During one session with a client, on a flip chart we summarized the pressures acting on their buyer:
- More Results
- Less Time
- More Problems
This client’s buyer was under pressure to produce more results: higher sales and higher margins. The buyer was expected to deliver better results in less time; they wanted results faster. However, the buyer has less personal time to deliver more results because fewer buyers do more work. Finally, they are facing more problems: from outside their business, competitors and governments make their tasks harder and from inside their business, other departments are not cooperating or have different priorities.
Given these three pressures— more results, less time and more problems— our client must find ways to persuade faster. Presenting data in the traditional way would take too long. Without getting the buyer’s attention and action, our client would not get results and the buyer would not get results either. Many businesses face similar challenges. Do you need to persuade faster?
‘We must go fast, because the race is against time.’
Persuading With Data Faster
In some businesses, a critical part of persuasion is to give insights from data: tables and graphs. For many of us Excel, Word and PowerPoint are part of our business life. Anyone can produce a table or chart. Even my teenage daughter regularly produces tables and charts.
Yet, most people just accept what appears from Microsoft or from their data provider. Typically if it looks professional: that will do. However, in business presentations most tables and charts I see are unpersuasive. In many businesses, how to make data persuasive is a neglected competitive advantage.
‘Concentrating on the essentials. We will then be accomplishing the greatest possible results with the effort expended.’
Ted W. Engstrom
Once you see how fast you can persuade with data, you will understand why the companies who know keep it a secret. Also why the companies that know the secrets stand out from the competition?
Try this simple test: take 5 of your slides, show them to a colleague and ask:
- What are the messages of the five slides
- Rate the slides on a scale of -10 to +10, where -10 is boring, 0 is neutral and +10 is exciting.
Then just listen.
- How fast do they get the messages?
- How often do they get a different message to the one you intended?
- Which slides were rated as exciting?
If you want to see a more persuasive version of your data, send us your most boring data slide and we will send back a version that will help you persuade faster, send it to email@example.com.
‘Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down’.