Pic courtesy Eva
Last post we spoke of some of the traps small business people make when they’re doing sales presentations, particularly the relentless use of the exclamation mark.
Trivia: did you know that in print newsrooms, where every exclamation mark is hunted down and exterminated, they call them a ‘dog’s dick’? Well, now you do.
Once you’ve removed some of the small business-y claims from your presentation, here are 5 tips on what to replace them with.
1. Use specific claims, not blathery ones.
We helped our clients grow and develop their business by a considerable amount across a wide range of areas and parameters.
Our product helped clients increase their gross margin by 14%.
Clients don’t know what ‘considerable‘ means. They know what ‘14%‘ means, and can see what that would do for their business.
2. Very specific numbers are better.
Business growth of 40% per year sounds like a number you pulled out of your… imagination. Business growth of 42.1% sounds like an audited figure. Same with budgets if that’s part of your presentation.
3. Provide specific proof of your track record
A client list that just says: Microsoft. Ford. Kraft. McDonalds. is too unprovable and implausible, and if you’re a small company, suggests you probably worked with one of their licensed parts dealerships in some remote outpost. Get quotes from clients with specific names and job titles, which your audience will accept as clear evidence that you’re legit.
4. Make it all about the client
If you’re lacking shots of your deluxe headquarters or army of good-looking staff because you don’t have either of those things, just fill everything up with pictures of the potential client and their products. Facts that you’ve learnt about them. And ideas on how you can help them. Clients love their own products, and they’ll view you as really focused on them. For some specific tips on pirating other people’s deluxe office lobbies for staff portrait shots, look here.
5. Don’t try to be everything - specialize in something
Small businesses tend to want to be everything. You see it in ‘From This, To This!‘ syndrome.
Say, it’s a catering business. The sales presentation will go something like this:
‘From fundraiser barbecues to international gala dinners! From burgers to Michelin-star cuisine!’
From their previous experience, customers don’t trust the bogus one-stop-shop claim. Work out what your realistic strengths are, and try to find a specialization not currently occupied by anyone else (this may take some time, and some hired marketing help, or at least reading one of the old Ries and Trout books on market positioning).
So the caterer might pitch itself as a specialist in finance industry events, or the caterer with the highest hygiene standards in the city, or the caterer that will only use local, seasonal produce.
Aim for a specific, believable niche, and you can make a name for yourself. Claim to be the expert in everything, and you’re just another generic name from the Yellow Pages, getting shopped around by human roaches for the lowest-price deal.