We know that sales conversations have changed. But what is the impact on final sales presentations? The days of product superiority as your key sales message even when customized to a client’s needs has been replaced by sharing of insights and the delivering of business outcomes. Just as the conversation in your sales call dialogues have changed, the story you tell at a final sales presentation must also change. Because so much is at stake during a final sales presentation—months of work, relationships, your quarter—it’s vital to construct your story so it clearly articulates value in terms of business outcomes, not product superiority.
An effective way to keep the focus on the business outcome is to organize your solution around a from this, to that structure so that the vision of the business outcome remains front and center.
It takes a weightier solution (nutritious not junk food) to unhinge today’s clients from the status quo. By reinforcing a from this, to that message and supporting that with the key criteria that your clients carefully evaluate as they listen to your presentation, you can move risk adverse clients to action and accelerate closing your deals.
Key criteria on your clients’ scorecards includes:
- A clear connection between your solution and achieving their business outcome
- Proof of success/experience
- Proof of value in terms of financial impact
- Insights, ideas, innovation
- Validation with research, thought leadership …
- Trust in your organization
- The value you personally add and will continue to add
Key to bringing all of the above to life is a relevant success story. Success stories help remove the barrier between your solution and the business outcome. Clients still need to hear that little voice inside that says yes. Success stories generate that voice. That’s because decisions are in big part emotional and success stories make the emotional connection. Clients must emotionally feel the decision is right, whether that feeling is intellectual, intuitive, or visceral. The words “Let me give you an example” perk clients up and make them tune in. Droning on about product features and benefits does pretty much the opposite.
Success stories fuel an emotional go-ahead. They show your solution at work and help clients see their role in the story. They can also give you a competitive advantage because fewer than 50% of salespeople build success stories into their final presentations. Structure your success story in three parts:
- The significant problem your client faced and the impact of that problem on the business
- Your intervention and measurable results/business outcome
- Application to and potential gains for your client.
While solutions vary in complexity, execution, and cost, most solutions can be structured with a from this, to that strategy. By building your solutions around business outcomes and fortify them with relevant success stories you will show clients the value you are creating for them and achieve your goals.