Put yourself in the audience for a moment. How many dry, rambling presentations have you sat through? It's surprising how far off the beam a presentation can be. Instead of diving into what the audience wants to hear, it usually waffles on about the company credentials and lots of other marginally relevant detail. We love to get involved in pulling out the compelling message behind your presentation - and the results prove that the process works.
You're in front of your customer, with the opportunity to make your point. It's the big chance you need, and you've worked hard to get here. So isn't it worth that extra effort to get it right?
If you're going to come away with the decision you want - and then see that decision put into practice - you need to do something better than wheel out the company history.
One of the biggest benefits we bring to the party is that we're really good at finding that big persuader; that big idea that makes your audience want what you're offering, not just agree that it's a good idea.
Let's talk about finding the big idea that makes presenting easy for you, compelling for your audience, and successful for everyone.
That sinking feeling you experience when somebody aims yet another magazine of bullet points at you might be shared by your own audience.
It's remarkably difficult to understand your own unique proposition. You're often too close to the coal face to see what people are actually using the coal for. And other people's presentations aren't a reliable guideline; the fact that every presentation you sit through starts with an agenda, followed by a detailed account of the company's history, doesn't mean you have to make the same mistakes.
After an embarrassment of years building and making presentations - and of the wider marketing of our clients - we've become remarkably adept at spotting the hot buttons that excite an audience. As an example, take a client who offers extended warranties to the retail electrical appliance trade. All of its competitors' presentations centre on service and customer retention. Though important, those are nebulous, hard-to-visualise concepts. After a few brainstorming sessions, our client's presentations focus on the millions they can put back in their customers' coffers through efficient management of their data.
As a result they're strengthening their position as market leader by winning new business.
By allowing an extra day or so to your presentation planning you'll virtually guarantee yourself success. Presentations are nearly always last-minute events, and we're used to working to short deadlines, but if you invite us into the proposition creation process then between us we really can move some mountains.
At the risk of making our services redundant, let's be very clear about what you can achieve with PowerPoint. If the structure and message of your presentation are absolutely spot-on, you'll get the result you're looking for, whether we build it or you do it yourself.
OK, we'll take a small step back from that statement: if the structure and message are spot-on, then your presentation will still benefit from looking great, but you see what we're driving at here: content is always more important than presentation.
When our long-standing friends Gresham were acquired by SML we worked with them and their sales force to establish what their customer stood to gain from the acquisition. It would have been too easy to go to them with the expected platitudes about extra resources and stronger backing. Instead we concentrated on key deliverables and related them to identifiable benefits in putting the right garments at the right time in the right fashion stores throughout Europe.
It's no accident that our clients' presentations tend to be more successful; up until 2006 we were able to report a 100% success rate, and even after a couple of disappointments, we're still running at way over 90%. Whether they use one of our systems or their own PowerPoint production, they'll tell you that the time we've spent getting the message right has been the telling ingredient.