Archives For great presentations

trainFour Big Problems That Will Derail Your Sale

Here is the problem with most technology companies…

Actually there are four,

…and if you’re honest you’ll recognize that your company has all four.

  • The Sales Problem. The sale is technical – too technical. Sales calls focus on technical people, technical products, and are conducted using technical presentations. The smarter your presales technical guy is, the better you feel about your chances of winning. On the other hand, there’s no pressing need and the deal often comes down to price comparisons as you respond to requests for proposals and quotations on products. You spend many hours working through issues that really don’t matter to a non-asset owner.
  • The Marketing Problem. There’s a marketing disconnect. Most sales people are not happy with the marketing department, and marketing is not sure why sales won’t use their stuff. If you’re a marketing professional with real marketing expertise, or you have one in your company, you’re one of the few. Most of the resellers, and even smaller manufacturing companies don’t have marketing people who understand the power of direct response marketing, and how to make it work. Big companies spend millions on branding, but that won’t translate into sales in your region.Blog Subscribe Ad
  • The Assessment Problem. With compliance laws and uncertainty, people are assessing security. However, the assessments are not turning into remediation projects. Only about 20% of the assessments I see turn into projects or managed services contracts. Given that almost all assessments turn up issues I would call “urgent”, it doesn’t make sense that they wouldn’t convert to project work almost every time. Most assessments are too technical, focus on the wrong things, don’t highlight the urgency, and never reach the asset owner.
  • The Presentation Problem. Chances are your company presentation is boring. It looks like every other technology-company presentation. It starts with your company name, how big you are, years in business, certifications, some great clients, and the products or services you provide. They all look the same. If you’ve had trouble booking new appointments with c-level executives, to show your corporate presentation, I’m not surprised.

The updated version of The House & the Cloud is nearly complete.  I’ve added answers to all four problems described above, and demonstrated how a great security value proposition, with a security sales strategy can alleviate these issues.  Stay tuned…it should be going to print soon!

© 2014, David Stelzl

If you don’t have the current House & the Cloud book, you can get it free in PDF Format right here (CLICK). Download it and you’ll be one of the first to know when the new version is out!

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Photo by Hannah Stelzl

Continuing on with the topic of white boarding – this is something someone should probably write a book on.  It’s one of the most used tools in the sales process, but often misused by ill-equipped sales people.  A few practical pointers:

1.     Always carry our own markers.  I started doing this about twelve years ago.  Many of my prospects thought it was funny, yet they appreciated my preparedness and the quality of the colors that brought my pictures to life.  You can’t close the million-dollar deal with a dead marker.

2.     There is no reason to recreate the wheel on every new sales call.  You use the same brochure wear, why not use the same illustrations.  Back to my comments on chalk drawing, I can think of several speakers that use chalk drawings as part of their gig.  It’s highly effective and the pictures look great every time.  Why?  Simply because they have practiced.  Get your storyboard together, learn to draw your diagrams, and use them often.  You can adlib as needed.

3.     Learn to draw while you talk.  There is nothing worse than watching someone draw with their back to you.  Practice drawing without thinking about it so you can put your attention on the client.

4.     Learn to write neatly.  It always amazes me when, in an interview, I ask someone to whiteboard something.  While writing in a falling arch format, they turn to me to explain that, “They aren’t very good at white-boarding.”  My response is, “You must be an expert if you want this job.”

5.     Use the entire board – I don’t mean the entire wall of the war-room…but I do mean, don’t make your pictures so small that no one can see them.  Spread things out so that the room can see what you’re talking about.

6.     Don’t call your white-boarding process a presentation.  One big advantage of white-boarding is that it gets you away from the canned presentation.  So even if it is well rehearsed, you can do it in a casual, ad hoc way.  This invite collaboration and interaction.

7.     Always ask if they would like for you to leave your information, or if you should erase the board when finished.  It’s the courteous thing to do.

