29 Jun Putting brand into sales
But when you’re pitching for that dream account, do you get the same level of expertise behind you that your website enjoys? A brand strategy helps a company or product to form a strong association with an audience – it makes sense to apply these principles when pitching for that dream account.
Sherpa CEO Gary Hendrickse offers 3 tips to help you deliver a winning pitch by applying brand strategy principles.
When you leave the room, the audience needs to clearly understand:
- who you are (brand)
- what you sell (category)
- who buys your services (target, although you would have hopefully targeted correctly), and
- why your audience buys from you (benefits).
This construction is essentially a brand positioning statement. It can be covered in 1 minute – just one slide in your presentation to set the scene.
“…I’m from Sherpa (brand) … we’re a brand, design and communications company (category) … mostly for mid-sized businesses and small corporates (audience) … we make brand strategy practical for our clients … this significantly improves their competitiveness, improves margins and enhances equity (benefits)…”
Crystal clear clarity.
From there, we’d go on to describe the most important features of our business that give rise to these benefits (see 2. Features and impact of words).
2. FEATURES AND THE IMPACT OF WORDS
Think very carefully about the 3 or 4 most important features that you are selling and understand that in any association, emotion (the intangible reason for buying) is vital. Brands are built on emotion.
Too often, I’ve seen features such as integrity and service excellence presented as unique features. Firstly, you’re expected to have integrity. It is something earned, not told. And if service is indeed a strong feature of your business, rather present the evidence and the audience will make their own assumptions. For example: We have won the Golden Award for being the most responsive shipping agency in Africa and the East for 3 years in a row.
While you might be in a B2B environment, the audience happens to be human even if they’re an engineer, lawyer or accountant. People say to me: “Ah yes, but we’re presenting to an engineer…”. Brands don’t appeal to engineers? So apart from the intrinsic features of your product, think about what really matters to them. For example, a late delivery has reputational and financial risk for both the buyer (e.g. loss of promotion or bonus or job) and company. As an example, if delivery is a proven feature of your business, then it must be a feature presented confidently, provided it has the ability to differentiate you.
Let’s test this. If you’re a buyer and you hear “We are renowned for delivering on time, every time” how does this make you feel? I would suggest: Confident, comfortable, responsible, in control etc. Powerful.
To expand on getting the features right and understanding the impact of words, if I say that 2 features of a motor vehicle that I’m presenting are high performance and outstanding technology,how does that make the prospect feel? In this case, spontaneous associations could be: sophisticated, sporty and aggressive, all powerful emotions which the audience will experience in milliseconds.
In summary, focus on finding features in your business which resonate with your audience and differentiate. Invest time in describing it well.
3. SETTING OBJECTIVES
Brands all have objectives and to check that your sales presentation really matters, you could set objectives.
Keep it simple and based on what would you like the audience to talk about when you leave the room? Or, what would you like the buyer to tell his or her boss?
“…they have a really good delivery record…”
“…the product is a little more expensive than others, but…”
“…the product is good … but they understand what’s important to us…”
The purpose of your presentation pitch is, yes, to sell but it is also to create a conversation in the business that positions you distinctly, differentiates you and creates a conversation long after you have left the room (which ultimately leads to a sale).
Apply brand strategy thinking will take your presentation pitches to another level – try it out.
If you would like to take your presentations to another level, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.