Why Buyers Hate Your Sales Presentation.


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Somewhere between the evolution of the cave man and the invention of the Model T assembly line, the sales presentation became the mode of pitching somewhat interested buyers on the possibilities of spending their hard-earned dollars on our products.

You’ve seen the drawings in your history book, 20,000 years ago spear-makers were enticing local “long beards”with their new-and-improved stone-tipped killing machines. It’s right there on the side of the cave. You’ve seen the stick-pictures.

A brave hunter ventures deep into the wood with only his spear, looking for roaming Caribou to feed his hungry family. And as he stalks his prey, he fails to realize that he too is being hunted – by a killer sabre-tooth tiger.

Out of the corner of a pocket of trees, the snarling tiger lunges, eager to bring down the hunter. But the hunter springs to action. Taking two short steps to his left, he falls to his knees and thrusts his spear deep into the lunging tiger.

The stone-tip of the spear rips into the heavy muscles that protect the tiger’s heart. Instantly, the tiger collapses. Dead.

What’s the message?

It’s actually quite simple.

Buy a better spear and stay alive a little longer.

Skimp on a cheaper wooden spear and you’ll find yourself “tiger dinner”.

That message works. Our brains understand it.

But then we decided to change things.

Somehow we’ve gotten too smart.

We’ve made facts and figures the premise of our meetings.

When was the last presentation you heard that was this exciting?


Most of the time it’s a crappy PowerPoint Presentation with 8 point font and 47 bullet points on each slide and an accompanying Excel spreadsheet with mindless formulas and resulting 3-D bar charts.

And we’re so proud of our silliness.

In fact, we put our foot down and refuse to talk to customers unless we have this presentation ready ahead of time. God forbid we show up and down have the spreadsheets ready to hand out.

What ever will we say?

And that’s why buyers hate our presentations.

Because they don’t want facts and figures. They want hunters and spears and sabre-tooth tigers.

It’s how their (and your) brain was made.

Along the way we’ve mutated into blase pitch-deck-pushing, conference room jockeys.

And it’s killing our ability to generate business.

After hundreds of years of hypothesis on how our brains work, advanced technology like fMRI scans reaffirm how very primitive our brains still are.

There are three main ways that our brain handles any information that it receives:

  1. If it’s boring or expected, the brain ignores it.
  2. If it’s too complex, the brain dramatically summarizes it.
  3. If it’s threatening, the brain makes us fight or run.

That hasn’t changed since the beginning of time.

The brain doesn’t care about features-and-functions.

Heck, even most benefits are too boring to get the attention of the brain. They’re just ignored.

And your hard close is so threatening that the brain immediately becomes defensive, skeptical, and distrusting. So we can rule that out as an option.

Numbers and complex engineering discussion is so complicated that the brain leaves out most of the details and creates a gut-impression that it stores as a memory. Probably not a good one.

Buyers end up confused, frustrated, and wondering why they decided to listen to your pitch in the first place.

Which is rather ironic because they probably could use the spears you are selling.

You just need to stop with the rest of the nonsense.

It’s time to get back to cave-man days.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dan Waldschmidt
Speaker, author, strategist, Dan Waldschmidt is a conversation changer. Dan and his team help people arrive at business-changing breakthrough ideas by moving past outdated conventional wisdom, social peer pressure, and the selfish behaviors that stop them from being high performers. The Wall Street Journal calls his blog, Edge of Explosion, one of the Top 7 blogs sales blogs anywhere on the internet and hundreds of his articles on unconventional sales tactics have been published.


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