There is nothing more exciting than pitching your product or service to a big-wig or corporate CEO, in an attempt to score that next big client.
However all too often I have seen this type of sales presentation crash and burn.
There are always a few rookie mistakes you can make, such as not being prepared, not making the right impression, etc.
But it’s almost always this “one thing” that when missing – or done wrong – will determine if you walk out of that meeting with a sale or not.
Here’s a typical example of a deal killer, unfortunately you’re probably doing this all the time:
This seems pretty obvious.
But there’s much worse things you can do.
For example almost everyone makes this one mistake …
The Biggest “Deal Killer” Ever…
I’m about to share with you the exact mistake even the big guys make, how to fix it, and what to do instead, so you’ll end up getting more big deals and overall making more money.
But first, I have to ask… ever had a buyer laugh in your face?
It was massively embarrassing and I was dying on the inside while trying to hold my cool …
It was a few years ago, when I found myself at one of those lunch pitch meetings with the CEO of a tech company (2,000+ employees.)
I’d just spent 10 minutes pitching to him.
A good pitch. A solid idea. Very clear slides.
And I was offering LOTS of value.
The whole time, he sat there stone-faced.
No emotion. No appreciation … No love.
But who cares?
I don’t get paid in “smiles.”
I get paid in dollars, and this was going to be a $1 million fee.
With that kind of pay, I don’t need an “attaboy” and a pat-on-the-back every 2-minutes.
My pitch was good … I clearly described a major industry problem …
Then I showed how my company solves it, and how I deliver a big increase in PROFITS.
And the pitch was executed perfectly…
I demonstrated value, then showed we had traction of doing this over and over and over and over and over and over …
All of my story building toward the one slide I was most proud of — the climax of my presentation.
I clicked to my next slide to reveal a “hockey stick” graph (you know that chart that is always up-and-to-the-right).
I said, “We will increase your cash-flow by 3.5 MILLION,”
A big number, right? A good number.
Right? …sir? …hello ….you with me here?
Now I’d delivered that same slide dozens of times to plenty of other CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and executives.
While it hadn’t gotten any applause, nobody ever seemed broken up about it. Usually a few shrugs, and a few notes would be taken.
“Looks good to me,” they would say.
(Then we’d negotiate a price.)
But not this time.
This time the CEO laughed, and rolled his eyes.
He pushed his chair back with a kind of “this meeting is about to be over” body language.
His laugh was not a loud or obnoxious laugh.
More of a “you poor sap” laugh like the one you got when you told your highschool guidance counselor … “I want to be an astronaut.”
Couldn’t miss it.
The “eye-roll, chair push, and laugh” was enough to catch my attention, and stop my presentation.
I had to ask him what was so funny.
“You don’t see why this slide is a joke?” he said.
“No,” I answered. “This seems like the most important slide in my deck. It’s projecting the value I’m going to provide to your company.”
He pointed to my j-curve, or the “hockey-stick” chart I showed above.
“That… right there. That’s what’s funny,” he said.
He continued …
“What do you think it is we do here Oren? You think we invest in risky sh** all day long … j ust to see what might work out, and hoping we get lucky?”
I shrugged. “I figured you love to see high-reward opportunities.”
“Nah, you’ve got it all wrong,” he said while shaking his head and laughing some more.
“We don’t invest in high-potential opportunities… until we see the downside protection,” he said.
Whaaaaa, downside protection??
WHAT IS DOWNSIDE PROTECTION?
Downside protection occurs when the management of a company seeks to prevent losses while investing in new and uncertain opportunities. It is a common objective of management and investors to seek “protection” from large losses BEFORE considering new investments.
And here was the secret to unlocking new accounts.
It’s so important because most experienced companies know that Big Awesome Financial Successes are very hard to come buy. In other words, the hockey stick never does that up-and-to-the-right thing you promised it would.
My mistake was showing the hockey stick slide first.
Every CEO has seen a 1,000 of these.
In reality, they never work out.
When you show a “hockey stick” chart to a buyer, you force him to think …
1) I need your product/service to perform absolutely perfectly every day for the next three years; and,
2) I need my company to work perfectly with your company even though our people have never met or done a single thing together, ever.
3) What are the chances of that actually happening?
EXACTLY pretty low!, the CEO said to me, bringing his big palm down on the table with a WHACK. (I won this deal eventually, but it took another six months of running around.)
THE LESSON LEARNED
Always show the buyer a “downside protection” slide before showing your J-curve hockey-stick best-case scenario.
You can say something like, “This next slide is the “downside scenario.” Of course, it’s not what we’re aiming for, but it’s a realistic look how, if everything that can go wrong, does go wrong, we can still perform and meet a minimum level of success.”
You can ask permission to show the upside scenario (of course they will want to see it.)
You can say it like this, “Ok if I show you the upside case? I think you’re really going to like the big picture and what a big win looks like …”
Do it this way, exactly, and you’ll be the rare kind of dealmaker that executives love to work with.
I look forward to hearing how you’re succeeding (or failing) with your hockey stick slides and sales presentations!
Interested in ways to pitch your product, service and company in under 10 minutes?
Click this link to visit Amazon and order my new book, Flip the Script:
Here's the 1st PARAGRAPH:
THE BIG IDEA: I don’t like being pressured into making a purchase. And I’m not alone. The moment we feel pressured to buy, we pull away. And if we’re told what to do or what to think, our defenses go up. In other words, buyers don’t put much trust in you and your ideas. However, everyone trusts their own ideas. Accordingly, today, products are bought, not sold.
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