3 steps to build a persuasive case in your presentation

Much like a lawyer needs to build a logical case to persuade the jury, we need to build a logical case to persuade our audience in the business world as well. Here is a recent example from my own experience.

After almost a year of pursuing the prospect I got the word last week that the team of Vice Presidents I had been meeting with and presenting to decided they wanted to transition to my company’s automated print management service.

This was great news but with one catch. “There is still one more hurdle to clear” said the VP of Marketing.

“Ok” I said “what’s that?”

“Well” he said “now I have to present to the C-level team and justify the decision we’ve just made.”

3 steps to build a persuasive case in your sales presentation

3 steps to build a persuasive case in your sales presentation

This was a bit frustrating as I obviously wished that I could make the presentation to the C-level team but this is their process and they certainly weren’t going to change it for me. I offered to help the VP of Marketing to prepare for the presentation but he only said that if he needed me he would let me know.

The day before the presentation he called me. “Let me ask you about your approach to inventory turns” he said. “You’ve said that we currently have too much inventory on hand and that you suggest lower quantity runs and turning inventory more often. How do I justify this approach if my CEO questions me on it?”

So I suggested we use three steps to build a persuasive case.

Statistics. Statistics are a powerful tool for building a persuasive case. When you use data be specific about the source. The more precise you are with your data the more persuasive it is. So I told my contact that “according to industry research organization Cap Ventures, 25% of all printed product in this country is thrown away because it’s out of date before it can be used. If your organization falls into that average that would mean you’re wasting tens of thousands of dollars throwing away obsolete product”

Example. Statistics are persuasive but they are even more persuasive when combined with a story or real life example. So next I suggested he tell them a story related to this data – “remind them” I suggested “about that instance when you had to throw away an eight month supply of marketing brochures because you ordered too many and then a product change forced you to throw away the now obsolete material. Having too much inventory on hand cost your organization thousands of dollars and that was not a one time occurrence.”        

Solution. Now provide the solution which stands in sharp contrast to the problem you’ve just convinced them exists. For example: “with our inventory management system we’ll use usage data to determine the optimum quantity for each item. Items that change frequently will have low runs and items that change less often will have longer runs. We’ll drive the best price possible while not exposing you to the danger of throwing away tens of thousands of dollars worth of product.”

Using these techniques will help you to build a persuasive case within your presentation. It worked for this VP of Marketing who closed the deal for me with his C-level executives.

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