Jim Stone's blog on issues relating to creating professional presentations for the technology industry.


The Power Opening

Posted in [All], [Presentation Structure] By Jim Stone

So you have to give a presentation to a prospect.  You have built your presentation and I'll bet the first five slides look like this:

  •  Title
  • Agenda
  • Company background
  • Office Locations
  • Customer logos

Notice anything unusual?  It is all about you.  But don’t feel bad, most of your competitors do the same thing.  Is that what you want; to conform, or do you want to win the business?

You will start losing the audience’s attention at around ten minutes.  If you spend that precious time talking about your company and your products, you may lose them even faster.  What you need is a "Power Opening".

If you have a compelling offering, there should be some industry data that supports your position.  For example, let’s take loss prevention for the food service industry.  You have a product that identifies trends in employee theft based on point of sale data.  Try a start like this:

"According to the National Restaurant Association, employee theft amounts to about 4% of restaurant sales, or over $11 billion dollars annually.  Applying the NRA’s estimate against your revenue from last year, that is $81.7 million your business is losing to employee theft..

What I would like to share with you today is how we could work together to dramatically reduce your employee theft losses.  If by working together we could reduce your losses by 20%, which would be more than $16 million, is that something that would be interesting to you?”

So what happened there?  In less than thirty seconds you identified how you could add $16 million to their bottom line.  Do you think that would get their attention?  If your solution cost $1 million, that is still a killer ROI.

Let’s take that power opening apart.  First you set the scene using verifiable industry data: the average company is losing the equivalent of 4% of revenue in employee theft.  Then you illustrated the implications to them, an $81.7 million loss.  Then, you set out a plausible scenario of working together to create a $16 million improvement.

Finally, you sought their agreement that they were interested in working with you to find a solution to this $81.7 problem that you defined.  Seeking agreement early and often is something we will talk about in the future.

Is that better than the original five slide opening?  What's your Power Opening?     


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