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Thursday, 26 August 2010

Why ‘consistent’ Sales Messages do not work.

A consistent 'message' is a narrative based on a simple structure. These structures are Past, Present, Future (how we were, how we are and how we will be) or Cause and Effect or sometimes sequential 1, 2, 3. So, since their basis looks well placed why do not they work?

  • They are TELLER based, not LISTENER based
    • They are about what I want to say, not about what YOU want to hear
  • They are the same for all listeners, that's what it means 'consistent'

If they do not work, why are they in use? It is a Marketing failure.

Marketing mass-produced useless sales collateral, which bored the Client and the Salesperson to death on PowerPoint.

Marketing then blamed poor delivery by the Salesperson as the problem.

However, Sales Top Performers have for years cut and pasted and developed working versions, which MUST be 'tailor-made' for the individual Client. NOT consistent, but individual and unique and they are the messages that sell.

I have never met the Marketing person, at any level, who could deliver 30-second, 3-minute, 9-minute, 27-minute messages individually tailored to the audience that they are speaking too. I know countless sales people who give tailor made messages to individual clients daily, despite their marketing materials!

Today, marketing in their ignorance have now found a new 'Fall Guy' Microsoft PowerPoint is to blame. The 'new' Marketing initiative is away from PowerPoint to Whiteboard and Flip chart presentations. A sort of Business Pictionary 'guess this shape' is now playing to Buyers already bored with poor Sales collateral produced by Marketing. These are even less likely to work!

I do not condemn White-boarding I use it, I am a Master Flip-charter, and a lifelong user of 3M's Post-its for Brainstorming and Organising 'loose' Data. However, when it comes to individual tailored Sales Presentations, my guidelines are:

  • Use the most successful method to present information the 30 year old Minto Pyramid
    • The technique applies to every type of document in which your purpose is to offer your thinking to a reader – email, 1-page memo, multi-page report, or formal slide presentation. It works equally for internal or external audiences, and regardless of medium or language. For this reason the Minto Pyramid Principle has become the de facto standard for all major consulting firms and professional organizations worldwide.
  • Buy the book "Beyond bullet points", study it and learn how to use both PowerPoint and your own, as well as, your audience's brains effectively
  • DONT give 'consistent' messages,
    give individual unique audience based: "That's what I wanted to hear and see messages"

As a final word have a look and listen to the man who developed "White boarding".

It is a great presentation; he uses 102 PowerPoint slides and more than 2,000 words to promote white boarding.

He also makes a few unsustainable claims based on Neuro-science, but he does give six good models for informing.

BMAC have developed and run 'Presentation Skills for Professionals', to include both Sales and non-Sales people. The content is based on current Neuro-Science; it endorses the Minto Pyramid, and encourages the use of the techniques of Persuasive Presentation and narrative outlined in Beyond bullet points. It's extraordinary focus is on audience directed informing and persuading.


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