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Presentations – 3 Tips & 4 Questions To Make Sure You Beat Your Competition

Submitted by on Tuesday, 28 April 2009

One of the biggest problems with presenting is that you don’t always know who is in the room. Invariably, one or two extra people show up. Sure, we have their business cards and know their titles, but we have no idea how their political capital is weighted in the room. Do they have history with other vendors? Do they represent an in-house solution? Are they seeking to make points by picking apart your presentation later? You have no way of knowing.


What makes it even scarier, is that you may not know the underlying choice criteria of the folks you know in the room:

  1. What criteria are they using to choose you over the competition?
  2. What will they be evaluating your presentation on – your knowledge, your solution, your professionalism, or how your material fits with their buying decision criteria?
  3. How will you know, as you prepare for your presentation, which points to stress, which to omit, which to have a group discussion around? And what is the difference between using the presentation as a solution pitch vs. using it as a way to show the prospect that you want to match your solution with their buying criteria?
  4. How could you design material that will highlight a way to meld their need and your solution with other internal possibilities to ensure that your solution can meld with little disruption?

Here are a few recommendations I have to help you present in a way that manages a buying decision team’s Buying Decision Criteria.

  1. Before presenting anything, ask the folks in the room what they hope to take away from your time together. Wait for several responses and begin a dialogue with the room. Help the people get into agreement, so they all are viewing your presentation from the same viewpoint. That proves that you are a leader and care about them as a team, rather than having them care about your solution.
  2. Help them uncover their buying criteria, separate from their need. Make sure they all know that they are ready, willing, and able to use an outside vendor rather than a familiar one they’ve used before, or an internal solution.
  3. Create presentation material that will address how your solution will manage each element of their buying criteria. It must be based on their buying patterns, not your selling patterns. The next vendor will be as professional, caring, and smart as you. But if they are focusing on their solution details rather than the buyer’s criteria, they will lose to you. Being a good seller is not as important as being a good Buying Facilitator.

For more information on how to create the right audience, the right materials, and the right collaboration environment to help buyers choose you, contact Sharon Drew Morgen.