The iPad is a great sales tool (and weapon too). Yet, it isn’t enough to just hand out iPads to your sales team and expect great results. You need to provide the right sales tools. To be truly effective, iPad sales tools should have the following five characteristics:
Sales tools should be visual. If you use too much text, not only do you come across as boring and risk Death by PowerPoint on a new platform, but because typically the presenter will hold the iPad, you risk things moving around too much and being hard to read for the audience. Effective visuals help to explain often complex messages, they help to hold attention, and they help your messages stick.
Don’t just present the same material each time. One of the big advantages of the iPad as a sales tool is that it allows you to have a visual conversation – you don’t have to stand up at the front of a room and talk uninterrupted for 20 minutes. Divide your presentation into topics, and be prepared to respond to your audience’s comments. That way, you spend more time talking about what matters to your prospect.
It makes a lot of sense to annotate or sketch ‘live’ using the iPad. It forces a bit of interactivity, it forces the presenter to tailor what is being said to the conversation, and it helps to show that the sales person knows what they are talking about. Some will be happy sketching out a few diagrams, others might just label a few pre-made graphs – but the effect is still strong.
One of the advantages of using an iPad sales tool is that it breaks down barriers between buyer and seller. If you just use your iPad to stand at the front of a room and project onto a big screen (to a small group), you are missing an opportunity. The best way to break down the barrier is to hand over the iPad to your prospect. This will really encourage participation. Ask the prospect to sketch their situation, answer poll questions, or fill in values in an ROI calculator.
One of the best things about the iPad is that it’s not possible to use PowerPoint directly. Sure, Keynote is available, but it’s pretty limited (and if you use PowerPoint already, it’s a chore to switch). Because of this, reps aren’t able to just put their own PowerPoint slides onto their iPads without anybody knowing. This (using SlideShark Team Edition) allows more control of content, and more insight into what content is being used.
iPad as Sales Tool
We think that the iPad – used well – can be an enormously powerful sales tool. But just putting PDF brochures onto a touch-screen device isn’t enough. Make full use of the iPad’s capabilities, and move towards visual conversations, to truly harness the power of the technology.