PowerPointless: Presenting Without a Point
So here is my most used quote, from Lewis Carroll:
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.
Why? Because most people begin a presentation focused on content and design rather than purpose and objectives.
I’m not sure why people attempt to write presentations without this crucial step but they do—all the time. Today I sat with some sales guys bidding on a £350m project for which they have spent 6 months developing the solution, 6 months in dialogue with the prospect and 6 months getting ready for the big day.
And when I ask what’s the objective, they laugh and say “to win!”
Well, that would be the objective of the entire process–the months of work that led to the invitation to present. Today is the day they figure out what they hope to accomplish in the 45 minutes they have in front of the prospect.
Test your objective “to win.”
A lot m62 clients often try to convince me that their objective is to close the deal. So I ask the following three questions:
- Is the person who will ultimately make the decision be at the presentation?
- Are you the last one he is going to see?
- Do the people in the room have absolute control over the budget?
Call me old fashioned, but going into a pitch not knowing the answers to the questions above isn’t really sales, it’s hope.
The guys I’ve been working with know that the real decision maker isn’t in the room and they’re the first out of four pitches. The decision maker has the budget, but – and it’s a big but – they have never actually met him!
So now what’s the objective?
From where I stand, the objective of the pitch is to get in front of the decision maker! In order to close this deal, the sales team needs to understand his or her issues, sell accordingly and ask for the business.
In my opinion, when someone asks you to present don’t ask “When?” ask “Why?” then plan the route that gets you to the destination.
Want to hear more of my opinions on presentation objectives? I was recently interviewed at a local radio station by Chris Davidson, host of the Competitive Edge.