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This is the fourth in a series of occasional posts by guest expert Mike Parkinson on using PowerPoint in different industries and for diverse audiences. Mike is an internationally recognized visual communication expert, multi-published author, and partner at 24 Hour Company, a premier proposal and presentation graphics firm. Take a look at his other posts: 2 steps to change the world with PowerPoint, 3 tips for making powerful presentations to the government, and 3 presentation secrets for nonprofits.
As an owner of a small graphic design firm, I occasionally take sales meetings. A few years ago, I visited a potential client who worked for a well-known company. We chatted about her challenges and goals. We then discussed what my company did and how our graphic services might help overcome her challenges and achieve her goals. She seemed unmoved.
"We are different," I told her.
"How?" she asked.
"We deliver better quality, faster than anyone. We focus on visual communication not just pretty pictures."
"Okay," she replied, still skeptical and still unconvinced we were right for her needs.
Finally I said, "I can prove it."
Then I launched our company's PowerPoint presentation on my laptop. I showed her slides with samples of our graphics. I asked her what she thought the graphics were communicating. Again and again, she quickly articulated the visual's intent. She started to understand that our designers were visual communicators -- not just artists creating pretty pictures.
Next I reminded her, "I said we were different. Now I'm going to show you how our company compares to other design firms."
I brought up a slide with a chart that compared our services to other firms. In the end, she was impressed and agreed to work with us on her next project, which led to additional design work.
There is no doubt that seeing the samples and the comparison chart in a PowerPoint presentation was the push she needed to understand our services and what made us unique. Words alone didn't convince her. Having a graphic medium like PowerPoint to display and present our work and showcasing discriminators won us a series of jobs that made a $1 million dollar difference to my small business.
I applied many of the tips from my previous blogs to create our business presentation: used a template, showed benefits, kept graphics and text simple, etc. However, I have a few more hints for a successful sales presentation:
-- Mike Parkinson