Top 3 Problems of Sales Presentations

Author: John Honovich, Published on Nov 18, 2008

Sales presentations are critical yet are routinely ineffecitve. While an appropriate sales presentation can quickly and effectively convince a potential partner to do business, many sales presentations are wasteful. This report examines the top 3 problems I see in sales presentations and how to resolve them.

The problems:

  1. Show up and Throw Up
  2. Pitch Generalities
  3. Steamroll Objections

Show Up and Throw Up

The most unproductive way to start a meeting is to just start talking and delivering a standard pitch. If you are giving a presentation to a specific group or small number of people, it is critical to understand their issues. A generic presentation will waste people's time and, worse, generally fails to address the few issues that make or break the deal.

I always want to know:

  • How familar is the audience with the video surveillance? If they have never heard of it, that's one presentation. If they go to ISC West, that's another.
  • Has the audience attended a presentation from a competitor? Who? What did they think? Figure out what their concerns or interests were from that and adjust the presentation.
  • What type of system do they have currently? Who is the vendor? If their current system is incompatible with mine, I have to address (or perhaps DQ the opportunity).
  • What are the main security concerns? Are they dealing with insider threats? What type of crimes occur? Where do they most likely occur?

Not only do people feel better when you actively take an interest in their business, this gives you a far high ability to qualify and to persuade based on their actual experience. There's a whole cottage of books on this topic - questioned based selling.

Solution to showing up and throwing up - Spend the first 10 minutes asking questions (or if possible do a phone call ahead of time and ask these questions). Then tailor, your presentation or deck to those key issues that are most important to the audience.

Pitch Generalities

I am amazed at how frequently companies pitch their category rather than their product. For example, let's say you sell video analytics. Unless your audience has never heard of video analytics, it does not make much sense to talk about operators zoning out after 20 minutes of live video and how video analytics alerts you to threats without having to watch video, etc. This establishes no differentiation and wastes your audience's time. However you see this pattern in every segment. Sales people spend their time talking about abilities that all of their competitors support. This is what creates confusion and encourages users to think all products are the same.

Solution to pitching generalities - Focus on your specific differentiators, citing functionalities and capabilities that your competitors do not.  An example of this is how I define unique capabilities in my About page. By clearly and concisely identifying what's really unique and differentiating, the audience will be much more likely to remember and understand why they should choose you.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Problem 1: Most companies lack differentiators: A real problem with my recommendation is that there are dozens of companies in each segment. Inevitably, most companies have no meaningful differentiator. Their key difference is they have a sales call with you and the other vendors do not.  If you have no differentiators, then pitch generalities and buy dinner.

Problem 2: Most companies are poor at understanding their differentiators: I am surprised how frequently this happens but even really good companies tend to bury their key differentiators from the dozen of functionalies that everyone has.

Steamroll Objections

Most people receiving a presentation are reluctant to strongly object to what a speaker is saying. People generally do not want to be confrontational. Also, they generally lack expertise in the presenter's field so they are reluctant to challenge.

Ironically, most presenters are insensitive to the potential objections or concerns of a customer. With optimism for their offering and confidence in themselves, they tend not to hone in on potential concerns. It's almost comical how often presenters fail to realize that the audience was simply being polite and not strongly interested nor convinced.

This creates an inefficient and unproductive scenario where objections are brushed aside.

The reality is video surveillance is a long sales cycle. The concerns of most prospects do not go away. If anything, they tend to increase in time as the prospect gains more information and brings in other parties to review the system/product.

The solution to steamrolling objections - You need to uncover and handle objections as quickly as possible. If it's not a good fit, pass. If you can handle the objection, flush it out and explain to the prospect.

Disagree? Other problems that you see are important?

Related Reports

Milesight Company Profile on Jan 22, 2019
Milesight Technology, a Chinese company building an International branded business, says they are slowly building their presence through a series...
Intersec 2019 Show Report on Jan 22, 2019
There’s a massive presence from Chinese or China-focused video surveillance firms, chiefly Hikvision, Dahua, Huawei, and Infinova, at...
Milestone Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 21, 2019
Milestone's favorability moderately strengthed, in new IPVM integrator statistics over their results from 2016. While the industry has been...
Mobile Surveillance Trailers Guide on Jan 17, 2019
Putting cameras in a place for temporary surveillance where power and communications are not readily available can be complicated and expensive....
Avigilon Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 15, 2019
Since IPVM's 2017 Avigilon favorability results, the company was acquired by Motorola and has shifted from being an aggressive startup to a more...
Gorilla Technology AI Provider, Raises $15 Million, Profiled on Jan 15, 2019
Gorilla Technology is a Taiwanese video analytics manufacturer that recently announced a $15 million investment from SBI Group, saying this...
Arecont Costar Layoffs on Jan 14, 2019
Arecont Vision, a Costar Company, has laid off more than 10% of their workforce in a move the company described to IPVM as a result of "important...
Managed Video Services UL 827B Examined on Jan 09, 2019
Historically, UL listings for central stations have been important, with UL 827 having widespread support. However, few central stations have...
IPVM Best New Products 2019 Opened - 70+ Entrants on Jan 07, 2019
The inaugural IPVM Best New Product Awards has been opened - the industry's first and only program where the awards are not pay-to-play and the...
CyberExtruder Face Recognition Profile on Jan 04, 2019
CyberExtruder offers 3D modeling face recognition software that they say provides quicker and more accurate matches than other 2D face recognition...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Testing Bandwidth vs. Frame Rate on Jan 23, 2019
Selecting frame rate has a major impact on surveillance bandwidth and storage consumption. But with smart codecs now common and cameras more...
Camera Course January 2019 on Jan 23, 2019
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training exists...
Bosch Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 23, 2019
Bosch's favorability moderately strengthed, in new IPVM integrator statistics over their results from 2017, with 2019 results showing strong net...
Intersec 2019 Show Report on Jan 23, 2019
The 2019 Intersec show, held annually in Dubai, is now complete. IPVM attended for 3 days, interviewing numerous Chinese and Western video...
2019 Camera Book Released on Jan 22, 2019
This is the best, most comprehensive security camera training in the world, based on our unprecedented testing. Now, all IPVM PRO Members can get...
Milesight Company Profile on Jan 22, 2019
Milesight Technology, a Chinese company building an International branded business, says they are slowly building their presence through a series...
Cable Trenching for Surveillance on Jan 21, 2019
Trenching cable for surveillance is surprisingly complex. While using shovels, picks, and hoes is not advanced technology, the proper planning,...
Milestone Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 21, 2019
Milestone's favorability moderately strengthed, in new IPVM integrator statistics over their results from 2016. While the industry has been...
The IP Camera Lock-In Trend: Meraki and Verkada on Jan 18, 2019
Open systems and interoperability have become core features of video surveillance systems, as virtually all professional IP cameras integrate with...
NYPD Refutes False SCMP Hikvision Story on Jan 18, 2019
The NYPD has refuted the SCMP Hikvision story, the Voice of America has reported. On January 11, 2018, the SCMP alleged that the NYPD was using...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact