“It’s a complicated offering and we really can’t get through it (sales presentation) in less than an hour.”
That’s what I was recently told by a start-up technology company I was asked by a friend to meet with. My friend, the majority investor in this company, asked me to review their sales presentation – a 50+ slide presentation loaded with features and functionality.
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, considered by many to be the greatest American speech of all time, defining democracy and our purpose as a nation, took three minutes to deliver. So, why would it ever take anything more than 30 minutes to describe a company, it’s offering, and benefits to a prospective customer? That’s 10 times longer than Lincoln used at Gettysburg!
In my business, we see an awful lot of presentations. Emphasis should be placed on awful. Companies spend way too much time bragging on themselves and extolling their greatness as opposed to focusing on the meaningful ways they aid the interests and alleviate the concerns of their customer. Customers could care less about the things you have, they want the things you do. Customers buy benefits, not features. Features and functionality exist to support the benefits you offer. Get to the benefits first.
I don´t believe there is such a thing as the "right"?? or "wrong"?? number of slides in a sales presentation. That being said, never have a sales presentation that is over 10 slides, including the opening and closing slides. If you need more than that to convey your value and benefits, something is wrong. Limit yourself to a number of slides and challenge yourself to get to the main points faster. You don´t have the luxury of time with a prospect; you need to lock their interest early.
An interesting exercise is to make a presentation from the customer´s perspective, addressing information the way they are likely processing your conversation with them. Use the following titles for each slide and put information on the slide that answeres that slides question. Compare this presentation to whatever you have today. Which is more meaningful to your prospect?
1. Opening Slide
2. "Who Are You?"??
3. "What Do You Do for Me?"??
4. "How Do You Do It?"??
5. "How Are You Different?"??
6. "Why Should I Believe You?"??
7. "What Does It Cost?"??
8. "Do You Offer a Guarantee?"??
9. "How Do We Start Doing Business Together?"??
10. Closing Slide