In the sales community, there is a witch-hunt on salespeople who are using the sales deck on the first meeting. Since sales decks are “not working anymore”, the new trend is to make a thoroughly leadership discovery with the clients, ask questions about their business and be an active listener. Surprisingly that strategy also doesn’t work anymore.
Isn’t it counterintuitive what you have learned on the sales training?
It’s not about the Sales Deck
How I got in defense for something I’m usually fighting in my everyday job?
Because I don’t see a problem in decks, but rather what is inside the sales decks.
From my buyer’s experience, the sales decks are usually filled with information about the company, their awards, their vision, and their founders. It’s also filled with a few generic problems they solve (which are usually technical in nature) and then 10 slides about how their solutions can help us to be a better company. From there, sellers get into the “discovery” usually asking what are the problems we’re currently facing, what are our goals, do we have a budget for these solutions, and are we decision-makers? On special occasions, we get demos too.
You can guess the outcome of the meeting which is typical: “Thanks for your time, we really like your solution, but we don’t have time now, it’s not our priority list now, we already have something similar stuff inside the company”
This also comes from the people who are the loudest about solution selling on LinkedIn or customer-centric companies.
In summary: sales decks are product-focused and people really don’t care about them.
How to create sales decks that makes customer think in different way
The best sales decks I have seen are structured like a story and it’s not a story about us or the customer but about the current reality we’re in. And in the current reality, things are done in a totally different way than before (especially now with the COVID thing). But the real problems come when peoples old mentality doesn’t fit into the current reality and it creates a huge misalignment/gap. We can compare it by installing brand new mobile apps (current reality) on iPhone 2G (old mentality) phones. Probably it won’t be possible, but if it is it would probaby crash a lot or it would be extremely slow. We would have our first symptoms or surface problems.
The purpose of the first meeting would be to talk with customers about Why change & Why now and finish it with Why my company (not my products, but what our approach/ideology to address that gap). Adding few social proofs will be also important since it would be a theory in the end.
I would like to create a slide deck with 5-7 slides that serve the buyer and me to focus the conversation more on why change is important and what is the impact of doing nothing.
Would I close the deal on that meeting? Probably not, since there is no way you can sell complex things at the first meetings. But, would I open buyers eyes and create curiosity around the topic?
Thank you slide deck, mission accomplished 🙂