You’ve probably seen your share of Epic Fails – misprinted signs that lead to confusion, bridges that lead to nowhere, questionable clothing or parenting decisions. They’re fails because even if intentions are good, the outcome is disastrous.
Presentation fails are those unwitting mistakes or poor decisions that damage their credibility, distract from their message, and ultimately can cost them the sale.
As a Sales Presentation Coach, I’ve had a front row seat to some amazingly good…and bad presentations. I’m going to be sharing the 7 most common Presentation Fails in my upcoming webinar on May 12th, but I’m going to give you a “sneak peek” here with one of the most EPIC FAILS I see salespeople making in presentations and demos.
Ready? See if you can figure out what the Fail is, from this very typical opening monologue:
“OK, looks like everybody’s here so I’m going to go ahead and get started. Thanks for that introduction, Jon, and thank you all for the opportunity to present to you today. My team and I are very happy to be here. I know you’re all really busy so I appreciate you carving some time out of your schedules and braving the weather out there. Fortunately, it looks like it’s letting up a bit. So anyway…we’re here today to talk about some of the ways we can help you accelerate your sales, but before we get started I want to tell you a little bit about who we are as a company as well as some other customers we’ve had the pleasure of working with…”
What’s the fail?
I took too long get to a point!
Twenty seconds into it and I’ve yet to say anything that grabs your attention, speaks to your issues, or provides value! With today’s attention spans dangerously low to begin with, starting off with a long prologue, a thank you speech or a weather report are the wrong tactics to take with busy business audiences.
Think about how we communicate today: Texts are 160 characters, Twitter, 140. Even commercials have been reduced from 30 seconds to 10. Today’s buyers are short on time and attention. If you don’t present and articulate your solution in a way that they can easily absorb and retain it, you will fail to make an impact.
So what’s the Fix?
Cut to the Chase!
Think about how movies start. Do they start with a lot of backstory about how the characters met or where they grew up? Does the director come on and tell you why he made the movie? No! They start with the car chase or the lovers meeting or some type of compelling action in order to grab the audience’s attention. I encourage you to start your presentation with the chase as well.
What’s the chase in your presentation? It could be a key issue, an insight or value framed in a unique and relevant way that intrigues your audience without giving away the entire plot. It’s that point that makes your audience sit up and pay attention because it resonates with their challenge, needs, or goals. And it’s worth spending some time thinking about and planning. Cutting to the chase is critical because you gain your audience’s attention early which improves overall listenership throughout your presentation.
In the webinar, I role-play an alternative to the previous failed opening using a “Cut to the Chase” technique. I also will be sharing 7 other Sales Presentation Fails and Fixes, so be sure to sign up to check it out.
P.S., even if you can’t make the date, sign up for the recording.