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?

[premium_content]

Related Reports

Hikvision Admits USA Sales Falling on Apr 22, 2019
Hikvision, in a new Chinese financial filing, has admitted that its USA sales are now falling. Less than a year after the US government passed a...
Arecont Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 22, 2019
Arecont's net negativity remained the same in IPVM's 2019 integrator study, though integrator's feeling became relatively more neutral compared to...
Verint Victimized By Ransomware on Apr 18, 2019
Verint, which is best known in the physical security industry for video surveillance but has built a sizeable cybersecurity business as well, was...
The Fastest Growing Video Surveillance Sales Organization Ever - Verkada on Apr 17, 2019
Verkada has the fastest growing video surveillance sales organization ever. In less than 2 years, they already have more salespeople in the US...
Strong ISC West 2019 For Manufacturers But Concerns For 2020 March Move on Apr 16, 2019
ISC West 2019 was strong for manufacturers, according to new IPVM survey results of 100+ manufacturers, consistent with 2018 results. However,...
Alarm.com Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 15, 2019
The once dot com startup has evolved to become a core provider for home security and is now expanding into commercial. In their first entry in...
ISC West 2019 Report on Apr 12, 2019
The IPVM team has finished at the Sands looking at what companies are offering and how they are changing their positioning. See below for 50+...
UK Installer CCTV Aware - Flat Pricing, No Salespeople on Apr 10, 2019
This is a different kind of company. They do flat pricing, they do not have any salespeople and 50% of their sales are sold and booked...
Bosch AI Camera Trainer Released And Tested on Apr 09, 2019
Bosch is releasing a highly unusual new AI feature - 'Camera Trainer'. Now, coming as a standard feature in Bosch IVA/EVA analytics, one can train...
Startup iryx Launches, Led by Ex-Arecont and FLIR Executives on Apr 04, 2019
Suddenly, the video surveillance industry is witnessing a new wave of startups. Now launching is iryx, a startup led by veterans of 2 of the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hikvision Admits USA Sales Falling on Apr 22, 2019
Hikvision, in a new Chinese financial filing, has admitted that its USA sales are now falling. Less than a year after the US government passed a...
Speco Ultra Intensifier Tested on Apr 22, 2019
While ISC West 2019 named Speco's Ultra Intensifier the best new "Video Surveillance Cameras IP", IPVM testing shows the camera suffers from...
Arecont Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 22, 2019
Arecont's net negativity remained the same in IPVM's 2019 integrator study, though integrator's feeling became relatively more neutral compared to...
H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...
ACRE Acquires RS2, Explains Acquisition Strategy on Apr 19, 2019
ACRE continues to buy, now acquiring RS2, just 5 months after buying Open Options. One is a small access control manufacturer from Texas, the...
Access Control Course Spring 2019 - Last Chance on Apr 19, 2019
Register for the Spring Access Control Course. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry. Unlike manufacturer...
Riser vs Plenum Cabling Explained on Apr 18, 2019
You could be spending twice as much for cable as you need. The difference between 'plenum' rated cable and 'riser' rated cable is subtle, but the...
Verint Victimized By Ransomware on Apr 18, 2019
Verint, which is best known in the physical security industry for video surveillance but has built a sizeable cybersecurity business as well, was...
Milestone Drops IFSEC on Apr 18, 2019
Milestone has dropped out of Europe's largest annual security trade show (IFSEC 2019), telling IPVM that they "have found that IFSEC in EMEA no...

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