“I say ‘Yes’ a lot”. This was the Executive Editor of The New York Times,…
This week I’m in Bath helping my sister with some DIY. As I live in Derby the easy way to get there is by train and bus. So now I’m on my way back on the bus from Bath to Bristol to the train station. As we get nearer to Bristol I realise that the people getting on the bus don’t care where the bus has come from, they only care about where it’s going. That might sound obvious to you but I’m interested in where things have come from; I am interested in the past. Maybe it’s my age, or maybe my temperament, but there it is.
And if it’s true of people on buses, that they don’t care where it’s come from, it’s equally true of audiences listening to presentations, particularly sales presentations or pitches. Your audience doesn’t care about where you’ve come from, they only care about where you’re going, or more accurately, where they’re going.
How often are we tempted to start with 15 minutes (or longer!) telling our audience how great our company is, where we’re based, how big we are and what we’ve done for others. And, mostly, they don’t care. Not at that point. They may be interested later, but only after they know that you can solve their problem.
When we work with bid presentation teams we show them how to use a process we’ve called VISTA. It starts with Vision – their Vision – where do they want to be, and why is that important to them? Then comes I for the Issues or problems that they’ll face in reaching their Vision. Then comes your Solution; how are you proposing to solve the problem? Then there are the Tangible Benefits of implementing your Solution. Finally what Action will be needed to make it all work.
All you need then is to prepare a 1-minute opening which includes about 20 seconds of your credibility, and also work out how to handle the questions you’ll get, and you’re away!
Not quite as simple as that, I’ll admit, (it’s not as easy as just getting on a bus!), but it is a good process; psychologically it works. We’ve proven it many times. In fact, with one major systems integrator we helped them win over £1bn of business in 3 years.
If you’d like some thoughts about how to structure a pitch you’ve got coming up, or you’d just like to refresh your ‘standard’ presentation, then let’s have a chat. Email me or give me a call on +44 7889 167 486.