Great, you can see exactly what solution they need.
So you sit down and start creating slides.
Your slides prove that you know what you’re talking about, explain what needs to happen and describe solutions you have implemented for other clients.
What you need to do (because it’s what you want your client to do) is to stop and think.
Your client is like a casting director. They are probably watching a succession of hopefuls looking for some spark that says: ‘this is the one.’ If your presentation is dull and unexceptional they won’t actually shout ‘Next!’, but they might well be thinking it.
Is there a magic phrase that will give your audience a jolt? Something that will make them think ‘this person really gets what we’re trying to do.’ When you’ve come up with the killer statement (or question), what will your slide display that will ambush their attention and sear this point into their memory? Hint: this slide won’t have many words - maybe none at all.
Have you really considered their perspective? What are they thinking? What are they hoping to get out of your presentation?
Aim for something that helps them see their situation in a different light or challenges their assumptions. Get their minds and imaginations working right from the start, before they lapse into the passive ‘information input’ state of mind.
And once you’ve grasped attention, plan how you will maintain your grip on it.
Your client doesn’t want to hear all about you - they can hopefully look at your website for that.
They don’t want to hear about what their problems are - their problems they are all too familiar with.
They want to hear about a world without those problems. And they want to hear a credible journey that gets them there. Prove that your solution will work by showing them evidence of success - but only once they are ready to absorb the information.
To get them into a receptive state of mind you have to get them thinking. A detailed technical explanation and a long list of achievements won’t do this. They will probably forget the details of what you tell them anyway.
Aim for strong clear messages that trigger positive emotions and thoughts and reinforce them with memorable images.
What happens next?
Having worked so hard to command their attention and paint a picture of a better situation, don’t waste the opportunity. Suggest an action that doesn’t demand a huge commitment. One that moves the process forward and keeps the discussion going.
Aim to get a commitment to this action at the end of the presentation but maybe float it at an earlier stage, while their minds are focused on positive future state you’ve outlined.
Sometimes an external pair of eyes helps you see through the detail to what really matters to your clients. Give me a call if you need help creating a winning and memorable presentation.
Hugh Graham, The Bid Coach