If you aren’t happy with the results of recent pitches, consider switching up the narrative. That’s the advice from Bob Apollo, which he shares in a post for CustomerThink.com. Typically, presentations follow the same structure: The speaker starts the pitch by presenting his or her solution.
While the audience does need to know about the product or service sold, Apollo suggests an alternative structure. “One of the core concepts is that your presentation must always lead toward and never lead with your solution,” he explains.
He recommends that speakers follow this “flow” when presenting:
- Set the scene: Discuss the challenge, issue or trend affecting the prospect.
- Implications: How is this challenge impacting his or her business?
- Winners and Losers: What are the potential “winning” and “losing” outcomes the challenge may bring depending on the prospect’s actions?
- The Twist: “Surprise” the prospect with an unexpected need or implication that leads toward your product or service’s strengths.
- Capabilities: Now is when you introduce the capabilities of the product or service that can help the prospect deal with the identified “twist.”
- Credentials: Why should they trust you? Back this up with your credentials as an organization.
- Next Steps: Finally, outline what the prospect should do next.
This presentation structure is different because the speaker does not open by talking about him or herself. Instead, the speaker immediately personalizes the pitch to the prospect. Also, this helps the speaker establish him or herself as knowledgeable, capable, and credible.
Apollo reminds speakers that each talking point should be embellished with specifics pertaining to the prospect. And, the points should stimulate feedback to create a dialogue between the speaker and the prospect.
“When you follow these guidelines, every participant – presenter and audience – is likely to emerge from the presentation having learned something valuable,” he writes. “There’s a far better chance that everyone will emerge from the session agreeing that it was time well spent – which, let’s face it, is rarely the case with classic corporate sales pitches.”