Test Your Sales Skills: Can You Move This Deal Forward?

SCENARIO: You've been ask to give a presentation to a high-powered group of executives who are known to like presentations that are "information rich." When you sit down to write out your notes, you come up three different scripts, each taking a different approach to a key slide. Your challenge is to decide which approach will be most effective. Here's the slide (which unfortunately, it's too late change):


And here are the scripts:
  • SCRIPT #1: "We helped G.E. break into the China market. Our state-of-the-art solution was installed over a five-year period and included inventory control over a wide variety of key product categories. We improved the efficiency of the overall inventory management by an average of 35 percent and were recognized by top management as a key element of their strategy."
  • SCRIPT #2: "Our solution will save you 35 percent of your inventory costs through elimination of excess inventory. 35 percent! That's a number I want you to remember. We're willing to contractually commit to this figure because we had a similar engagement at G.E. that achieved a 35 percent savings which came out roughly $1.1 billion, according to their annual report."
  • SCRIPT #3: "Let me tell about the time I met Jack Welsh. He was at the debriefing that we gave to G.E.'s board of directors. He's a lot shorter than he looks on camera, but let me tell you, when he smiled and said that we had done a good job, I never felt more proud in my entire life. And with good reason, because we saved them $1.1 billion a year - according to G.E.'s annual report!"

Click for the correct answer »

The correct answer is SCRIPT #2. Here's why.

SCRIPT #1 is indeed "information rich." In fact, it's WAY TOO information-rich and asks way too much of the customer, who may not see the connection between your company helping G.E. with its problems and your ability to help them with theirs. The result is a forgettable snoozer of a slide.

SCRIPT #3 seems better because, while it contains plenty of information, it has a story connected to it. But the story is actually irrelevant to the customer and all about the presenter and lacks any sense of context. Your customer is still being asked to abstract the "meaning" behind your factoids.

SCRIPT #2, by contrast, is persuasive because it explains what you and your firm are going to do for the customer. The information that's presented is then used to provides evidence that you can deliver as promised. The slide now has "meaning" to the customer that helps drive the sale forward.

BTW, this post is loosely based on the stunning and brilliant Terri Sjodin, one of the world's top trainers in persuasive presentations.

THE SCRIPTS:

  • SCRIPT #1: "We helped G.E. break into the China market. Our state-of-the-art solution was installed over a five-year period and included inventory control over a wide variety of key product categories. We improved the efficiency of the overall inventory management by an average of 35 percent and were recognized by top management as a key element of their strategy."
  • SCRIPT #2: "Our solution will save you 35 percent of your inventory costs through elimination of excess inventory. 35 percent! That's a number I want you to remember. We're willing to contractually commit to this figure because we had a similar engagement at G.E. that achieved a 35 percent savings which came out roughly $1.1 billion, according to their annual report."
  • SCRIPT #3: "Let me tell about the time I met Jack Welsh. He was at the debriefing that we gave to G.E.'s board of directors. He's a lot shorter than he looks on camera, but let me tell you, when he smiled and said that we had done a good job, I never felt more proud in my entire life. And with good reason, because we saved them $1.1 billion a year - according to G.E.'s annual report!"