you listened to the track or you embedded into the tune at a later date. Anchors do this. Anchors can be any sense – hearing something, seeing an image in your head, a physical touch on your body, a smell or a taste. They all relive a state of mind for you.

Collect anchors for each and every state you need. I use my playlist as it has an instant state changing capability and I love my tunes. Right now I’m listening to “I am the Resurrection” from the Stone Roses voted the number 10 guitar tune by Q Magazine. It revs me up so I can go out into the audience and “give ‘em large”.

Among my playlist I’ve:

  • The Raven by the Stranglers for extra energy
  • Good Morning Britain by Aztec Camera for inspiration
  • One Day Like This by Elbow for concentration
  • Nothing in My Way by Keane for Perseverance
  • Glory Days by Pulp for stimulation

You may see it differently.

Physical Comfort
In 2016 I attended a private medical since I was applying for some additional medical insurance. The doctor was good, very good, and half way through stated to me with no emotion or prejudice, “Lose a stone”.

I shed 25 pounds that year, continued going to the gym but started doing weights and toned up a little. Boy did it make a difference to how I felt when presenting. It meant all my clothing was a whole lot looser and felt so much more comfortable.

Being physically comfortable is essential, loose clothing helps but learn to stand well. I call it the assertive stance. Ensure your body is perfectly balanced, no leaning on either leg, legs the same width as your shoulders, slightly apart. Girls get rid of your finishing school poses. Balanced, posture upright, shoulders back – just like your mum told you before you set off for school.

Breathing
Breath to thrive not just survive, was a phrase I heard at the annual convention of the Professional Speaking Association. Breathing is more than just surviving; it can affect your state of mind. Let me continue the story of my private doctor from earlier.

He asked me to lie on the couch and he progressed to measure my blood pressure. I have to confess to being a little nervous at the time, you see deep down I’m a big baby. After his first measure, he instructed me to calm down having stated there’s no way he could submit that blood pressure to the insurance company, they’d reject my application.

I thought how can I relax? Breathing I recalled. Breathe in deeply and breathe out very slowly, verrry slowly. I did this for one minute and he measured my blood pressure again. “That’s better, much more normal”

I breathed a sigh of relief.

So if you are a little nervous, and your blood pressure is rising, do the breathing technique before you go on stage for a couple of minutes and it will calm you down, lower your heart rate and put you in a more relaxed state of mind – a presenter state.

Take in the room
The aim here is to become one with the group. You will do that as your talk proceeds but to gain the right state at the beginning adapt a peripheral vision. Many presenters will use their foveal vision and focus on a particular spot; this has no value to become one with the room. Instead pick a spot but deliberately enhance your peripheral capability by concentrating on everything around you. This trains your brain to use peripheral vision as you begin your talk, thus taking in the whole audience.

Usually somebody introduces me on the stage – this takes 20 seconds or so. Typically stand to the side behind the introducer, ready to pounce but as she introduces me, I focus on her but let my peripheral vision do its magic taking in the whole room and every member of the audience that I can.

As I begin my talk, my brain is in peripheral mode and this lets me become one with them. I then relax the peripheral and go foveal ensuring I give as many people eye contact as I can. The eyes are the windows to the soul, let’s never forget that.

By the way, a little trade secret for you. Focussing your attention on peripheral vision rids you of nerves. Not a lot of people know that.

Gain control of the room
The bigger the audience, the bigger the applause you’ll get after the introduction and the more effort you’ll want to exert to gain control. Here’s how:

  1. Peripheral into foveal eye contact around the room
  2. Breath and adopt the assertive stance, be balanced and relaxed
  3. The audience will now also relax
  4. Present

A clip round the ear from the Headmaster soon cured my attitude all those years ago. Hey you can’t do that anymore can you? Or the cane, which I endured twice, which left nasty bruising for ages. Hasn’t the world changed but presenting to an audience will always require that you have the right state of mind.

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.