LUCID: Charms Customer with a simple, clear and easy to understand pitch
LUCID: Charms Customer with a simple, clear and easy to understand pitch
Latika switched off the laser pointer and pulled out the power cord from the laptop before closing it.
The spacious conference room of Wellsoon Medical Technologies had just 2 occupants – Latika and her Head of Sales. Latika liked to rehearse her Customer presentations specially when it involved large proposals. This time the proposal was big enough for her to request Harish, her Head of Sales to review
Turning to Harish, she smiled “Well. That’s the presentation I am going to make to Hippocrates Life Sciences ( HLS). It is a 10 million deal for our molecular imagers, flow cytometers, gamma counters, DNA synthesizers and other lab equipment. Now, if you were their CEO would you give me the deal?”
Harish drummed his fingers on the conference table. “If you want a candid answer, I will tell you I’m not sure”
“You feel the presentation wasn’t good enough?”
“It’s not that Latika. It was technically brilliant. I would give you a Straight A on content. But I think you must make it a little more lucid. By the way who will be your audience in HLS?”
“That’s going to be diverse group Harish. Apart from their procurement and R&D, their Finance and Operations will also be in attendance”
“Which is why Latika, you need to be mindful about the jargon you’ve used. It’s a well researched pitch. You have covered a lot of ground on what HLS has accomplished so far and how this capex will make them leaders in testing and diagnostics. But you must calibrate the content to suit the last person in the audience, Their R&D will surely love the depth of your research but all that medical science stuff may be overhead transmission for their Finance and Ops. You have to impress them too, let’s not forget”
“Thanks Harish. I will rework the presentation and simplify it”
“On the plus side, Latika your communication skills are good. Considering that this may have to be done virtually, I’m impressed with your crackling enthusiasm, your voice modulation, the use of pause and the minimalist visual-rich design of your slides. Being lucid and developing a simple, clear and easy to understand pitch-style, however, is a life time’s effort. I too keep trying to get better every time I meet clients. Lucidity looks deceptively effortless when the sales masters weave their charm, but it takes years of unremitting efforts”
“Those were super helpful pointers Harish”
“This is a deal we need to win at any cost” said Harish “So call me in again when you are ready with v2, v10 , whatever. Always happy to be your audience ”
Why creating a lucid sales pitch is a complex effort
A wealth of information and a poverty of attention. That describes today’s workplace. Time starved executive teams, making complex purchase decisions with colossal budgets (as with HLS in our story) look for crisp, sharp, lucid and relevant sales presentations. But attaining high standards of clarity and simplicity takes humongous efforts.
To be able to create lucid sales presentations you should have knowledge, empathy, and listening and communication skills. Clarity of thought and economy of words make the sales pitch lucid and simple.
Sales Resilience is built on lucid sales communication
In a world of dwindling attention spans, intrinsic value alone isn’t guaranteed to sell ideas or proposals. The clarity, confidence and lucidity with which they are presented makes a big difference. Decision makers are influenced not only by facts but also by the way they are presented to them.
This is particularly true of new customers where you don’t have a bank of familiarity, confidence and positive bias you can count on. To make lucid presentations to new Customers, a few important things to check for, include - | Jargon free content | Messaging to match level of understanding | Customer preferences on timing and duration | Stories and examples to illustrate key points |Customer view of the situation.
A best practice to use, would be a self assessment questionnaire on 10 Rules for an Effective Customer Pitch (Anchor practice) Resilient sales professionals are conscious that you are what and how you present. So they use lucidity as their secret charm to influence Customers towards favourable outcomes.
Possible solution for the story situation – Latika would be well advised to use the Self Assessment Questionnaire on 10 Rules for an Effective Customer Pitch (Anchor practice below) to check all her high value proposal presentations
Anchor Practice: Self Assessment Questionnaire on 10 Rules for an Effective Customer Pitch
(1) Is my technical vocabulary free of jargon?
(2) Am I able to calibrate my message in line with Customer’s ability to understand?
(3) Do I always modulate my messages to suit Customer preferences on timing and duration?
(4) Do I have and use concrete examples to make my points?
(5) Do I make smart use of visual media? – This could a slide deck (less text and more pictures) or a video or graphic
(6) Are my presentation skills good?
(7) Do I come across as an authority in my area of expertise?
(8) Am I able to influence how the Customer views a situation?
(9) Do I demonstrate involvement with enthusiasm?
(10) Am I being open to foster a positive climate?
Bonus Tips for Virtual Sales Activity: When you present proposals virtually, you can enhance lucidity with these hot tips
(1) Plan several stops to check if the entire group is with you
(2) Virtual meetings fatigue people early sapping attention spans. So encourage conversation with requests for opinions and views at planned stops
(3) Use polls prior to meeting, wherever possible especially if the group is large. This will help understand individual stakeholder needs better and improve your lucidity
(4) Share physical or virtual pre-read, wherever appropriate to support the key ideas in your proposal
Pause to reflect: "To be able to create lucid sales presentations you should have knowledge, empathy, and listening and communication skills. Clarity of thought and economy of words make the sales pitch lucid and simple".
Action Question: What are three new ways in which I can become more lucid in my upcoming sales presentations?
Related Readings: Mercuri Insight Document on Creating Conditions for Future Sales Vs Selling Now
Takeaway Quote: “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind” - Zhuangzi
About the series: This is the 85th in a series of 100 Posts that seek to build your Sales Resilience ... as an individual salesperson, as a sales team, and as a sales organization. Because a Resilient India needs Resilient Sales.
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