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Sales presentation skills: How much is your pitch actually worth?

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May 13, 2014

by Andy Saks

Here’s a crucial question for salespeople everywhere: what’s the potential dollar value of your next sales presentation?

In other words, how much actual income could your next sales pitch generate in immediate sales, long-term sales, and referrals?

You’d think the average salesperson would consider this question first when preparing a sales presentation. After all, knowing how much you’ll generate in income for your company (and commissions for yourself) is based on knowing how many sales your presentation will create, and how big those sales will be.

——————————————————

I want you to look at your sales presentation audience

and recognize not just the quick sales they represent,

but the lifetime of business they could deliver as your loyal fans.

——————————————————

Yet in practice, this question is almost universally ignored. Most salespeople and presenters never attempt to quantify the income potential of a presentation.

When they do, they usually just multiply the number of people in the room by the price of the item for immediate sale. Selling a $10 widget to 100 people? Your income potential for that sales presentation is $1000.

Right?

Nope.

I have to admit, I find this astonishing given how salespeople focus on sales numbers. They carefully parse each day’s time and effort based on the estimated financial return of each lead. They calculate commission rates in their sleep. Why don’t they apply this same numeric urgency and precision to a sales presentation, which presents income potential orders of magnitude greater than a one-to-one pitch?

Perhaps the lack of clarity on this question explains why many salespeople approach group presentations with such trepidation. They never really see the vast dollar value of the opportunity, so they never embrace it like other sales avenues. As a result, they don’t prioritize it, prepare it well, or deliver it skillfully. And they don’t reap the benefits.

Time to change that.

Let’s start by throwing away that misleading $1000 calculation, and count your audience a little differently.

In your next sales presentation, I want you to look at each person in front of you and see all the people they know in their world outside the room.

I want you to look in the camera recording your presentation and see countless more people watching you across vast stretches of space and time.

And I want you to look at this immense collection of people and recognize not just the quick sales they represent, but the lifetime of business they could deliver as your loyal fans.

How would you ever wrestle all that into a calculation?

To get a decent working estimate, put your abacus away and just answer three key questions:

1. How many total viewers will see your presentation?

2. How many of them will become either casual or loyal fans?

3. What is the average lifetime value to you of a casual or loyal fan?

How do we answer these questions? Like any self-respecting sports enterprise, we’ll create a tailored chart to track your numbers and see the full picture. Welcome to the Fan Conversion Scoreboard.

Sales presentation skills Fan Conversion Scoreboard

The Scoreboard is available as a downloadable Excel file with pre-set formulas with purchase of The Presentation Playbook.

 

Let’s walk through each of these questions and fill in your Scoreboard as we go. Ready?

 

HOW MANY VIEWERS?
COUNTING YOUR THREE AUDIENCES

In the olden days before electronic communications, counting your total audience meant counting the butts in the seats.

Today your potential viewership has exploded and fragmented into a dizzying array of viewing sources, tools, formats, pipelines, and time frames.

Websites, social media, wireless streaming, mobile devices, and video uploading play into the mix in different combinations. Together, they can vastly increase the number of people who view your presentation, the media through which it’s available, the pipeline through which you send it, the time frames in which they watch it, and the tools they use to access it.

For every audience member who watches your presentation from a seat in the third row, another might stream it live via Wi-Fi to their smartphone on a plane in mid-flight, while another downloads it a year later through a cable connection to their living room TV.

The implication is plain: if you’re disseminating your presentation electronically in any way, counting the heads in the room is only the first step in estimating your true potential audience size.

For sanity’s sake, let’s estimate your total viewership by breaking it into three distinct audience types and linking each to its sports equivalent:

1. Are you speaking to a live in-person audience?

If so, you’re reaching your first audience type:  Ticket Holders.

Like fans attending a game, these are the folks who join you in person at the actual venue where you’re speaking.

2. Is your presentation accessible live and electronically?

If so, you’re accessing your second audience type: Couch Potatoes.

Watching live on TV, listening live on the radio, or enjoying a live stream online, these folks are outside the venue, absorbing your presentation from a distance as it happens.

3. Are you making it available for viewing after you deliver it?

If so, you’re connecting with your third audience: Time Shifters.

This group can include those who knew about you beforehand but couldn’t catch you live, and those who discovered you at some point after you spoke through blind searching or personal referral. They’re most likely to stream a video of your presentation that you’ve posted to a company website or video sharing site like YouTube.

Freed from the constraints of the live format, these folks may manipulate the experience of watching you any number of ways, skipping some segments, replaying others, pausing and resuming as often as they like.

Tally up those numbers. Congratulations! You’ve estimated your total viewership, and we’re off and running.

It’s time to answer your second question, “How many of the viewers who watched your presentation will become your casual and loyal fans?”

 

HOW MANY FANS?
CONSIDERING YOUR CONVERSION RATES

How many of your total viewers will actually become fans and buy what you’re selling today, tomorrow, and way down the road? Time to separate the buyers from the other bodies. Our first challenge is splitting your fans into two categories: casual fans and loyal fans.

As you’ll recall, loyal fans are the folks who believe in you deeply, behave respectfully, and buy repeatedly for many years with little or no hassle.

All things being equal, Ticket Holders attending your presentation live in person are usually the easiest to convert to loyal fans because they’re fully immersed in your presentation experience. The farther away they are physically (Couch Potatoes) and the longer the lag time between your pitch and their viewing (Time Shifters) the less likely it is they’ll adopt loyal fan status.

Like their sports counterparts, casual fans enjoy a more distant, relaxed relationship with you, tuning in and out as it suits them. They will consider buying from you when they need you, but don’t follow you with the same devotion as their loyal counterparts.

