Most of the time, an introduction doesn’t need a slide explaining who your company is, or who you are. The best way to build credibility isn’t to talk about yourself for five minutes, but to talk about your prospect’s challenges and concerns in an intelligent and insightful way. There are plenty of clueless salespeople from large companies, and there are also many small companies who are able to deliver insight and value for their customers.
A sales presentation introduction should build your credibility when it becomes apparent that you have something interesting to say about the prospect’s situation, and can offer insight that may help them run their business more effectively. What challenges do companies like your prospect’s tend to face? Why have they been unsuccessful in overcoming these challenges so far? What do these problems cost them? What would a solution to these challenges look like? A successful teaching pitch in your introduction will be more useful than 5 minutes or more about your company history and office locations shown on a map.
Sales presentations don’t usually need to start with slides about your company history, financial performance, structure, locations, product evolution, Top 100 awards, and clients. You only need this if (a) people don’t already know (b) they might doubt your credibility if you don’t say something about who you are. If you are a tiny company you might want to build credibility, or if you have new people coming in to a decision making process late you might want to re-establish credibility. Even then, if you start your sales presentation by offering genuine insight, information about your company can always come later.
Many large companies feel “misunderstood”. They feel customers don’t understand that they offer a complete range of solutions, they feel as if people know them for only one or two areas, when in fact they are active in more. Showing a divisional chart and pie-charts demonstrating that 23% of sales actually come from professional services isn’t the answer though. Instead, talk about what the full range of solutions can do for customers, and the benefits of working with multiple parts of the same organisation. Successful sales presentations need to be built around what you can do for your customers, and that starts with the sales presentation introduction.
There are certain other messages that companies often want to include in the introduction that often belong within the body of the presentation – the fact that you have an acceptable safety record; the fact that you are active in more countries than competitors, the fact that you have adequate capital reserves. If these items are differentiators, then they really ought to fit within the value proposition, not the introduction. If they are “table stakes” – something you need to have to be considered, but not differentiators among those who do indeed have them, then they might fit into the introduction. If an item needs to be ticked off a list by prospects, if it needs to be quickly mentioned but won’t help you to differentiate – then perhaps just mention it quickly in the introduction. But resist the temptation to make the introduction too much about you, though. It is far more compelling if it is about your prospect.
If presenting a complex solution, consider a couple of overview slides towards the end of the introduction, to be placed after you have looked at the challenges the prospect faces and the implications of those challenges. This allows the value proposition to be introduced after the prospect already knows what it is that you are talking about, and makes it easier for them to understand your pitch.