Yes, there are ancient PowerPoint secrets...secrets your grandmother knows and is probably willing to pass down to you.
But what's this you say? Your grandmother has never even heard of Microsoft PowerPoint?
No matter. If your grandma was like mine, she knew something about power of an effective presentation.
Ancient PowerPoint Secret #1: A little treat. My grandmother was master of what you might call a coffee klatsch...getting people together to talk and tell stories under guise of having some sort of treat. In my grandmother’s day, treat would usually involve meeting over coffee or tea, and some sort of wonderful, home-baked sweet. And with these coffee klatsches, Grandma would inform and entertain while developing or maintaining treasured relationships.
If you’re in sales, you can learn a lot about PowerPoint presentations from your grandma. Chances are, her coffee klatsch objectives probably aren’t that much different than your PowerPoint presentation objectives. Like Grandma, you want to inform and entertain your audience…and you’ll want to develop and maintain valuable long-term relationships, as well.
I’ve given lots of PowerPoint presentations in my day. And I’ve probably closed more sales over a box of doughnuts than with any single presentation! How can it be any wonder that many coffee shops today offer free, open wireless connections? Coffee shop owners know that during day, business people often close deals over coffee and treats. The free wireless access that coffee shops offer is an inexpensive, effective lure to attract business people. In same way, offering your prospects a tasty treat is a friendly, low-cost way to begin a sales relationship.
Ancient PowerPoint Secret #2: A little conversation. In past six weeks, I closed three deals in coffee shops. I bought coffee and treats for my prospects, popped open my notebook computer, and had a conversation (not a presentation!) about my prospects’ needs. Yes, I developed PowerPoint slides for all three meetings. But I didn’t use PowerPoint to present: I used PowerPoint to guide a conversation.
Now, you know that conversations are two-way, interactive forms of personal communication. But what did your grandmother know? She knew that conversations can be downright entertaining! And that’s yet another ancient PowerPoint secret: a series of conversations are much more effective than any single presentation when it comes to building relationships. So instead of building a massive PowerPoint presentation, why not build a PowerPoint conversation?
Here’s how: start by listening to your prospect. Conversations are all about give-and-take, which involves listening, not just talking. Avoid storming into your first client meeting with an “All About Us” PowerPoint presentation. Your grandma wouldn’t blab her life story to someone she just met: and neither should you!
Instead, ask questions. Find out about your potential clients’ business and what challenges they might be facing. Have a conversation, not a presentation.
Ancient PowerPoint Secret #3: A little more conversation. If you think your or your company can help your new prospect, ask them if they’d like to meet you in a few days…for coffee and treats, of course! Tell your prospect you’ve generated some good ideas for their business based on your conversation, but you’d like a little time to give a little more thought to what they’ve said.