With that in mind, let’s put up some numbers:

LOYAL FANS. In the “Loyal Fans Created” column, consider the percentage of your Ticket Holders, Couch Potatoes, or Time Shifters you think you can convert to loyal fans. Then convert that percentage to a head count. (For example, an audience of a hundred with a 50-percent conversion rate would yield fifty loyal fans.) Write the result in the corresponding field.

CASUAL FANS. In the “Casual Fans Created” column, consider the percentage of your Ticket Holders, Couch Potatoes, or Time Shifters you think you can convert to casual fans. Again, convert that percentage to a head count, and write the result in the corresponding field.

Now add up each column, and place the total in the bottom row of each column.

Congratulations! Now you know how many casual and loyal fans you can expect your presentation to generate. Are these numbers bigger than you expected, about the same, or smaller?

While you chew on that, let’s answer your third question, “What’s the average lifetime value of a casual fan and a loyal fan?” When you know this, you can easily calculate the true lifetime income value of your presentation.

 

WHAT ARE THEY WORTH?
CALCULATING THEIR VALUE

To ascertain the true value of each casual and loyal fan, you need to calculate an estimate of how much each casual and loyal fan will actually spend over the life of his or her relationship with you.

That number depends on how many products and services you offer, how you bundle and price them, how long you consider a customer’s lifespan to be, among other factors.

Try to create a ballpark estimate by filling in a few numbers here:

 

LOYAL FANS:

=____ Purchases per sales cycle
x ____ Average income per purchase
= ____ Total income per sales cycle
x ____ Total number of sales cycles in life of relationship

= ____ TOTAL INCOME POTENTIAL OF EACH LOYAL FAN

 

CASUAL FANS:

=____ Purchases per sales cycle
x ____ Average income per purchase
= ____ Total income per sales cycle
x ____ Total number of sales cycles in life of relationship

= ____ TOTAL INCOME POTENTIAL OF EACH CASUAL FAN

 

Now we’re ready to fill in the “Loyal Fans Value” and “Casual Fans Value” columns on your scoreboard.

Just multiply the number of loyal or casual fans created times the total income potential of each loyal or casual fan, and place your answer in the appropriate field.

Score! You’ve answered all three questions. I can’t even see the numbers you used, and I’m still impressed!

Every column except the “Total Fan Value” column on the right should now be completed. Now you’re ready to fill in that column, too.

Just add together each row of “Loyal Fans Value” and “Casual Fans Value” fields, and place the result in the corresponding “Total Fan Value” field. Then add up the three numbers in the “Total Fan Value” column, and place your answer in the bottom right corner:

Sales presentation skills Fan Conversion Scoreboard (complete)

Don’t you feel a whole lot better with all these fields filled in? Click the pic for a bigger version.

 

Did you get a final estimate?

After all that math, it can help to write it out clearly and plainly. So fill in the blanks:

 

“My single presentation will reach a total audience of _________ viewers over ________ days/weeks/months/years.

It will generate ____________ causal fans, worth $___________ each and _____________ loyal fans, worth $___________ each over ________ days/weeks/months/years.

The true total income potential for my presentation is $______________.”

 

With your results in writing, you can fully appreciate the true value of one single presentation to generate sales near and far, today and years down the line.

Moreover, this estimate doesn’t factor in referrals by loyal fans, casual fans and even non-fans, or the possibility of a new partnership, job offer, or other unexpected opportunity that suddenly beckons when you speak.

Now take a moment and reconsider the value of every single person in every audience you reach.

Before we walked through this estimation process, you might have won or lost a stray audience member here or there and dismissed it as trivial. But now that you know the potential dollar value of every single audience member in every forum at any time, I hope you appreciate more deeply the worth of every butt in every seat.

Try envisioning one of them now (the audience member, not the butt).

Now imagine the dollar value you’ve assigned to each loyal fan written in bold marker on that audience member’s forehead.

That’s the amount you gain for each person you convert to loyal fandom and the amount you lose for each person you don’t convert.

Every single person in your audience matters.

Those are your true stakes for your next sales presentation.

 

Presentation Playbook Volume 1

This blog post was adapted from Chapter 1 of The Presentation Playbook Series, Volume 1: Analyzing Your Scouting Reports, written by Spark owner Andy Saks.

The Presentation Playbook Series is a set of three books that help businesspeople master common presentation situations by building and running speaking “plays” like a coach or player calls a key play in a game.

Volume 1 is available now in print and PDF formats on Spark’s website and at these online retailers and formats: Amazon printAmazon KindleApple iBooks and Barnes & Noble print and Nook.

To post this blog on your site, please email Andy or call 781-454-7600.

 

 

ABOUT SPARK PRESENTATIONS

Andy Saks, Spark Presentations

Spark owner, author and speaker Andy Saks

Spark Presentations is a private company founded in 1998 that provides presentation skills training and speech coaching for executives, salespeople, marketers and other businesspeople, plus booth staff training for trade show exhibitors.

Spark also books professional presenters and public speakers to represent its clients at high-profile events, in roles like keynote speaker, trade show booth presenter, master of ceremonies (emcee) and auctioneer, as well as on camera talent and voice talent.

Spark’s client list includes large corporations like AT&T, Best Buy, Covidien, FedEx, Hyundai, Intel, Kimberly-Clark, Owens-Corning, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Volvo; high-tech industry players like AMD, Atrion, Citrix, Gigamon, and Symantec; service organizations like Vistage, 1nService and NERCOMP; and New England institutions like Community Rowing and the Boston Jewish Film Festival.

 

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