Your presentations are costing you money

About two years ago client of mine (a sales director) said to me: ‘I hate to think of how much work we’ve lost because of bad presentations!’
I asked ‘Well, do you know how much? Have you kept track?’
The answer was no. Although he could create a sales report on ‘lost opportunities’, his team hadn’t specifically focused on how many sales opportunities had fallen at the presentation stage.
This affected me, and I asked some other prospective clients whether they would keep track of engagements where they’d got to the presentation stage but no further.
The first response (which was typical of the others) was ‘£46,000 over 6 months’. This company has a turnover of just over £2 million. It’s a huge amount of money.
If you discovered in your business that you were losing £98,000 a year to – for example – theft, you’d do something about it immediately.
If a regulator fined you £98,000 a year for behaving a certain way, you’d change the behaviour. And yet, so many businesses seem to treat presenting as a luxury skill. It’s not – it’s business-critical.
It gets more interesting. That £98,000 annually was direct sales for one-off projects with new clients. What about all the continued spin-off work that’s being lost? What about the future referrals and opportunities that will always be missed because of failing to nail one presentation?
And, although I haven’t measured this – what about the effect of poor presenting on existing clients? One of the most common complaints that clients have is that their suppliers lose interest in them once they’ve won the engagement.
A big reason for this is poor presenting ability. Many businesses are delivering updates, project reports and descriptions of processes and systems to clients. But they’re forgetting that these moments are golden opportunities to build credibility and deepen the relationship.
Poor presenting – from anyone on your team – makes you more vulnerable to your competition.
This might sound like a sales pitch for my services. It’s really not – it’s a sales pitch for you to take presenting more seriously.
Presenting is as important as your brochures and website. It’s one of the best ways to build trust and become competitor-proof. It’s also not that difficult – you just have to decide that it’s important.
So here’s a challenge for you – can you conduct a ‘Presentation Audit’ over the next six months? Can you quantify how much business you’re losing because of poor presentations? Can you identify where you’re failing to build a competitor-proof relationship with existing clients because your team are just ‘going through the motions’ when they present?
I’ve done it in my own business, and with several clients, and it’s been transformational. Try it, and let me know how you get on.

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