The real reason why you should ditch slides in your first customer meeting
Let’s be honest. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a somewhat magic PowerPoint deck template from marketing or sales enablement where you just had to insert the customer’s name and logo and you could take it to your first meeting and present your amazing solution and tell your prospect how great your company is and then the customer would sign the order?
I have never come across a value proposition slide deck template that would not require a total re-write to make it customer specific. But why spend so much time on crafting a slide deck to tell the customer something?
The first meeting isn’t about you it’s about the customer!
The real reason for not using PowerPoint in your first meeting with a customer is that its use confirms the seller deficit disorder and this puts you into a weak position.
What is the seller deficit disorder?
Buyers have a few preconceptions about sellers. Here are the main ones:
The first one is that buyers believe that the seller does not understand their business and the second one is that sellers do not listen.
If you are interested to learn more about this you can, for example, have a look here:
Replace the PowerPoint slides with a well prepared verbal introduction followed by discovery. I mean honest and detailed discovery. Not asking a few generic questions, listen for a keyword and then present a solution quickly.
Your first meeting needs to be all about building rapport, discovery and understanding the customers pain and needs. It’s about a consultative approach using well crafted discovery questions and being situationally fluent.
Using a prepared PowerPoint deck in your first meeting is risky. You have not yet listened and do not fully understand their pain. Even if you researched the customer and believe you understand the pain, your knowledge is going to be superficial and it may not represent how your customer perceives the situation.
I am not saying do not prepare the meeting. But instead of spending time creating beautiful slides spend time on real preparation. In fact, you should do all the research that you can and try to understand the customer’s business challenges, strategy and industry. You should also look out for personal goals and think about how you can help.
Do the research and have a discovery conversation. This shows that your are interested in the person and their business. It addresses your buyers biggest concerns, the seller deficit disorder, and proofs that you listen and aim to understand their business challenges.