I’m going to start this article with a quote:
A stunning first impression was not the same thing as love at first sight. But surely it was an invitation to consider the matter. — Lois McMaster Bujold
You see, I kind of feel like my team and I work at the coal face when it comes to first impressions. After all, we create interactive presentations and touchscreen experiences (essentially sales tools) that sales and marketing teams use, at what we consider to be the most important point of any budding business interaction.
Let me tell you what I mean, by talking to you very quickly about… online dating.
What does online dating have in common with winning business?
Okay, let me get this straight; I’m by no means an expert in online dating, but there are quite a few similarities between this, and sales and marketing (smarketing?).
For example, technology has transformed both of these (on the face, very different) areas. We now have access to great platforms where we can put out messages, reach out to all of these great new people, check analytics to find out what people are looking at, and tweak your profile accordingly.
You can also tweak your messages depending on the kind of response you get (cheesy chat-up lines are generally a ‘no’). You can start tentative conversations, and get to know someone a little bit. But it always comes to the point where you have to meet face-to-face.
That’s where the real magic happens, and that’s when you’ve got to convert; which, in this case, means you’ve either got to win the business, or win over the date.
Okay, let’s get to the facts of the matter
For those of you who don’t like the dating analogy, here are some hard facts.
I want to refer to a recent B2B Marketing report, where thousands of B2B businesses were surveyed all over the world – as well as agencies. One of the questions they were asked was: ‘What is the most influential factor in a B2B buyer’s decision?’
And the answer was: ‘Meeting with suppliers’.
Let that sink in. This was the most important element for a B2B buyer – and it makes sense. After all, face-to-face time is now in short supply, so it’s important to make the most of that time and make the best first impression you can.
And if you want something more, there’s this:
A whopping 97% of senior decision makers said the professionalism of a potential suppliers’ presentation was important or very important in awarding a contract.
TIP: To read more statistics like this, and gain some key tips, check out our blog: ‘In a World of Changing Decision Makers – How Can You Win Business When it Matters Most?’.
Advice from the presentation pros
The vast majority of senior decision makers are putting a great deal of importance on presentations. I’m sure we all understand this, but I think that sometimes we forget how important those face-to-face interactions actually are.
We tend to get so overwhelmed with all the technology and all the other things going on that we’re supposed to be doing, and sometimes it’s easy to get overlooked – even I’ve been guilty of that in the past.
These days, when it comes to winning business, the margins of winning can be incredibly small, with even the slightest advantage tipping the balance in (or out of) your favour.
Having a clear, professional and persuasive presentation can go a long way to convincing decision makers to take the action you want them to take; as long as you allay all of their fears, objections and worries – whilst telling a visual story that helps them see what success will look like for their business.
One key takeaway to remember
Thanks for reading – I hope this article has given you some food for thought, but let me leave you with one last thing:
According to the same B2B Marketing research I mentioned above; before making a detailed supplier evaluation, 79% of buyers are already aware of at least three potential suppliers, and 86% already have a preference.
(Again, that’s probably a bit like online dating)
Buyers are going into those all-important face-to-face meetings more informed than ever before. Are you going to be prepared for all of their questions, concerns, personal and professional biases, and pre-conceived notions about your business?
In other words, do you have a presentation that can deliver everything they’re going to need to make you their first choice?
If you have any questions about how to develop a visually compelling presentation that engages customers and ultimately wins business then don’t hesitate to drop us a line.
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