I recently watched a video from Corporate Visions about how customers can only recall on average 10% of your sales presentation 2 days later. Not great news if you are still waiting to hear from your customer a week on – did your presentation really have so much impact that they are still thinking about it now? Probably not, so what can you do to ensure your presentations to customers have the impact needed to convince your client to move on to the next stage of your sales engagement.
Research tells us that if you associate a visual with your story then the potential to recall your presentation can increase to 65%. Therefore, sales people need to become skilled in presenting “visual stories”, that clients can relate to and recall after the presentation ends. This ability to recall increases the chances of your client going and sharing your messaging with their contacts and managers, to move you along in the sale.
In fact, research suggests that customers remember 70% of your beginning and up to 100% of the end of your presentation, but during the middle (when you often share the most important points!), your customers’ attention wanes and the majority of your information falls on deaf ears. The paradox is that, during the first opening slides of a typical corporate presentation, the info shared is strikingly similar to other vendors and your competitors (in the Corporate Visions video, Tim Reisterer hit the nail on the head with his summary of general corporate presentations: Intro, revenue overview, global breadth, customer case studies, timeline of innovation etc). If this is the main part that your customer remembers then it won’t show a huge amount of differentiation compared to their next presentation.
Therefore, you need to open BIG. You need to show the customer in the opening of your presentation that you get their issue, and what’s more, you’re going to solve it. And you’re going to do it better than anyone else. And you need a BIG close – make sure they go away remembering why you are different (and case studies, revenues and global offices won’t do it) – so that they can share with their peers and do the selling for you.
Interestingly, research led by Stanford University showed that whiteboard presenting and whiteboard images showed significant improvements when compared to traditional powerpoints across the below areas:
- Engagement (i.e. getting on board with your solution and taking the next step)
- Credibility (of the speaker)
- Persuasion (i.e. the client was more likely to share your messages)
In whiteboard presentations, you cannot hide behind a powerpoint presentation that has been created for you by the marketing department, therefore you invest more time in understanding how you will present, what you will present and why that information is important to the customer. This comes across to customers, and increases your credibility as you are telling a story from scratch, showing expertise and understanding on your side. It is also more visually interesting for the customer, and by taking them on a “story journey” you are helping to increase the chances of them recalling your presentation and sharing and evangelising with others.