Sales and Marketing Performance Blog

Visual Confections that Sell (video)

Posted by Mark Gibson on Wed, Jan 23, 2013

This "Visual Confections that Sell" video below, defines what visual confections are, how to use them in sales situations and outlines our process to create them. 

The video requires no registration form to play and runs for about 14 minutes.

It will be of interest to a broad audience who want to communicate their ideas more effectively in a shorter space of time. It will be of particular interest to those interested in leading with an opinion, supported by a visual confection, to disrupt status-quo thinking.

If you would to download the visuals and script or discuss converting your PowerPoint presentation into a visual Confection, or give feedback on the video, please complete this Let's discuss Visual Confections form.

How Visual Confections Create Value in Selling

  • Visual Confections help sales people convey their value creation story, creating confidence that leads to better buyer engagement. 
  • Visual Confections combined with visual storytelling technique, help sales people get their big idea across more effectively in conversation.
  • The process of of creating Visual Confections aligns sales and marketing messaging and brings value creation into clear focus.
  • Visual confections when used in sales training can help reduce sales ramp time and foster stronger message ownership, leading to improved sales results.
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Topics: sales and marketing alignment, visual confections, brain rules, visual storytelling

Presentation Rules using Visual Storytelling to sell Big Ideas

Posted by Mark Gibson on Thu, Jan 03, 2013

Brain Rules

I've just finished reading Brain Rules, by John Medina. It's an interesting and easy read and has a whole lot of insight on how we perceive and process information. This book could have easily been entitled "Presentation Rules" as it covers important visual perception concepts relevant for salespeople making presentations in PowerPoint.

Here are few relevant points:
  • The typical PowerPoint slide presentation has 42 words per slide.
  • Words and orally presented information suffer in comparison to the use of images;
    - If information is presented in bullet form with oral comment, typically 10% is remembered after 3 days
    - Simply add a picture and recall goes to 65% 
  • In one study, subjects were shown 2500 images for 10 seconds each and could recall 90% of them within several days and were able to remember 63% of them one year later. 
  • The brain is doing orders of magnitude more work to get the meaning from a sentence than a picture - words are in effect lots of small pictures that the brain needs to reconstruct and sequence to derive meaning from.
  • Pictures are stored in the brain as complete entities and available for instant recall. You don't have to construct an image of a clock-face nor a light bulb in your mind to recognize it, mere mention of them conjures the image that is already stored in your brain - so use more images.
  • Stories that evoke strong emotions at the time of the learning help with the encoding of that learning in memory and with the transfer of information from short-term memory to long-term memory.
  • The brain/mind is easily bored. 
    • You have 30 seconds at the start of the presentation to hook your audience.  
    • A hook is a story or anecdote to engage the audience emotionally.
    • If you haven't engaged them by this time, then you are sunk as they will begin to occupy their mind with other things and pay scant attention to you and your presentation.
    • You should structure your presentation in 10 minute chunks, because after 10 minutes the mind begins to wander. At the end of the 10 minute chunk we need to use another hook to re-engage the audience for another 10 minutes. 

 

Take-aways:

  1. If you want your big idea to be remembered, then create a simple images to convey it. 
  2. Structure your presentation into 10 minute content chunks and tell brief stories for 30 seconds every 10 minutes to re-engage your audience.

Visual Storytelling Webinar

Relevant ideas from Brain Rules have been incorporated into a new visual storytelling webinar published in late December 2012, entitled "Your PowerPoint Presentations Suck - and what you can do about it", and I invite you to view it.
This Webinar consists of the three 10 minute content chunks,
  • Visual Perception
  • Storytelling Basics
  • An introduction to visual storytelling.
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Topics: visual confections, brain rules, visual storytelling

Ten Tips for Effective Whiteboard Sales Engagement

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, May 29, 2012

Whiteboarding is emerging as a mainstream enablement tool in B2B technology companies that actually contributes real value during the sales cycle.

Having trained several thousand sales and support people in the Whiteboardselling methodology over the past 18 months, my observations on the most valuable aspects of whiteboarding as an enablement methodology are:-
  1. Creating clarity in your value proposition and building it into a story that everyone can tell is an excellent initial win. Most companies confess that their messaging is somewhere between 2-3/5 for clarity when we start the process.
  2. Message Ownership - in 1/2 a day Whiteboardselling training Symposium salespeople either see or do the whiteboard up to 9 times using an active learning method and on the very next day they can give the whiteboard, - they know it.
  3. Consistency and confidence in telling the story are the knock-on benefits for individuals and this is important in creating differentiation in the mind of the buyer - when the competition are saying the same things you are. 
What is under appreciated about whiteboarding is that sales-people will find it very difficult get up and whiteboard on an ad-hoc basis....unless they have already decided what they want to say and practiced what they are going to draw.

A pre-requisite for salespeople to whiteboard effectively is a visual story that centers around what the buyer is trying to achieve, that salespeople can use to engage the buyer in conversation.

