The other day, a friend of mine wanted my advice on pricing the redesign of her client’s pitch deck, the initial presentation shown to a prospect to get hired. When I opened the presentation, my jaw literally dropped because it was an 11-page résumé in 16-point type sandwiched between a title slide and a closing slide. And the closing slide didn’t even have any contact information.
My friend’s client seems to believe something similar to the Field of Dreams maxim: “If you build it, they will come.” In his case it was “If I tell people how great my company is, they will hire us.” But this is a terrible approach.
When you focus entirely on your own qualifications, education, and achievements you’re not necessarily demonstrating your worth. Instead, you’re bombarding your audience with data about how great you are while ignoring issues they may be facing. The focus has to be on the audience and address the big question that’s on everyone’s mind: “What’s in it for me?”
In marketing we speak of “client pains” — problems the client has — and how to solve them. The best marketing addresses these pains directly (“Are you tired of paying too much for cable?” “Been in an accident?” “You could save over $475 on car insurance!”). It can be even more effective if you’re able to reveal pains the client didn’t know he had which could cause problems later on. By providing solutions to these pains, the savvy marketer positions himself as the only logical choice for the client. Addressing and solving client pains is client-centric, not egocentric, which is what great marketing should be. What’s in it for me? You could save money, increase efficiency, live longer, be happier, lower your risk, etc. etc. etc.
To be fair, the client approached my friend because he recognized that his deck was unattractive. And as everybody knows, admitting you have a problem is the first step to overcoming it. But redesigning this deck would’ve been like putting lipstick on a pig because it was entirely presenter-focused.
What can help for this type of presentation when you’re trying to get someone to hire you based on your credentials?
- Client testimonials: Ask satisfied clients to described how you helped them to save money, finish a task in record time, avoid red tape, etc. Would they rehire you? If so, quote them on it!
- Highlight benefits of certifications: If you’re certified or trained in a particular specialty, how does that save your client money? Ensure the success of the project? Prevent rework?
- Photos of completed projects: A picture speaks a thousand words.
- Success stories: You don’t need full-blown case studies, just some anecdotes about how you helped your clients to solve their problems.
- Relevant companies you’ve worked with: Focus on companies you’ve worked with that are similar to your audience’s.
Remember, the presentation is always about the audience, not about the presenter. Always focusing on the “What’s in it for me?” question will help you stay on track to create presentations that really mean something to your audience.
Have you ever been to an egocentric presentation? What was it like? Have you ever delivered one?