Most presentations s--k, sadly because they are riddled with bullet-points, structured like information transfer sheets, and worst of all, void of story.
If your presentation is like most presentations we see every day, you start out talking about your product, your HQ and global offices, your founders, your clients, what your product does, blah, blah, blah. While this may be how you've been doing it for years, the best presentations today tell a story that incites change. And not just any story - but your clients heroic journey from where they are today - to where they would like to be.
And if you’re good, you finish the presentation with your audience placed at that decision point in their own story where they could become the hero and triumph - or become the innocent bystander that is killed-off as collateral damage in chapter 2. It’s a story that leaves them to finish the ending.
No matter what you’re selling, the biggest challenge to the sale is your prospect remaining with the status quo. It’s your #1 adversary and your #1 competitor – by a huge margin, (Research has a deal going to "no-decision" or "not-now" somewhere between 55%-%72%.) They end up doing nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. How do you overcome that kind of vicious adversary? Aligned with the challenger sale methodology, by showing how the world they live in has changed and how if they don’t change in certain ways along with it, their story might as well be that of the ill-fated bystander.
The 5 part story that will break the status-quo
If you are presenting to prospects that have been doing things a certain way for a long time, and it’s working - albeit painfully, you need to tell this story. It’s a 5 part strategic narrative that helps people in organizations see what’s coming their way, what’s possible, and how by doing nothing is more dangerous than ever before.
1. THE WORLD HAS CHANGED
Showing a picture that triggers a conversation about how things have changed and what those changes mean for business-as-usual, the threat that those changes represent will be all you need to set the stage right. Everyone will recognize the macro-change and will be interested to know how you are going to make this relevant to their day-to-day world.
2. THERE WILL BE WINNERS. AND LOSERS.
Show a fact or two about how the change will trickle (or flood) out change through the industry and how the businesses that get it will profit, and the ones that don’t may not ever recover. (Here’s the tragedy part of the story.)
3. WHAT’S POSSIBLE
Here’s where you paint a picture of what’s possible in the perfect world. Here’s where you invoke nirvana, conjure paradise, tease out a vision of perfection, and describe in great detail the promised land you are proposing to take your client, and if done well you will see in their eyes how badly they want to get there.
4. YOUR SECRET SAUCE
Here’s where you show exactly how your product or service works. It can be a canned demo or a set of screen shots, as long as you show these slides and tell the story in the context of that promised destination, or the desired outcomes that your client wants.
Here’s where you show other people’s results. Show statistics and tell heart-felt stories of how Bob’s life was transformed for the better. If you’ve told the story well, your prospects will want to know more and they’ll tell you exactly what they need to see in order for them to break the chains of inertia, and take a step towards the place you’ve told them about.
- - -
Your pitch deck alone can’t do this. However if your story and slides are designed well, it could provide a structure for a conversation that will break through the status quo, and get your clients to lead the charge against the do-nothing-adversary that kills businesses every day.
Good luck, and may the force be with you.