You know the excitement at having an entire row on a plane all to yourself? On a recent flight, we were just about to settle into our three-row transporter when a late passenger made their way onto the seat next to us. So much for shut-eye. Within minutes we learned that she was an Executive for a tech company, led a sales team and was eager to get home to her three-year-old twins in Los Angeles. In great detail she described how they hired an expert company that was known for creating outstanding PowerPoint presentations for the likes of Apple and other preeminent wizards of Silicon Valley.
At an altitude of 10,000 feet, she revealed her newly minted sales presentation. Our mouths dropped (frankly, we have a hard time masking our emotions). The credentials of the company were so strong that we expected the presentation to be a worthy reflection of their brand. It was visually uninviting, fairly dull and pretty much looked like a rookie designer put it together during an all-nighter. One of our Southern colleagues has a great saying: Nobody wants to hear that their baby is ugly. In this case, her baby was hideous!
We felt compelled to put our consulting hats on and violate the golden rule of kindergarten : bragging, “Mine is better than yours”. We couldn’t help it. The demonstration of a strong sales presentation with a crisp value story was necessary. So we shared a sample of a few PowerPoint presentations we’ve created for sales teams over the last few years. Her reaction? “Wait, what I showed you wasn’t the best version, I need to download another one.” She did. It wasn’t better.
Over the past decade requests to create presentations have increased tenfold. This is a win for our clients. It’s one of the big reasons why SBR has built a team comprised of copywriters and graphic designers dedicated to crafting presentations. So we asked our presentation development team to consider three things that companies can use to create stronger presentations, starting today.
1. Story time: Excellent presentations are built around a story. Long gone are the days of busy theme slides with bulleted laundry lists of product features. Consider the fact the brain is incapable of doing two things at the same time. Reading bullets while listening to you speak is difficult, if not impossible. Consider who in your organization has the skills of a storyteller to help sell your product or service and let them try their hand at capturing your value proposition.
2. Pretty is smarter than you think: If vision is one of our most dominant senses, then a visual presentation needs to honor our need to look at pretty things. White space, clean lines, simple text, pictures! This is an area where hiring outside experience in the form of a graphic designer is worth your time and money.
3. Training needed: Great presentations aren’t meant to replace great salespeople and certainly won’t make up for poor sales skills. In fact, a great salesperson can sell without a formal presentation but can run the risk of appearing unprepared or unprofessional. Take the time to train people on the new sales presentation, especially presentations that are a big departure from their typical methods of communicating.
One day we will brand our own idiom to replace “your baby is ugly,” but for now it’s completely apropos!