The Beauty Parade Sales Presentation Myth

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Businessmen with graphsDo you have to conduct sales presentations to win business?

If so, you’ve most likely referred to them as beauty parades. This is where your prospect has given you and 3 other vendors a list of requirements and have asked you to present “what you can do for them” and your ideas.

Psst Have you heard about The Beauty Parade Sales Presentation Myth?

You know what it is…..

“It’s always worse to present first”

Not true. Don’t get me wrong, I used to feel this way!

But then I won some major projects going first, last, before lunch and after lunch!

You see, it doesn’t really matter where you go that counts but it does matter what you do during your presentation that counts.

Going First?

Well, you should look to build so much value into your presentation that it sets the standards so high that all of the other vendors are compared to yours and don’t stack up. You need to be the trailblazer here!

And if you know who you’re up against, and have done your homework on what their USP’s are etc then you can position yourself against them by going first like this:

“Throughout today you’re probably going to hear unique selling points like offering you a completely tailored software system, 24/7 support and unlimited ongoing changes for your version of software. Well, those aren’t USP’s to us. They are “givens” offered by everyone. Let me talk you through what makes our product completely unique….”

By prefacing a statement like that, if all of your competitors are going on about their 24/7 support etc then the decision makers will not take too much notice about them because of what you covered in your talk. You’ve devalued those features.

In theory you can bash all of your competitors USP’s without naming them and by stating that they are the norm and are not unique.

Conversely, if you know your short comings in the marketplace and what they are against your enemy then you can cover these off in your presentation. For example, some of the “big boys” in your marketplace will try to play the “we’re the biggest and the best, with the most coverage, turnover, profits and capability” hand. They’ll try to make your 10 staff look like you can’t do the job. With something like this you could pre-empt their strike by getting in first with something like this:

“We’re not as big as some of the companies that you’ll meet with today but that is a major advantage because you’re not just another number to us, we can make changes to your specs 2 weeks quicker than anywhere else and….”

I hope you get the picture?

Presenting at a beauty parade is an art and a science. Remember, it doesn’t matter what slot you’re given – it only matters what you do in that slot and how you position yourself against those before you, after you or both!

Happy selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 18 February, 2010

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