And So, The Kitchen Sink

Presenting your solution is a fine art that is built on storytelling. Your slide deck, regardless of what the experts say, can be of great assistance in bringing your story to life, differentiating your offering, and providing a visual frame of reference for your dream clients.

Not to worry, this isn’t another “less is more” PowerPoint rant. You can find those rants lots of other places on the web and some of them are worth reading. This is a “right is more” rant.

Right Is More

The key to making an effective presentation, the key to great storytelling, is to align it perfectly with your dream clients needs, spoken and unspoken. This is only possible when you have done the upfront work of completing a needs analysis, properly diagnosing your dream client’s needs and discovered the ground truth. There is no shortcut to gaining the full and complete understanding that you need to help write your story; you need access to the stakeholders and you need the information that only they possess (including their own thoughts and vision).

When you know what you need to know to win, crafting your story and designing your presentation is easy. It’s when you don’t know what you need that your presentation and your story lose their ability to effectively win deals.

Enter, The Kitchen Sink

When you don’t know or understand your dream clients needs, you end up searching for the answer as you are telling your story and making your presentation. Instead of a finally crafted story that addresses all of the ways that you can help your dream client produce the outcomes they need in the future, you throw the kitchen sink at them.

Throwing the kitchen sink into your presentation, including everything your company does, every feature, every benefit, and every offering, makes a mess of your story. It confuses your dream client as to who you are and how you intend to help them.

Instead of opening strong with their identified needs, telling your story as to how you will improve and manage a better outcome, and closing on a reiteration and summary of your solution, you do something far less effective. You open with information about your company, you run through a series of unfocused and uninteresting ideas, many of which have no relevance to your dream client or their needs. Then you close on your strong suit—at least what you want them to believe is your strong suit. But if it isn’t the right strong suit, it is all for naught.

Some laws in sales are ironclad. One of them is that we don’t present before we understand the clients needs, their motivations, and the rationale for change. You can no more break this law than you can break the laws of gravity.

Deciding to hit them with everything you’ve got doesn’t increase the odds that you will win the deal. More often than not, it has the opposite effect, demonstrating how little you know about your dream client’s needs and how little you cared about discovering it before you presented.

Conclusion

Presenting well, telling your story of your future together with your dream client means a focused presentation. That means a focused needs-analysis. Throwing the kitchen sink at them isn’t a viable strategy, and you shouldn’t expect it to win.

Questions

  1. What do you need to know to make a great presentation and to tell a great story?

  2. Why do you present your solution and attempt to tell your story without knowing what that story needs in order to win the deal?

  3. If everything in your presentation is equally important, is it really tailored to your dream client’s specific needs?

  4. How does your story start? Does it start with you, or does it start with them?

  5. How does your story end, with your client’s outcome achieved, or is it something about you?


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