A Simple Visual Confection - the Whiteboardselling method



My observations in riding shotgun on many sales-calls as a sales trainer are that salespeople can often get a meeting, but when they are face-face with senior executives, often don't know how to engage in a business discussion and thus revert to where they are more comfortable - discussing their products, and the meeting terminates shortly thereafter.

Ten Tips for Effective Whiteboard Engagement

  1. A whiteboard session is a conversation aid to help you engage the buyer, - not a presentation....if you feel yourself going into presentation mode, stop, ask a question and get the buyer talking.
  2. Learn the script and practice the opening, if it is well constructed, it will use a challenging opening and positioning statements to engage the buyer immediately.
  3. No "marketing-speak" or gobbledybook when you whiteboard. For example, instead of the word "redefine" use "change"; instead of "revolutionary use "different" ...people don't feel like they are being sold when you use plain English.
  4. The goal of the whiteboarding session is to engage the buyer in conversation and have your capabilities unfold naturally in conversation - not to demonstrate your prowess as an artist or orator. 
  5. Learn the whiteboard story and practice it in private and when you are ready, practice with your peers and your managers until you own it, ask them for feedback to improve technique, (it will take 20 iterations until you own it).
  6. Get the buyer's issues out in red on the whiteboard and drill down on them, quantify them and figure out together if they are worth solving and how to solve them.
  7. You don’t have to start the whiteboard at the start, you don't have to strictly adhere to the build sequence and you don’t have to finish the whiteboard. You only need to engage the buyer around one or two issues to get a commitment to advance the sale to next steps.
  8. Carry a BIC 4 color pen and your own set of whiteboard markers with you, so that you can tell your story on any surface or in case the markers in the meeting room are dry or missing. 
  9. Carry a visual confection (your completed whiteboard story) printed on high quality A-3 paper into the meeting, folded in half in your note book. Use it in the following situations;
    • there is no whiteboard or it's full of writing already with "do not erase" written on it,
    • your meeting is cut short and you need to get key concepts across in a couple of minutes,
    • you are at lunch and there is no writing surface, 
  10. Follow up by sending a meeting summary that embeds the completed whiteboard visual confection in the letter outlining their issues and how your capabilities can solve their problems - and agreed next steps.
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Topics: visual confections, whiteboard selling, whiteboarding

Creating Powerpoint Visual Confections using a Wacom Bamboo Tablet

Posted by Mark Gibson on Mon, May 21, 2012

A visual confection is a powerful tool for communicating a lot of information in a short space of time.

Visual confections are excellent sales aids for inside sales and field sales professionals selling complex products and services. A completed Whiteboard is a visual confection in itself.

I'm a Mac user and had been toying with the idea of buying a tablet PC so that I could more easily create visual confections in PowerPoint. Up till now all of my whiteboards have been created using either objects from WhiteboardSelling's pre-populated style gallery or created on my Mac using an external touch pad.

An example visual confection below is the Message Strength vs. Clarity graphic below. It contains words and hand drawn images to quickly convey an idea around the effectiveness of your Website message in attracting visitors in the first place and then its clarity in conveying meaning. If you missed the original message strength article you can click on the image to read it.

Message Strength vs. Clarity, an example visual confection

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Topics: visual confections, Wacom Bamboo, whiteboarding

New Trade-Show Best Practices - Present from a Visual Confection

Posted by Mark Gibson on Wed, May 25, 2011

Do you attend B2B technology tradeshows? If you do, please answer the following questions to put you in the trade-show mind-set.
  • Do you love tradeshows or hate them, or do you see them as a necessary evil?
  • How good were the leads you got from your last tradeshow?
  • Is the tradeshow on the wane, or is still a viable marketing investment?
  • What's your tradeshow strategy as a vendor...are you like HubSpot and shun them, or do you select the best ones and invest in them?
  • Do you just talk to the visitor or you do a quick demo and hand out a brochure?
  • Do you have a 3-5 slide PowerPoint presentation with just the elements of your story?
  • How do you sort out the visitors who just want a stamp so they can enter the draw for the iPad from a potential prospect?
I attended a trade-show recently and used a visual confection to tell my story. (The confection below is an excerpt of the Advanced Marketing Concepts Whiteboard story - a visual confection).  According to Edward Tufte, Visual Confections are “ structures that consist of a multiplicity of image events that illustrate an argument, organize information, show and enforce visual comparisons; they should be transparent, straightforward, obvious, natural, ordinary, conventional…with no need for hesitation or questioning on the part of the viewer”

You have 20 seconds to hook the visitor, 3 minutes to engage, tell your story, qualify and get permission to follow-up

Visitors come thick and fast during the breaks and at lunch and drinks sessions. You have a 20 seconds to hook the visitor and between 2-4 minutes to discover their top issues, tell your story, qualify their interest and get permission for follow-up.
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Topics: qualification, visual confections, whiteboard selling

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