I Hate Presentations! (Here’s My Favorite Presentation)

If you’re like me, you hate presentations. That means you’ll probably cringe when you to hear me say: “I had the opportunity to witness, first hand, a great sales presentation today.” Before you stop reading, give me a second to tell the story.
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A few weeks ago I introduced our marketing team to Josh McCallen at The Business Armory. We were beginning to explore marketing partnerships and I figured I would throw Josh, who I knew in school, a bone. To be frank, I was completely convinced his budding marketing business was not directly aligned and potentially not mature enough for us. I made it clear to my team that just because it was an introduction from me, I fully expected them to quickly vet the firm through a preliminary phone call and move on.

You’ll imagine my surprise when I heard Josh and his team were making a follow-up visit this week. You may be even more surprised to learn it was Josh’s phone call and subsequent questioning about our business that made me realize he was a serious contender to win our business. My team had invited his company back and I was beginning to see why. These guys get it. They understand sales isn’t about telling your prospect as much as you can about yourself, it’s about getting your client to tell you as much as you can about themselves.

Before calling me in preparation for his presentation, Josh or someone on his team had already spoken to individuals from our finance department, sales department, marketing department, and administrative team. Josh followed up to hear our story “ straight from the horse’ s mouth” and to validate what he had heard from others. During our conversation Josh spoke less than 5% of the time; he got me to do all the talking.

Given all the homework his team did, I began to develop a fairly high expectation of our follow up meeting. I was rather impressed, but simultaneously curious about what they planned to do with the information. The visit did not disappoint.

After arriving early enough to setup for the presentation and finding our conference room booked right up to the last minute, the team struggled with technical difficulties. Not phased by the mishaps, as the team rebooted their computer, Josh confidently continued to not only drive the conversation forward, but also video record it — demonstrating first-hand the type of amateur video technology they would ultimately suggest we consider leveraging to make enrich our blogs and social media strategy.

The Business Armory outlined exactly how they see our business. That’s right — there wasn’t a single slide dedicated to them, instead, they demonstrated a deep understanding of our business, presenting an outsider’s view of who we are and how we have fallen short of capturing that image in our previous marketing initiatives. The Business Armory did something better than tell us about their expertise; they demonstrated it and then presented stratagems for improving our image.

We have not hired the Business Armory and I can’t promise we will, but I will tell you they are a serious contender. If you’re looking for a marketing firm that’s ready and willing to roll up their sleeves and deliver a solution designed specifically for you, I’d recommend you check them out. If nothing else, take a lesson from Josh. Do your homework, ask lots of questions, focus on the client not yourself, and demonstrate your expertise rather than telling all about it. This sales approach is much more powerful than your typical PowerPoint.

Now, if I could figure out a way to hire Josh directly, I think I’d have him help with both Sales and Marketing.

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