What is the best sales experience you’ve ever had? For me it is the experience where I didn’t notice that I was the buyer and the other person was the seller. Often the best experiences come from salespeople who use the time to listen, take in what the client needs and brainstorm with that client a series of solutions. Through that brainstorming session – if done authentically – a sale happens.
Co-creation, brainstorming and an interactive give and take that occurs in a successful sales exchange is also a very successful approach for presenting to a Customer Advisory Board. Below are tips of what we found works and doesn’t work in our facilitation of hundreds of Board sessions each year.
- Outline what you want to learn in the session.
- Evolve the outline of your desired learnings into questions.
- Consider the content that you need to share with the audience in order to get the questions answered. For example, if you want to understand what competitors are doing relative to your strategy, you will need to share your strategy.
- Craft 3-7 slides that support the discussion and brainstorming you want to have.
What doesn’t work:
- Taking a presentation (or two or three) that you’ve pitched at clients, cobbling it together and using that as your starting place. That’s selling and telling, not seeking advice.
- Starting with what you want to tell the Customer Advisory Board. Try starting with what you want to learn.
- Complex questions that are really veiled selling.
- 17-20 slides that would be used from a stage where dialogue will never happen.
I challenge you to try this approach once, using the ‘what works tips’ and if it is a disaster go back to pitching. This way of creating a presentation is more challenging, but if you are confident in your content, you will do this seamlessly and you and the Customer Advisory Board will experience better outcomes.