Why PowerPoint Is a Sales Killer
April 29th, 2014
by Dan Solin
Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.
Used wisely, technology is a boon to advisors. But technology that inundates your prospects with data can be deadly.
The most-widely used presentation tool is PowerPoint. A whiteboard (which permits nonpermanent markings on a glossy surface) is a close second. Both tools can sometimes be effective in large group settings. In smaller meetings – and particularly in one-on-one presentations – they are sales killers.
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You can find thousands of books and articles about improving your PowerPoint presentations. Ignore all of them and adopt this rule instead: Never use PowerPoint in a one-on-one presentation or a small group setting. Putting up a wall between you and your customer is the worst possible way to make a sales presentation. In fact, the term “sales presentation” is a misnomer. You don’t want to present anything. You want to listen, understand and respond to the needs of your prospects.
What’s the first thing you think of when someone stands up and launches into a presentation? For me, it’s school. I sat quietly while instructors lectured me. Often, there was little or no interaction. They talked. I listened.
Do you really want your prospects to have the same feelings you had during those lectures: “When will this end?”
It’s not easy to establish an emotional connection with your prospects. PowerPoint makes it more difficult. It permits you to overwhelm them with data they will not retain, and it inhibits genuine listening on your part, since you will be doing all the talking.
When PowerPoint may be effective – and how to use it
There are limited scenarios when PowerPoint may have a positive role in presentations to larger groups. If you want to share information that can be more easily summarized using graphs and charts, or if a picture can convey your message more effectively, then use PowerPoint.
If you’re in a situation in which PowerPoint may be an effective tool, here’s how to best use it to your advantage.
Use a professional designer. If you are speaking to a large group, you are making an important presentation. Using standard templates dilutes your impact. A professional designer will use higher-quality photography and more engaging layouts. Professionals also understand the impact of different colors and patterns. The overall design will be far superior to anything you could do on your own.