This marketing tip is different from the ones about strategic planning and focuses on minor actions, which can have great impact on marketing and sales. It refers to corpoate presentations, in particular the famous slide-shows or Power Points.
The client’s boredom and endurance test
If you ask clients to tell you what they think about company presentations they’ve seen, most of them will say more or less that they’re “a necessary evil”, a complete boredom, a step they have to take in order to get to the truly relevant discussions. Most of the times, these presentations do nothing more than bore the client with stories about the wonderful accomplishments of the furnishing company, their list of projects or abilities, preferably with as many technical phrases involved, etc..
Have you ever asked your clients what they think of your company presentation? Maybe it’s a good time to do it!
What’s the point?
In fact, what is the purpose of a company presentation? For the sake of that presentation’s success, have you set some goals as to what do you expect to accomplish with it before actually starting to create it or before exhibiting it in front of a client? To this question, we usually get an answer like:
- To impress the client
- Because we have to have one
- Because everybody has one
In all of these justifications, where does the “point” stand out? Isn’t the point our need to sell and win that client? Moreover, if we have to win that client, what is the need to which he wants a solution? Did you find out about the client’s needs before making him watch 30 slides or some demo on topics that might not be of any interest to him?
The 99.99% rule
99.99% of company presentations are boring and 99.99% identical to their competitor’s. 99.99% information the client can obtain from other sources as well. Think this is not a scientifically proved fact? Than which was the last company presentation to impress you?… point made.
What should be in it?
The client will tell you! So find out what is it that the client wants to know about your business. What will influence him in working with you in the future, what does he know about the type of solutions you provide and if he has a real need.
In conclusion, it should contain everything connected to the client and his needs and almost nothing about how big, good, successful or interesting your business is and so on. Many clients are likely to change their minds if the image of your company you provide for them is that of an organization too big, too diverse and with too many clients. They’ll start worrying about becoming one of the many, just another line in a PPT containing 100 names is not the kind of partnership they desire. They’ll leave happy that they’ve met with a successful organization and unhappy they haven’t found a communication and business partner in you.
Information on how the potential client’s market is evolving, his challenges and alternative solutions to his problems. This is the kind of information he seeks and the kind that will get his attention. Notice that it’s information regarding his company and business!
When size and shape matter! Advice in the form of numbers…
Though the content is important, the length of it and the shape it takes are also of vital importance.
- – No more than 15 slides, covers included
- – No more then 3-4 ideas on each slide, with a maximum of 3-5 words used to state each of them
- – As many diagrams as possible, illustrative and well organized
- – No more than 20 minutes for the whole presentation
There are even ideas and successful marketers who think you should not event have a PPT presentation but a video one, a more interactive approach… well, whatever suits your customer. Find out!
When are company presentations not necessary?
Before rushing to hand-over a company presentation to a prospect, ask yourself: is really necessary to do so?
Most of the times, the client has no use for it from the very beginning of your relationship, for instance to get the first meeting, but will use it as a justification for delaying an appointment or putting off a decision regarding a deal with your company. If a client asks you for a company presentation on the first encounter, without knowing you at all, it becomes clear that he wants a delay, and you’d better look into the real reasons for this request.
My advice is to never send a presentation until it’s very clear to you that your products or services deal with one of the client’s specific problems, which the client has expressed it as such and requested your presentation.
Do not send the presentation via e-mail unless you already know the potential client agreement, and especially if you don’t know which purpose is it going to serve. Always ask for feedback after this, requesting information that would help you improve the presentation onward. This is why “Did you like it?” is not an appropriate question in this case, but rather “Did you find it useful?” and “What useful information did you got out of it?” or “What have you learned about us from the company presentation?”.
The best advice: during the first meetings with the client, put the fact that you have a company presentation out of your mind. Talk about you for 5 minutes at most and find out as much as possible about your client before drowning him in information about you company!
When are corporate presentations required?
Presentations are never indispensable… surprisingly. If the clients will be interested in your company, they’ll ask what they want to know and evaluate you as a partner according to their own ideas and standards.
Why must you then still have a company presentation? Because sometimes the client asks for one, after you’ve become familiar with each other and he wants to have an “argument” to support you in his company or in front of his partners in the start of a business relationship. But even in this case my advice is to offer to meet everyone involved in the decision-taking and discover their needs and don’t let your presentation speak of your client’s business! If this did not made any sense 🙂 , let me try to give you a clue: generally do talk as least as possible about you and as much as possible about your client’s business in any communication initiatives.