Forget Bullets – Use Dramatic Evidence to Prove Your Point

By Heather Baldwin

You’ve done your homework and know exactly what your prospect’s priorities are for making a buying decision. But how does your presentation demonstrate you can meet those priorities? With a PowerPoint bullet stating your product is the highest quality? Dull, dull, dull! Next time, use dramatic evidence to show you can do what your buyer wants, says Doug Staneart, president of The Leader’s Institute, a Dallas-based training company specializing in sales training, presentations, team building, leadership and other soft skills (www.leadersinstitute.com).

Say, for example, your prospect’s top priority is to hire a company with experience. Dull and lifeless are PowerPoint bullets that say you’ve been in business for 10 years and worked on 150 similar projects. Instead, create dramatic, memorable evidence by covering your client’s walls in posters showing the more than 200 buildings you designed and built. That’s what 3D/I, a design-build architectural and construction firm and Leader’s Institute client, once did. Prospects walked into a visual testimony of 3D/I’s experience. The presenter further drove home the point by pulling off one poster, discussing how that project’s scope was identical to the client’s and noting that 3D/I finished the project six months ahead of schedule, saving the school district $100,000. They were hired immediately.

Here’s another example. A 3D/I prospect was looking to hire a company with a real team culture and people with whom the prospect felt it could establish good rapport. So to emphasize the people side of things, each person on the 3D/I presentation team came in with a 6×3-foot poster. At the top of the poster was a 1×1-foot picture of the 3D/I team member, followed by three bullet points listing major career successes and a photo mosaic of projects on which the individual had worked. “The Q&A wound up being all questions about the pictures,” says Staneart. Memorable? You bet. Again, the hiring decision was easy – 3D/I got the contract.

Or how about this for dramatic evidence to prove customer satisfaction? One Staneart client photocopied more than 100 letters of recommendation and delivered a set to each of the committee members at the conclusion of his presentation. He was the only contractor who offered even one letter. He got the job even though he was $250,000 over the lowest bidder.

Next time, says Staneart, don’t just tell your prospects how you meet their key criteria; show them in a way that is dramatic and memorable. You’ll be the one remembered when it’s time to make a purchasing decision.