In sales, your powerpoint won’t save you

If you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re a salesperson, if you’re responsible for making revenue happen in your business, you do what conventional wisdom says. You work on the questions people will ask you, and you make sure your presentation is good and there are no typos. You see to it that it’s well designed. You do all of these things; meanwhile, you’re ignoring the thing that will actually help you increase sales.

Sales are not about the agenda, the presentation, the flipbook, or the design. It’s about putting yourself in a position where you can actually influence change. Amazing presentations may help; however, that’s not where you should be focusing your time. What you should be doing is putting yourself in a position where you can actually influence change. It comes in the questions that they’re asking you. How do you handle those questions?

I just got out of a meeting where (if you’re thinking about it from a traditional point of view) I was underprepared. I love fancy PowerPoint presentations laid out; however, I didn’t have one. What I had was a tremendous amount of preparation put into what we were doing, why we were doing it, and why it made sense to them.

I was tight on time, and I had to make a choice. I could spend my time laying everything out in a really great PowerPoint presentation (that makes a ton of sense, and that looks great), but then I’d be underprepared to explain what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and what the research says.

You think that having a great structure and agenda in a great presentation will make up for the lack of other things, and because sales are relationship-based, you don’t want to do anything that hurts your credibility. However, these other things aren’t as important as you think. I walked into the meeting. Yeah, I’ve pulled my examples, but they were only screenshots sitting in a folder. I didn’t even plug into the projector, open up my laptop, or turn on my screen. I just told them, “Come closer, people. Come closer around.” Here’s what I had—I had an understanding of how I wanted to run the meeting. I could bob and weave if things were different. I opened up by explaining, from an emotional point of view, how we got to where we were are today and what I was hoping we were going to walk through in the meeting.

They want to know that you’ve already thought about this for them, that you have a recommendation. You can say, “This is how I would go, and this is what I would do. I have a lot of experience, and this is what I found.” Bring storytelling into your sales meetings. Focus on what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, the thinking that went into it.

But, here are the reasons why you’re not going to do it.

  • One, it’s hard. It takes time. You can’t walk into a meeting unprepared. You can’t just pull out your template. You can’t just say the same thing over and over again, because everybody’s a little different. It requires you to prepare.

  • Two, you’re worried that you can’t react at the moment and that you won’t remember it. You think you have to have your presentation; otherwise, how are you going to remember what you’re talking about? So you need to get better at that.

  • Three, you’re worried that if you don’t have that structure, you’re going to take people in all different directions. You might say, “I’m not ready to talk about the seventh step. We got to go through one through six. We have to follow the structure.”

  • And lastly, you’re worried that you’re just not good enough. You think that without the presentation, people would get bored and fall asleep. Without the proven technique, you’re worried that you’re not going to deliver.

However, having worked with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of entrepreneurs, here’s what I can tell you—jump out of that aeroplane without the parachute. Your brain will give you the answer you need in real-time. If you demand it, you got this. You don’t need the presentation. You don’t need the fake stuff. What you need is to put the time in. You need to come up with the answers that you’re proud of, whether they buy into it or not. You have to believe that what you’re saying is the truth. You just got to do it.

Growing and scaling your business by being better at sales, marketing, and customer experience is important to you.