What’s Your Point?

By Heather Baldwin

A few years ago, Jim Endicott, owner/manager of Newberg, Oregon-based Distinction Communication, was hired to help a company re-tool its sales presentation. The company offered a good, well-established service, but they weren’t winning any big contracts, and managers felt their sales team’s presentation content and skills were largely to blame. Endicott hit the phones. He asked presenters what they considered to be the two or three main messages they were communicating in their presentations, and he learned something shocking: of the 25 reps he talked to, each was communicating a different message in the marketplace. No wonder customers didn’t have a clear idea about who this company was and what it could offer!

If your sales team is trying to communicate more than a couple key points, or if the points vary from rep to rep, it’s time to take another look at your sales presentation. After all, audiences are only human – they’ll walk away remembering two or three things about the presentation they just heard. A well-designed sales presentation ensures that those two or three things convey a strong message about your company and are consistent from rep to rep.

So how did he get from 25 disparate messages down to three that everyone could agree on? It was easy, says Endicott. He gathered his client’s sales reps and key managers in a room for a day. Then he asked them to list on yellow post-it notes what they felt to be their company’s three main messages or selling points. As expected, he had a couple dozen responses, but, says Endicott, “I found that many of the responses could be bundled into groups.” He then posted the groups on the walls where they could be easily moved around. Once those groups were summarized into main, all-encompassing messages, Endicott says it became clear that some messages were more important than others and some were supporting information for other, more critical messages.

By the end of the day, says Endicott, the group had whittled the company’s core messages down to three and all were in agreement on them. The result? Endicott redesigned the presentation focusing on the three new messages and the company closed some big contracts almost immediately.