Trust is everything…
As presentation consultant, I am often asked to review a presentation, and sadly I must say that most people forget, forget the most important thing in making a pitch or business presentation.
Most people focus on pretty graphics, some great technical explanations and occasionally too many whiz-bang effects in their presentation software. Thinking that this is the real thing, that this will make the difference – if I just jazz it up it will impress them and it will win me the contract!
Nothing is further from the truth, in fact the truth and authenticity is the most important part of the presentation. Keep it clean keep it simple keep it superb.
During a business presentation, these questions dominate everything: “do I buy or not buy” and “should I trust you?” This is especially true when making a presentation to group of decision makers. Evaluators make the first and second decisions based upon the reputation of the presenter and the presenter’s firm.
Often that reputation is borrowed from your firm’s past and present reputation. If it is a good one they will look at the solution, or if you are new to them they will firstly look at whether or not they can trust you. Your online presence and references can be factors there. Trust in today’s business world is one of the most important factors in giving a business presentation.
Get The Business Presentation Sequence Right
In order to make a business pitch effectively, you need to focus on presenting the information so they can make each decision in the proper order. If you try to get to quick decision that would more naturally come later, you’ll end up losing or delaying getting the contract. Trial closing usually means a ‘no’ later as it always feels like a hustle in modern business presentations.
Can I Trust You?
For example, if you start talking about problems and solutions to a group of people who don’t believe you’re a reputable person from a credible firm, you are wasting everybody’s time. The decision-makers don’t listen. In fact they can’t, because until they answer the question “Can I trust this person?”, they are not ready to hear your solutions, let alone make a decision.
Reputations & Presenter Credibility
The need to establish credibility (decisions No. 1 and 2) is why many presenters begin by introducing themselves and their companies. This is where references play an important part in establishing credibility. It’s very powerful if “your reputation precedes you” so that the first two decisions are already made before you present. Often today a RTQ (Request To Qualify) is used to weed out those who cannot deliver.
If you’re presenting to a group of people, make certain that as many attendees as possible have “endorsed” you prior to the meeting, and include the information that establishes trust and credibility.
Personal Presentation Really Matters
Ultimately your behaviour and personal presentation really matter! If you appear nervous, overbearing, or arrogant you will lose the opportunity.
I know of one senior executive who likes to drop into his reception area in shirt selves, just to observe how people are when they arrive, how they treat his staff, what their manners are like. When I asked why, he told me, “well if it is going to be a long-term contract, it is like marriage. Often without love, so respect matters. I ask myself “will I be able to stand working with them?”
Business Presentation Skills Break “Ties”
My point is, if all aspects of your service and product are very similar to your competitors (price, design aspects, etc.) then how is the decision made? It is by likeability and trust. This is a very quiet and subtle emotion, almost overlooked by most people. If your prospective client cannot imagine working with you, they won’t. And you lose. Use your business presentation skills to make you the desirable partner.