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

Anixter CEO Admits Price Deflation and Non-Exclusive Integrator Sales on Apr 26, 2017
Anixter's CEO has admitted to (1) price deflation impacting IP camera sales and (2) not always being 'exclusive' with security integrators. In...
Axis Posts Strong Q1 2017 Financial Results on Apr 24, 2017
Axis posted strong numbers for Q1 2017, after having some challenges in 2016 (Q1 2016, Q3 2016). Inventory levels and overall spending show...
PureTech Video Analytics Examined on Apr 21, 2017
PureTech's analytics were chosen for a US border protection system (see related post), which the company claims no other analytics vendor was able...
US Border RVSS / Video Analytics System Examined on Apr 21, 2017
US Customs and Border Protection has been rolling out a video analytics-based detection system along the US/Mexico border, with detection ranges...
Dell EMC Surveillance Division Profile on Apr 20, 2017
With revenue growth from traditional IT customers slowing, Dell has set a focus on the security industry as a market where the company can offer...
Top Selling Video Surveillance Distributors on Apr 17, 2017
These are the top selling video surveillance distributors in North America, as reported by 150 integrator survey respondents. In this report, we...
Hide or Show Models on Quotes - Integrator Statistics on Apr 13, 2017
Customers like to know what they are buying, but they might use an integrator's detailed quote to shop the system designed. This is a challenge...
Hikvision Major OEM LTS Now Distributing Hikvision on Apr 12, 2017
In a rare move, one of Hikvision's top North American OEMs, LTS, has become a Hikvision distributor, as demonstrated in LTS' ISC West booth: In...
Best and Worst - ISC West 2017 Show Report on Apr 10, 2017
IPVM went to Las Vegas, examining what vendors are showcasing and what is new. Attendance was up, according to the show, and was certainly well...
Deep Science - Active Threat Cloud Monitoring Startup on Apr 03, 2017
Deep learning for $2 a day for a system that automatically detects guns and masks, alerting the police to robberies and threats? A US startup is...

Most Recent Industry Reports

IP Networking Course May 2017 on Apr 26, 2017
NOTE: Registration ends tomorrow, Thursday the 27th. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals...
Tri-Ed Favorability Results on Apr 25, 2017
Tri-Ed, owned by Anixter, far outranked Anixter, the lowest ranked company in our distributor favorability series. Still, Anixter's ownership did...
Chinese 'Attacking Us From Every Direction', Says US FBI on Apr 25, 2017
"Chinese eating our lunch. Attacking us from every direction" said the US FBI's Deputy Director Andrew McCabe at the ASIS 2017 CSO Summit. .@FBI...
Eagle Eye Exec On Mountain Of Servers - VSaaS Growth Analysis on Apr 25, 2017
Eagle Eye VP of Operations, Hans Kahler, posted a picture of himself sitting on top of a shipment of new servers, as a testament to the companies...
Axis Posts Strong Q1 2017 Financial Results on Apr 24, 2017
Axis posted strong numbers for Q1 2017, after having some challenges in 2016 (Q1 2016, Q3 2016). Inventory levels and overall spending show...
Axis Lowest Cost Outdoor IR Camera M2025-LE Tested on Apr 24, 2017
Axis has lagged offering low cost IR cameras while their Asian competitors have made IR standard even in their most entry level cameras. Recently,...
IPVM First Dean's List W2017 - Thomas Atkinson, Matt Hurly and Fredrik Lundqvist on Apr 24, 2017
IPVM is happy to congratulate and celebrate our first "Dean's List", the top students in our courses. For the Winter 2017 IP Networking course...
Splicing Alarm Circuits Guide on Apr 24, 2017
Alarm installers commonly connect multiple sensors to a single zone. They do this by splicing the wires together. In this report, we will explain...
PureTech Video Analytics Examined on Apr 21, 2017
PureTech's analytics were chosen for a US border protection system (see related post), which the company claims no other analytics vendor was able...
US Border RVSS / Video Analytics System Examined on Apr 21, 2017
US Customs and Border Protection has been rolling out a video analytics-based detection system along the US/Mexico border, with detection ranges...

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