The Death of the Sales Presentation & The Rise of the Sales Story

The essence of a sales pitch has evolved from a drawn-out PowerPoint presentation that tells a client what to implement and shifted to a conversation of collaboration.  Although this might seem like a more relaxed approach it is vital to still follow a framework to ensure you are achieving your goals in developing a persuasive story. A good framework will ensure you are developing your sales story to achieve sales goals at specific steps.

The development of a sales story specifically in the construction industry should be a collaborative effort between the marketing department as well as the sales team. A cooperative effort will ensure all boxes are ticked with reference to brand compliance, information is well balanced across products features and benefits as well as factual information on the product’s real-life application. 

Below is a suggested guideline that provides success nationally and internationally.

Only 13% of clients believe a salesperson understands their needs.

Ripping off the band-aid

Taking this statement and literally applying it to your sales story, immediately sets the stage for a credible relationship. You may be wondering how? It is quite simple, by ripping off the band-aid we are referring to opening your sales story by highlighting change is undeniable.  Change can be external relating to industry changes, economic times, technological advances, and global crises amongst others.

A practical example of change in the construction industry currently is the industry’s need to embrace digital and web-based applications and tools in conducting daily business, while this is happening there is a greater need for more organisations to make the change at a more rapid pace. Change can also be internal including a potential change in leadership or operating model, an addition of a new product category, and a need to train staff to get them up to date with the latest trends amongst others.

Now that you have identified a need for change, the real work begins you need to make a valid motivation to trigger a change with your client to ensure they are not left behind as the world evolves.  Being only step one, it is at this point you will need to sell a vision and capture the attention of your audience to ensure their engagement in the next 4 steps of your story.

The discussion of change is a sensitive topic that many organisations shy away from to avoid conflict, much to their own detriment. Using this as your opening demonstrates your current insight into your client’s world as identifying a need for change comes from an in-depth look into a subject.

It is Do or Die

In business, much like life in general there is no grey area it’s either black or white. Similarly, during the pitch of your sales story, it is important to constantly reiterate the only success you as an organisation is aiming for. It is during this stage that you place a concerted effort on identifying and emphasising your clients’ current state and why it is no longer working. Further to this, you will need to establish that simply meeting the status quo is the quickest route to failure.

This step in the story must be managed diplomatically to avoid bashing a client’s current efforts which will see clients become defensive and closed off to your suggestions. Do not end on a note of doom and gloom, now that you have shown the client what to walk away from you will need to lead them toward your solution.

Seize The Opportunity

At this step of your storytelling, it is quite safe to say the hard parts are covered, it is time to move on to the good stuff. The “seize the opportunity” phase is earmarked by accentuating and emphasising the exciting new possibilities that exist. While communicating these possibilities it is crucial to do more than just throw out solutions and ideas, you will need to frame and contextualise these possibilities to convey a story that leads to success.

In a world of seeing is believing, proposing your solution/s in the form of a success story that communicates a realistic return on investment will instantly captivate the attention of your potential client. As important as it is to tell a story, you need to remain rooted in the goal of selling a new story to your client.

Some of your focus points should include

  • Sharing the seen and unseen benefits available
  • Illustrate how this solution has proved itself by showcasing a case study that answers questions and addresses scepticism  
  • Appeal to their emotional side by playing on their desire to attain success
  • Trigger a level of confidence and competition by wrapping up on a high note of enticing your client to challenge the results that exist

After a presentation 63% of attendees remember stories. Only 5% remember statistics

Light will prevail at the end of the tunnel

Remaining with the known and familiar is a habit most industries find hard to break, with the construction industry being one. As an industry set in its way the idea of change or a new breakthrough approach often seems daunting and not totally viable. This step requires a showcase of the breakthrough approach by positioning it as a compelling case study of success. You will need to demonstrate to your client how doing something different and new can lead to greatness.

While the idea of this new path will excite clients, you need to be wary of overselling. Rather focus on:

  • You are the expert in implementing this solution, with a proven track record of success
  • Be transparent about the possible pitfalls and how you can overcome these
  • Continue to build credibility and rapport with the client by being straightforward about the realistic expectations of the proposed solution.

Your client is more likely to buy into your presentation if they start building a sense of trust in you.

Alas! Everything is going to be alright

With this being the last step in your persuasive sales story, this step is less about saying “This is the contract, please sign on the dotted line”, it is the stage of collaboration and conversation. Having gone through 4 intense steps filled with information and solutions, your client has a fair amount to process and will most certainly have several questions. Use this step to engage with your client to understand their concerns, address their questions and most importantly collaborate with them by taking into consideration their possible suggestions and how it can add value to the proposed solution.

The fundamental of this step is involving the client in the story makes it their story as well. This prompts a greater chance of investment and a level of ownership in ensuring the success of the solution you are proposing.

This framework will provide you with a strong foundation to start building a persuasive sales story. It is also important to bear in mind your sales presentation is strengthened by your ability to substantiate the solutions you can offer through case studies and tangible proof of your efforts.


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