Archives For PPT

Walking along the Arabian Sea

Yesterday we completed day 2 of the Making Money with Security workshop – working on messaging.  Wherever I go, there seems to be a disconnect between marketing and sales…at some point in the value proposition development portion of my workshop, I ask someone to show me what they would deliver if given a high level appointment today to talk about security, and what their company can offer.  There is always a hesitation – no one wants to stand up and show me.  Why?  Usually it is because after a day and a half of discussion on messaging, they realize their presentation does not contain the elements of a great security approach.  Marketing has delivered a set of slides with talking points that are all about them and their product.  There is nothing new, nothing educational,…nothing amazing.  No call to action other than – let us know if we can help.  Nothing to cause the meeting attendees concern within their own business and approach.  Yet every day companies like RSA, Microsoft, the Income Tax division of India, etc. are defeated by cyber criminals.  There is an urgency; why can’t we demonstrate this in our messaging?

© 2011, David Stelzl

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The Mighty Flip Chart

February 8, 2011 — 2 Comments

I was  speaking in Cancun last week and just before my session started, one of the hotel staff members ushered in a flip chart that I had not requested.  Then a familiar head popped in with a knowing smile.   I really like flip charts.   Sure enough, I did use it!

While white boarding is great for sales meetings, the mighty flip chart stands out as one of the best tools for facilitation.  It’s absent from most training centers and boardrooms these days, and when I do request one, it creates a sudden emergency like ordering a special meal at McDonalds (also something I am known for).

When the chart and stand arrives, I am not surprised if the tripod cross bar is missing – the one that holds the flipchart in place.  Most easels come with them, but they are quickly misplaced, leaving only the tripod, which is now only useful for supporting marketing posters.  Invariably the chart is presented with white board markets, not flip chart markers.  Most don’t know the difference.  Another possible attempt to differentiate results in permanent markers, which are not a great substitute for the mighty flip-chart market!

Why do I like these so much?  Here are several reasons:

1.  Strategy and training both require interaction.  The flip chart allows me to move the working space closer to the audience or meeting attendees, and to angle it in such a way as to allow the audience to view my illustrations or bullet points more easily.

2. Posting notes around the room.  White board space is usually limited and cannot be reorganized.  I especially like the Post-it charts.   Whether training or facilitating strategy, I find that posting key ideas in different colors, and then reorganizing information is extremely helpful.  This really matters when spending an entire day or several days together.  No white board can keep track of this much information.

3. Others may contribute.  When using a white board, things get messy when multiple people contribute.  The organizational abilities of flip chart paper make this much more manageable.

4. Flip chart markers!  I carry my own, so I always have good ones.  White board markers quickly become hard to read, smudged, etc.  Flip chart markers are bold, don’t smear, and look crisp even after a day of moving papers around the room.

5. Permanency.  At the end of the day someone has to keep this information.  When it’s on a white board, you have no choice but to erase or leave it for the next group.  Flip chart paper can be collected, organized and handed to someone to save.  I know there are white boards that print, but most are very small, generating one small sheet of paper for each print; this is useless to a group of 8 or 10 people.

© 2011, David Stelzl

The Movie-Star Experience

January 17, 2011 — 3 Comments

Growing up, I thought like many young boys, that being a movie star meant they actually experienced what we see in movies.  In case you still think that, it’s far from true.  On my recent trip to Australia, I had another opportunity to watch a motion picture in the making.  If you’ve never done this, it’s incredibly boring.  The same simple scenes are shot over and over.  I was on my way to the harbor area when I stopped to watch a scene depicting two businessmen greeting each other in front of an office building.  An entire crew of extras sat on the sidewalks waiting for the producer’s call to action.  Once called, the “stars” would walk toward each other and shake hands while dozens of extras crossed the brick patio in a seemly-unarranged pattern.  But everything was choreographed, and it had to be perfect.  I stood there well over forty-five minutes as they executed the same steps over and over.  It all looked the same to me, but somehow it just wasn’t right.  After moving on, I returned to that same area over an hour later and guess what?  You’ve got it…they were still working on the same scene.  I didn’t bother hanging around this time.

The director knew what he was looking for, and when the film hits the theatres it must be perfect.  They only have one shot at profitability.  Presentations are similar; you often get just one shot at the top players.  If it’s not great, you won’t see a profit either.  So why are so many presentations thrown together at the last minute, or prepared in a vacuum by a marketing department that has no selling experience?  Busy slides are delivered to the sales team, and then brought to stage without any real critic or practice.  This is not the way to reach predictable success.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Presentations have the power to create business, proposals don’t.  Leads are great, but what do you say when you make the call, and if you get the meeting, do you have anything of value to present?

Company overviews and product data sheets are, in my opinion, a waste of time.  No one needs this stuff until they clearly see a need, and make the connection; you are possibly the person to meet that need.  Take a look at your presentation materials.  Look at what you present by phone, and then, what you bring to that first meeting.  Does it educate prospects on something they really need, but don’t really understand?  Does it interrupt their thinking, causing them to be alarmed by what they missed?  Does it create an urgency that reprioritizes their week?  This is the making of a great sales call.

P.S. I now have dates posted for the Virtual Program: Principles of an Effective Value Proposition – Don’t miss this!  (CLICK)

© 2011, David Stelzl

Photo by DStelzl

Everyone works to move the sale up the ladder – here are 10 things that will take you right back down (in no particular order):

1. Kicking off with your PPT slide show

2. Beginning the meeting with obvious open-ended sales questions

3. Allowing their IT person to become the focal point of the meeting

4. Pushing to close the deal this month – quota being your primary motive

5. Focusing on product features

6. High-Tech jargon

7. Asking, “What keeps you up at night?”

8. Not having researched their company prior to the call.  “So, what does your company do?”…duh.

9. Lack of confidence in front of executives

10. Poor presentation skills

© 2010, David Stelzl