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Why Some Presentations Stand Out


Several years ago I was reviewing sales presentations from a market I oversaw. As I was reading one of them in particular, I was becoming increasingly impressed. While it was longer than most, each page was a landscape printout of a power-point. It was very easy on the eyes; four to six bullet points per page, each page with an attention-getting headline that forced me to read the bullets, lots of white space, clean, neat business-style font, and well-chosen graphics.

But something else was engaging me. Then I realized I was over halfway through the presentation and there had been no mention yet of the radio station. Everything I had read so far was all about the client. The pages covered things like the current challenges, the client’s competition, their staff, key employees, their past advertising including what had been successful and what had not. It was an amazing piece of work that could only have been generated after a great interview getting the answers to some well-thought-out questions.

Then, I turned to a page that truly took me aback. This particular presentation was to a small college. The headline read, “Graduate Student Gail Collins Speaks Highly of Her Years as a Student.” I realized, after this seller interviewed the advertising decision-maker, she actually walked around the campus interviewing students. Wow! How smart is this? Many sellers and managers today are dead against lengthy presentations. They believe potential clients just want the cost, the package and make it quick. I could not disagree more. When a client is reading about themselves, seeing the proof that you listened, they appreciate that. Finally, someone really listened to their challenges, understands their business, and these pages prove it.

Back to this particular presentation. I decided to count the pages (or printouts of the slides). There were 16 of them, but the first 10 were all about the client. Each had a headline that would rival any great print ad I’d seen. Then, after all of this amazing client content, there was this one page with only a few words on it that said, "Let’s Add a New Player to the Team!” followed by a few pages about why her particular radio station could help, in turn followed by a proposed campaign, the cost, and a page or two with some testimonials from current station advertisers documenting their success with her radio station.

I initiated a new rule that day for all the sellers that worked at radio stations in cities I oversaw concerning written client presentations: A minimum of 50 percent of all pages in your presentations must be about the client and must come first, before we ever start talking about our radio station. It took months to get this fully implemented, but it changed seller’s lives and incomes in nine markets.

So, do you peddle packages or do you present proof that you listened better than anyone else along with a well-thought-out solution?

Rob Adair is the President of Pinnacle Solving. His company provides revenue growth solutions, branding and differentiation strategies to radio and other industries. Adair is a former radio industry COO and Sr. VP overseeing 25+ stations and multiple major markets. He can be reached at 405-641-0458 or by e-mail

(12/27/2013 10:38:31 PM)
Yes, as an advertiser,I would certainly want to "build a relationship" with someone who didn't know my market and didn't understand my competition!

Don't waste precious time in a sales call talking about ME; I want to learn everything about YOU and your station! For heaven's sake, don't bother listening; just talk and talk and talk!

- Jeremy Mott
(1/7/2013 1:15:09 AM)
This is precisely one of radio's big problems-- too many consultants like Rob Adair, telling everyone what they should do. Micro-managing
the content percentage and number of pages on presentations is absurd. A successful salesperson builds relationships, and engages the client in a process where the client trusts the salesperson, and is motivated to buy. ...On the other hand, prevention of new business sales is caused in part by too many useless sales meetings, and consultant interference.

- Bob MacKay

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