How do you approach an introductory meeting with a prospective customer? Are you as well one of those that introduce themselves with your own company presentation? You would expect that your future customer wants to know exactly who he is dealing with, right?
Is this what he really wants? Do you truly believe that your prospective customer simply grants you an hour out of his valuable work schedule? No, he has made advance inquiries about your company, for instance on your company’s Internet site.
Decision makers have very little time. If he did not inform himself in advance, and still grants you an hour of his time, chances are that you are presenting to the wrong individual anyway.
“Yes, but the company presentation is the best tool I have to speak to the benefits our company can provide!”
Wrong! Company presentations are boring and useless! Think about it: Most company presentations follow this format:
The first slide shows the company logo, which is followed by a world map with lots of dots. “Absolutely, Mr. Customer, we even have sales offices in the Congo, in Timbuktu and the far reaches of Mongolia.” (Honestly: does anyone actually care about this?)
This is followed by a black and white photograph of the company founder, and a photograph of the production facility dating back to before the Second World War. This is intended to demonstrate stability and continuity.
The next slide shows a steadily growing revenue stream, followed by a convoluted org chart. The org chart has lots of circles and arrows and hopes to convey the customer oriented matrix structure. – The truth is that not even the consulting company that prepared the chart for the company understands this slide. The customer cannot and will not understand it. He puts up with this out of courtesy.
The following 10-20 slides show all manner of company products with details about a multitude of specifications, compliance with various ISO and DIN regulations and quality guidelines. No later than now, the customer will be begging that this presentation comes to an end soon.
“Yes, but this is what we always do.”
Bad enough. In fact, there are companies that direct their sales employees to introduce their company to the customer using exactly the slides that were prepared by the marketing department. Unbearable!
“Yes, but my customer demanded that I show him the company presentation.”
Truly? Please listen carefully. When the customer says that he wants to know more about your company, then he is asking for a brief summary. He wants a so-called “elevator speech“, i.e. you have no more than two minutes to present your company to the customer in a concise manner. No more than that. You do not need a PowerPoint presentation to accomplish this!
Here is how you can do this correctly
It is particularly important to get to know your customer during the introductory meeting, to understand his business and to find out about his problems. You or your company is not what this is about.
There is no need to demonstrate what a great guy, or company you are, and all the great things you can do. The customer wants to be understood and not persuaded. You have a particularly good shot at winning the customer over if you do not want to persuade.
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