Pain is temporary, failure lasts forever

Lean, agile living for the running mother of Peter

2007-05-17

92 pages of reasons why you shouldn't buy our system

My CEO told me today that one of our salespersons had made a sales ppt presentation of 92 slides. Don't know about you, but a powerpoint never made me buy anything. Ever. I've thought a lot about powerpoints and presentations during the latter week. What makes them good, what makes them bad. I believe that ppts has become the passifier of our and the previous generation. You can't go in to a meeting without them. The more the better. Use them all the time. It's often very ugly to look at. And you think: when is he going to stop...

I think I've seen three really memorable ppts in my life. One was about the similarities between modern city planning and the inside of the computer. Another was by Peter Englund, the brilliant Swedish History professor and lecturer, on the battle of Poltava. The third was about Roman city planning (and that was fun because the lecturer used Asterix and Obelix cartoons...). It's no coincidence that the hundreds of sales presentations I've seen over the years are not included. It is not a conincidence that non of my presentations are included...

A problem in sales situations I find that so many sales persons think they are there to educate rather than sell the f**cking product. They are lecturing. And what do we do during lectures: well the bored persons fall into other thoughts and the intelligent people start to question. All statements can become an issue for debate. I often see this with lists: there are extensive lists with details. And what do we do with lists: we look for what is excluded. And we ask for the excluded thing.

I also made a critical error in a customer presentation this week: I showed the architectural sketch of our system. In what way would that make the customer buy? By showing this details I could have fallen in an at that point useless debate on REST being SOA or not. That didn't happen but I should have instead talked about the principle of what we want to achieve with our architecture. The arch is bound to change, but the strategy will remain. Then, of course, you can and should explain details if details are asked for. But then it's the customer's choice and that choice is what a presentation should be about.

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