Believe it or not, many companies start most meetings by presenting themselves and their company! Do you know how many times all of us have seen a typical company presentation? Do you think they would let you into the room if they didn’t already know who you are?
If you were able to sit in on most sales presentations today, and you simultaneously could be transported back in time, you’d notice that little has changed in the last 30 years or so. Most initial sales meetings are still booked as a ‘meeting without commitment’ to ’get a foot in the door’.
Sales meetings still start with a long monologue about ’us and me’, a genuinely dull company presentation, including highly forgettable ‘fluff messages’ and your run-of-the-mill corporate BS. Highly disengaged prospects reach for their devices, pretending to make notes while, in reality, tuning out to check their emails.
The whole exercise typically ends with the salesperson asking the first question with the not so subtle; ‘So what could the next step be?’.
Meanwhile, with few exceptions, most salespeople wouldn’t be let into the room without prospective customers knowing who they are and what value they could potentially offer.
Do bear in mind that:
Attention spans are very short; some say 2.8–8 seconds.
People do not have time.
People can google.
People want to meet people that are knowledgeable and have answers.
Buyers are better informed than ever — nearly 2/3 research your company before they even contact you.
Most products and services are commodities.
Peoples’ expectations, habits, needs and behaviour have already changed. But, unfortunately, too many salespeople are still using techniques to present their solutions that date back when fax machines and dial-up modems were state-of-the-art. Yes, they’re still around today, but nobody will take you seriously if you use them.
While companies may invest in giving their salespeople new tools for selling, education about online and digital prospecting would likely yield a much better return on investment. It’s amazing how few companies are arming their sales staff with the skills, mindset and tools they need to become attractive and exciting to the right person online, i.e. their potential next customer.
The bottom line
No matter how great your products or services are, if you use presentation techniques and skills developed before the word ‘smartphone’ arrived, you are at a distinct competitive disadvantage.
So, please stop talking about your company and yourself and start focusing on being them!
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about what and how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B. Asks a lot of questions, and knows what to do with the answers.