As a PowerPoint Design Agency, we know the sales game isn’t what it used to be. The days of a salesman turning up on your doorstep and charming you into buying his must-have stuff are gone.
Consumers want something different. They’ve grown wise, and even averted, to the old-school sales pitches that used to drive the economy. Sales conversations are more complex than ever, and stakeholders are rife.
The longer sales cycle, combined with the increasingly noisy, challenging and pressurised sales environment, can turn even the most seasoned salesperson into jelly. Presentation creation can turn into a nightmare of a task.
A Growing Sales Trend
There seems to be a growing trend amongst salespeople to consistently come up with new, creative, and engaging material for their pitches and presentations. Miller Heiman Group and the research CSO Insights identified in their 2017 study that 19% of all sales collateral was created by salespeople. This is despite the fact that the very same audiences that were being surveyed had very large marketing and sales enablement teams.
That’s almost 20% of all collateral being created by salespeople who should be spending their time on, um, selling.
What’s The Problem?
Regardless of what industry you’re in, a salesperson needs to be selling.
As a presentation consultancy firm, presentations are naturally our expertise. So, we’ve dug a little deeper into this growing phenomenon and have come to this conclusion: salespeople tend to waste a lot of their time focusing far too heavily on the visual elements of their presentations, trying to make them look pretty and appealing. When really, to get the best results out of said presentations, they need to be concentrating more on the structure; that is, the story behind the presentations.
Because we’re all about kick-ass presentation creation, this frustrates us. We talk about storytelling in-depth in a number of our blog posts, so you can see how passionate we are about it. Storytelling in sales has huge potential and very few salespeople purposefully and successfully use this to their advantage.
Getting Down to the Solution
In our humble opinion, with the ever-growing demand for interesting presentations, it’s the job of the sales leaders to step up to the plate in this regard, and take some of the pressure off the rest of their team.
We believe it’s vital for them to not only provide their teams with persuasive and engaging presentations but also to create a backbone for each presentation, giving them solid structures to work from in the form of stories.
How to Tell a Story in Your Presentations
It’s important to remember that a story is not merely a string of interesting anecdotes. Stories have a set structure which is essential in communicating a message in an interesting, informative and engaging way.
Let’s take a quick look at a few of the story structures you can use in your presentations:
- Eyeful’s Audience Pathway Model
- Minto Pyramid
- Key Message Headline Model
Following one of the above structures will help you hook your audience, reel them in, keep them engaged. It will encourage interest and discussions about what you’re presenting to them. Sales leaders should equip their teams with the necessary tools and training to pull these storytelling techniques off.
The Science Behind Storytelling
Storytelling enables your audience to imagine. It makes it easier for them to follow what you’re saying and picture themselves in the situation you’re presenting. You are guiding your audience to a pre-determined place or mind-set.
But, that’s not all. Science tells us that stories with lots of descriptive, sensory language, as well as metaphors and details, stimulates the parts of the brains that we would use if we were experiencing what was happening in the story personally. This means by telling a story, you can encourage your audience to feel a certain way! And, when it comes to purchasing decisions, feelings very often trump logic.
There have been a plethora of science experiments over the years to understand the effects stories have on the human brain. Notable findings were discovered by Paul Zak, a neuroeconomics pioneer. Zak concluded that when someone tells an engaging story with a definitive structure that includes a climax, the brain triggers a release of Oxytocin.
This hormone, also known as the “trust hormone”, is responsible for a feeling of connection and empathy. It helps build trust between the storyteller and listener. Needless to say, building trust with prospective clients and stakeholders has the potential to drastically increase your sales.
Make Your Audience Understand
One of the difficulties of presentation creation is that without a clear structure, your message can become muddled. It’s quite important that your audience actually understands your message. If not, your messages can become diluted as it sifts through layers of stakeholders, one passing along your “message” to another, until the end result is nothing like you intended.
If you’re asking someone to make a purchase or invest in your company, you need to tell them in no uncertain terms what you’re offering. Storytelling can help you achieve this. Think of storytelling models as magic formulas that guide your audience through the “sales funnel” and out the other side.
If all this talk of storytelling sounds overwhelming, fear not. Eyeful Presentations is a PowerPoint design agency dedicated to providing our clients with clear, informative, and engaging presentations with a strong focus on structure. We also have loads of useful information, articles and blog posts on our website to help you with your sales techniques.
Get in touch today to chat through your options.