The key question every prospect asks themselves when listening to a presentation is what’s in it for me? This means that presenters need to make sure that the answers to the key question or questions – why change? why change with us? are presented in a way that’s meaningful to the prospect.

It’s no good expecting the audience to work out that what your presenters are saying is relevant to them – this needs to be crystal clear.

Presenters need to use language that’s focused on “you” (i.e. the audience), and not “me” or “we” or “I” (i.e. the presenter). The presentation should talk very directly to the prospect. Let’s look at each of those in turn.

If your presentation is built around answering the question Why change?, then the structure will be organised around a short list of the benefits of changing. If you change you will get e.g. happier staff, increased security, or more sales leads.

When presenting a list of benefits, the presenter needs to expand upon the benefits, and point out how they will deliver more fundamental business benefits (revenue, profit, reduced risk) or personal benefits (recognition, time, reduced effort) too. This helps to strengthen the message delivery. So, e.g. you will have happier staff, which means that your staff turnover will reduce so your costs will go down. Or you will have increased security, so your business risk will reduce. Or, you will get more sales leads, so you’ll be able to hit your quota far more easily. Even fundamental benefits work better when expanded upon in this way – “you’ll save money, which will make you more profitable”, or “you’ll become more profitable, which will improve your ratios for investors”.

Presenters don’t need to explain how the benefits will be delivered when presenting the value proposition/key sales message slide. This comes within the sections of the presentation. They just need to provide an overview of the benefits, and then explain how when presenting each section.

If a presentation is structured around answering the question “why us?” then the value proposition is often built around advantages, with sometimes a unique feature thrown in for good measure. This is because if your value proposition is a list of benefits in this situation, it would make your company look like all the others out there, which isn’t a great way to differentiate.

When presenting advantages or features, the presenter needs to quickly point out the benefit to the prospect. The presenter needs to answer the “so what?” question.

So, for example, if a cleaning company says that they should be chosen because they offer flexibility, a presenter might deliver this by saying that “you get flexibility, which means that you are able to spend less time managing our service and more on your core business”. Or a building company might claim that their design is “sustainable, which means that you will save money while supporting your brand positioning and building loyalty among your customers”.

Presenters ought to use language like “which gives you”, “which means that”, “so you get”, and “therefore you can” to expand upon each advantage to bring out a benefit. If the advantage is stated and then not expanded upon, the presenter will be less effective.

So, when presenting a slide answering the question “why change?” or “why us?”, presenters should quickly move through the list of answers, just rephrasing the headlines, and explaining why they should matter. No fluff, no detailed explanation, just an attempt to ensure prospects understand what’s in it for them.

The next step is to take the answers to these questions and create a series of impactful slides that tell a really clear story. Not sure how to do that, we’ve got just the article for you.

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Joby Blume


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