A Wake-up Call for Presenters from The Ig Nobel Prize

Wake up call for presenters

Imagine being just two minutes into your presentation and someone in your audience announces, “Please stop, I’m bored.” This is precisely what happens each year at the Ig Nobel’s ceremony at Harvard which honors the most unusual achievements in science, medicine and technology.  2016 winners included a Japanese team whose study concluded that “things look different when viewed from between your legs,” and a German team who discovered that “if you have an itch on one side of your body, you can relieve it by looking into a mirror and scratching the opposite side of your body.” (I can’t wait to try this one out!) The Ig Nobel Prize is put on by the Annals of Improbable Research to spur curiosity and help people decide for themselves what’s important and what’s not.  A decision that audiences do all the time during any presentation. Like most things about the Ig Nobel Read More

Presentation Power Tools: Time to break the PowerPoint habit?

Presentation Power Tools, Alternatives to PowerPoint

This is part of my Presentation Power Tools Series.  Stay tuned as I I test drive some of the hottest new tools for creating and delivering powerful presentations and demos! Habits are tough to break.  Like a lot of salespeople, I’ve had a long, love/hate relationship with PowerPoint. Despite the many frustrations — limited graphics and designs, clunky files, and a propensity toward text boxes and bullet points —  it’s been the vehicle of choice for presenters for the past few decades.  And while features have been added over the years, like cloud access and better collaboration tools, PowerPoint’s inventor summed up both the tool’s strength and it’s fatal flaw in one sentence: “PowerPoint itself has probably changed less than the world around it has changed in twenty-five years.” Robert Gaskin, PowerPoint inventor Let’s face it, a heck of a lot has changed in the world around us, especially when Read More

Bad Presentation Advice…and What to do Instead (Part 1)

bad presentation advice

Part of what I do as a presentation coach often involves helping salespeople unlearn bad presentation advice they’ve adopted over the years.  Some of this advice is simply dated, handed down from a time when prospects relied on salespeople to provide them with all their information, or when attention spans were greater than that of a goldfish.  Some of it is advice rooted in good intentions but morphed over the years into more of an “old wives tale” than good advice. Bad advice is not only ineffective, but it can do real damage to a presenter’s credibility and cause audience tune out. Both of which can lower your chances of success.  I’ve compiled a list of  the top offenders I still hear being bandied about in sales and provide some alternatives for what to do instead. Bad Presentation Advice …and What to do Instead “Never turn your back on your Read More

The 2 Secret Sales Weapons You Already Have (and aren’t using!)

Secret weapons

Question:  Two actors are auditioning for one role.  Both are equally qualified and both read from the same script. Yet only one actor wins the role while the other goes home empty handed. Why? Answer:  You may have answered something like:  “the winning actor brought personality to the role, he had charisma, he made the audience feel the lines.”  But whatever your answer was, I bet it didn’t have anything to do with the words he used! This is not unlike what happens in a sales presentation or demo. Many vendor presentations use the same words and even scripts as their competitors.  Things get blurry for our customers — especially as differences between products and services get smaller and buying cycles lengthen.  So while a well-crafted message is a critical component of your presentation, don’t rely on your content to do all the heavy lifting by overlooking the tools right Read More

5 Minute Presentation Tips (Audio): How to Avoid Drowning your Prospect in Features

How to avoid feature spray in your presentation

Got 5 minutes?  Find out 5 ways to avoid drowning your prospect in features in your presentation or demo by listening to this quick MP3 recording: How to Avoid Drowning your Prospect in Features – in less than 5 Minutes! Click on link below to listen to the recording: 5 Ways to Avoid Drowning your Prospect in Features (MP3)   You might find the following posts helpful as well: How to Highlight Value in your Presentation or Demo The Anatomy of a Boring Presentation Sales

Audience Engagement: The Holy Grail of Sales Presentations

Holy Grail of Sales Presentations

 It can feel like a “win” just to be able to get in front of busy decision-makers to present your product or solution today. But in sales, that’s just the beginning. In order to move prospects to take action, you need to do more than get an audience and talk through your slides.  You need to engage and interact with that audience .  There’s a lot of chatter about audience “engagement”, but what does it really mean? Here’s a good definition: Engagement: emotional involvement or commitment I’m sure you have a strong logical case for why your prospect should buy your solution.  I bet your competitor does too.  But research shows that most purchases are made on emotion and justified by logic.  Emotion trumps logic, which is why we should all be unwavering in our quest for audience engagement. Audience Engagement: The Holy Grail of Sales Presentations Not only are Read More

Applying the KISS Principle to your presentation

KISS Principle

There’s a disturbing trend among many presenters to pack in as much information as possible in to a presentation or demo, especially as solutions get more complex and face time with prospects more condensed. While it seems like you may be maximizing your allotted time, the effects of too much information can be just as deadly as too little information.  Applying the KISS principle to your presentation (keep it simple stupid) is as important today as it’s ever been. Research shows that most people can remember about three things – and that may be pushing it. Like you, your prospect is bombarded with information on a daily basis.  In fact, the average adult receives about 3000 messages per day!  But of course you have more than three things you want to get across, so what’s the answer? Most presentations try to emphasize too many points, which often has the effect Read More

3 Powerful Ways to Sell Against the Status Quo in your Presentation

challenge the status quo

Your presentation goes well, your business audience is receptive and impressed with your capabilities, and then . . . nothing.  The deal stalls. Surprise! You lost out to your biggest competitor, the Status Quo. As organizations become more risk adverse, solutions more complex and decisions impact a variety of areas, not taking action or staying with the status quo, i.e., “the way things are now,” – no matter how flawed that may be – is a choice more and more prospects are making. Salespeople who don’t recognize the powerful draw of “doing nothing” and develop a plan for how to sell against the status quo  in their presentation or demo are often caught off guard and fail miserably against this formidable foe. Change is difficult for many people.  In fact, there are 205,000 books on change. Number one? Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. (Chip and Dan Heath) Read More

5 Buyer Trends You Must Adjust for in Your Sales Presentation

Netflix and Hulu Presentation trends

Remember scouring the aisles on a Friday night at your local Blockbuster looking for a good video for the weekend? Your heart would leap after spotting the new release you’d been wanting to see, but excitement would quickly turn to disappointment when you picked up that empty case. How do you get your movies now? Certainly not from Blockbuster! Blockbuster misjudged the significance of a buyer trend that companies like Netflix embraced, i.e.,  customers demand for faster service, more choices and fewer penalties. Salespeople have had to adapt their selling process to many buyer trends over the past few decades, most notably social media and a steady stream of technological advances. However salespeople have been slow to adapt to 5 key buyer trends in their presentations.  But no longer. I’m joining forces with Prezi, the presentation software that uses motion, zoom, and spatial relationships to improve your presentation, in a Read More

3 Ways to Highlight Your Value Proposition in a Presentation or Demo

Standing out with a value proposition

You probably don’t consider what  you sell to be a commodity, but the truth is, if your prospect can’t clearly distinguish why he should pay more for your product or service than the competitor’s, you may as well be selling water or pork bellies. Most sales people recognize the need to have a tailored and specific value proposition in a presentation or demo given today’s competitive environment, however they often falter when it comes to delivering that value proposition, missing key opportunities to highlight and reinforce it. Many times the value proposition isn’t even mentioned until the closing, which is way too late (read this article and find out why). Value deserves special attention in several sections of your presentation. Following are 3 ways to highlight your value proposition in a presentation or demo: Your Opening: Your value proposition should make an early appearance in your presentation. It’s more important Read More