© 2011, David Stelzl

I have an idea!  There are seven things IT is doing to enable hackers… You know how?  Bold, unexpected statements cause the brain to ask, “How?” or “Why?”  The stronger the need to know the better.  A great presentation creates these “Knowledge Gaps” to draw the audience in.  One speaker I listen to calls this “Salting the Oats.” In his week long seminar he often says things like, “There are 3 purposes for money…which I will share with you tomorrow.”  Another favorite line, “While in school I went from D’s to A’s.  I found the secret to success…which I will be sharing with you on Friday.”  This keeps people’s interest for days!

All you need is 30 minutes or perhaps and hour, of which much of your time should be spent in discussion.  But take a look at your opening presentation.  Is it boring or does it create knowledge gaps?  One speaker I respect says, “We need something every ten minutes to keep the audience tuned in.”  I don’t know where his research comes from, but I can say I’ve sat through many predictable presentations.  Like another episode of Scooby-Dooby Doo…the outcome is known long before the presentation is over; it’s obvious.  There is no curiosity, no ah-ha moments, and nothing to keep me from reverting back to my Blackberry – the ultimate time filler.  Spend some time today reviewing what you present and see if you have knowledge gaps or where some might be injected into the program.

For more ideas on Mastering Board Room Presentations CLICK HERE!

© 2010, David Stelzl

The building to the left sits on the roof of the Divyershee Chambers tower in Bangalore.  This is where our training classes were held and what a great view during breaks!   We completed our final day of training today, focusing on presentation skills.  Here is how we do it:

1. First, the message is created.  We broke up into teams, reviewed each person’s best executive level presentation material, and then selected one to modify.  Each team works through their presentation applying the concepts from the three day class. Most find their presentation states the obvious and then moves to a feature sell.  This is not executive level material.

2. I then worked with individual teams to identify their main objective for education.  Each presentation starts with a clear strategic aim; what are you trying to education executives on.  If it is your product, expect to be delegated back down to IT.  Once identified, we apply Hollywood’s best plot concepts to the presentation.  It must grab the audience, interrupt their current thinking, and provide answers to knowledge gaps that are created through the presentation. This drives them to action.

3.  Stories are used to illustrate and create visual concrete concepts for the audience.

4. The close must leave them wanting something.  There must be an urgency to action.

It is rare that I see this type of presentation right out of the gate, but why?  Don’t the marketing groups that create these sales tools understand marketing science?  Why should a sales rep spend months trying to break into an account, then more months working up the chain of command, only to show up with a boring presentation.  The company that figures this out will ultimately win.

With this in mind, I am headed to Germany tonight at 2:00 am.  I’m sure it will be an exciting plane ride!

© 2010, David Stelzl

I finally had Singapore pizza!  This is not the actual pizza I ate, and if you know me, you know vegetables are an abomination to great pizza (in my list of acceptable foods).  I had a picture but ran into some technical difficulties, so I simply did a Google search on frozen pizza to find something that looked like my pizza experience.  As you can tell, it’s nothing to write home about.  Stick to the local Asian food and you’ll be in good shape here – but I did have to have pizza once just to say I did.

We did complete our three day workshop, the last day being on presentation skills.  One attendee asked a very important question following several in-class presentations which I’ll answer right here.  “Can we communicate the message in a short ten minute presentation?”  I then demonstrated such as speed in under 5…to which he asked, how long did it take for you to be able to communicate our message so effectively…in other words, how many times did you have to give the speech.  I replied, “Hundreds”.   That is the key – practice, record, listen, critique, improve, practice, record,…etc.  Only a hand full of sales people will give great presentations without practice.

A few key points from the class:

1. Most of the presentations I see sales people give are boring.  Why?  They haven’t put time into writing great material.

2. Presentations can’t deliver the obvious.  Most do…come up with something new and opinionated.  Something that gives me fresh ideas.

3. Interrupt my thinking.  If it’s predictable from slide to slide, you will lose me.

© 2010, David Stelzl