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Stop Giving Presentations

boaring presentation with sleeping attendees

Please. Stop giving presentations.

Now, let me expand and explain. One of the very worst tools to ever be used by a sales person is PowerPoint. Not that it is bad on its own, just that we all use it as a crutch. We have all misused the true power of the tool because it is what we have seen everyone else do:  stand in front of a client and roll through 30+ slides that tell them about what we do.  Boring, and not in the least effective.  And yet we still continue to do it. We have all said the phrase “please stop me and ask questions” during one of our mind-numbing presentations.  And the clients almost never do.  It is just the way it is… or WAS.

My challenge for you for the next 2 weeks: give NO presentations.

Instead, have good two-way conversations.

Keep PowerPoint in hiding and the laptops closed.  Go old world, take out a piece of paper and take a FEW notes.  Prepare for and hold very interactive conversations with your clients.  Have conversations with your clients that matter to them.  Conversations that matter are 75% listening and 25% asking questions. Good questions contain the information that you want to communicate. For example: “Bill (client) I understand that one of your suppliers has just announced another round of EOL (End of Life) devices. Will that be impacting you this time?”  You are delivering a message AND asking a question. Conversations like this take planning on your part and a deep understanding of the client.

Here is another way you can do the same thing (this data is actual survey data from our clients). You are talking to an engineering manager in your client. It may be a first conversation or just another in the long line of visits.  “Bill, at Microchip we have over 100,000 clients world wide. In a study that we have just completed with our global client base we uncovered some surprising data. More than 30% of our clients are spending more than 30% of their engineering resources on fixing problems like EOL that semiconductor suppliers have caused.  And the average redesign cost was in excess of $150,000.  That’s a staggering amount of money and time wasted.  At Microchip we don’t cause that, and I’m wondering what your experience is in this situation.”

Now, let’s set the stage further: You are having this conversation, and as you start, you stand up and approach a white board, or you open your notepad to a blank piece of paper, and you write EOL in big letters on the top. You start the conversation above and make 3 notes:

  • One that says 30%+ as you note the comment about your clients
  • One that says 30%+ when you note their resources
  • And one that says $150,000 (use the full number) as you note the redesign expense.

Then you write MCHP and put a big ZERO beside it as you close the comment. Then you hand them the marker or the pen and ask them what their experience is.

Now this is just one conversation that you can pretty well use universally. This is a good example to show the planning that must go into having a good two-way conversation.  Your Plan/Do/Review commitment is absolute if you wish to have conversations with clients that matter to them and to you.

So, step away from the Powerpoint.  Step away now. Plan your next call, prep the conversation, simulate the conversation with a friend, and take the time to really care about your client and what their focus is.  Even if a client expects a “corporate overview” from you, do it without Powerpoint.  

Make it a conversation, not a presentation. Make it different and you will stand out from the crowd.  You know the material you need to cover. All you need to know is what matters to them. All you have to do is ASK. You will be surprised what the ensuing conversation will become.

Again, the challenge: NO presentations for 2 weeks.

It’s shifting mindset AND methodology! Let me know what happens.

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