OMG! I was watching a PowerPoint sent to me by a client about their new service – and… OUCH!
It triggered a major flashback…
Over 15 years ago I witnessed probably the WORST ever PowerPoint pitch put together by a sales rep (and I do mean EVER!!!)- the client was there, and was not impressed – I was there in a copywriting role, and I wasn’t either. The Sales Manager had joined the meeting before the PowerPoint had started and was shaking their head – and before the end of the meeting, the Sales Manager actually asked the client to come back in half an hour and gave them a voucher for a coffee and cake at the local café, while they had a ‘word’ with the rep.
Wow – you would have thought that the world was about to end – the sales rep wanted to know what was wrong – and I wanted to scream out “EVERYTHING!”
But the Sales Manager sat them down and explained by pointing out that the PowerPoint was not in any way shape or form representative of the company, or of them – they would need to redo the PowerPoint and maybe, if they could convince the client – present it again to them.
Power-Point presentations are meant to impress, not sell – inform not educate and most importantly, conform to 7 very basic rules. They are as follows:
- Centre Spacing – Use it ONLY on headlines and sub-headings – NEVER on on the body of your text because it makes it too difficult to read. Keep your body text formatted to the left for easy reading.
- Coloured Text – Trust me – you have enough colour on your station logos – don’t use multiple colours in your presentation – multiple colours look like they were done by a child discovering the colour palette for the first time – AND – are more difficult to read.
- Simplify Your Fonts – Pick one easy to read font – and everything should flow from that (for example our station font is Century Gothic and it must be used on everything) Some people prefer Arial, never, ever use Times New Roman or Comic Sans.
- Edit Your Text DOWN – just like a commercial script – your text should be sparing and not word for word what you are saying. Use bullet points, short sentences and simplify, simplify, simplify.
- Stay Focused On The Client – you are trying to convince them, stay focused on them and what they want and need – by providing facts that every client wants to know about your station is okay, but tailor it to them (remember WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?).
- Word Art & Animations – NEVER use it – it is not the 1990’s any more and believe me when I say that the PowerPoint word art sucks – just don’t use it. The same goes for animations to bring text on and off the screen – don’t waste the time of the decision maker that you are talking to – it’s not worth their time or yours to include it.
- Cheesy Clip Art or Cartoons – Photos yes, but clip art, illustrations and cartoons – no, No, NO! But only use 1 photo per page along with your station logo and the logo of the client so that the look stays professional – not look childish.
So when the client came back – the Sales Manager apologised – and booked another time with them to present it again – the client was happy to do so – and wanted to see what was going to happen – the next time… the sale was made – all because the PowerPoint was better.