sales presentations on iPads and PCs: Don’t send the written proposal in PDF

After sales presentations, sales representatives often send the sales proposal in PDF format, and more and more often, the customer reads it on a computer, iPad or other tablet. The first question is: does the customer in fact read it?

Customers don’t read written sales presentations in PDF format.

Written proposal on iPADWritten sales presentations in PDF format don’t work, because customers don’t read them! What makes us say this?

1. Experience: All experienced sales people reading this article have realized, to their disappointment, that the customer never actually read their carefully-written proposal that took hours to prepare – at best, he or she looked at the rates page!

2. Common sense: Just like your customers, you complain every day about long emails. What’s a long email? Do a test using recent emails that you found long:

  • Most people consider an email with more than 300 words long – these are the same people who read 300-400 words per minute!
  • Long, when 300 words takes 45 seconds to read!?
  • That means that more than 45 seconds of reading on a screen is considered “long” by most people, probably you included.
  • That does not mean that it IS long – the same people will have no problem spending 10 minutes a day reading the newspaper, for the equivalent of 3,000 words, and they read 300-page books containing hundreds of thousands of words.

–          It simply means that our world is less sophisticated than we thought:

  • Most people are able to read a lot on analog support like a book,
  • But most people still can’t read for 45 seconds on digital support – most people, no doubt including yourself, if you have ever complained about a 300-word email, and most of your customers, too.

3. Sales efficiency considerations: In the past 30 years, cognitive load theory has shown that retention and capacity to influence require that we appeal to both the right and the left brains of our audience (click here to find out more). Yet a written proposal in PDF format has little emotional impact.

Sending sales presentations: How can you be sure the customer will read it and be influenced?

Of course, a good face-to-face sales presentation will increase the likelihood that the customer will read the proposal you send in PDF format. The quality of your performance in the sales meeting gives your customer a reason to read the proposal you send in PDF format, it’s very different! A live sales presentation will lead your customer to read the proposal you send in PDF format, or maybe not …

Yet, we know that for the three reasons mentioned above, it is often not enough. We have all had good sales meetings, yet all the customer looked at in the written proposal was the pricing page. Luckily, some do buy. But if the goal is to sway the customer in our favor, we have to offer a mixed format, a web-presentation that plays on two aspects:

  1. Visuals that capture the customer’s attention the way the slideshow would, and
  2. Commentary that makes sense of the slideshow.

Here is a sample web sales presentation meant to be read on a PC:

Or the same technique used in a tribute to Steve Jobs::

Voir cet article en français:

1 ping

  1. […] Sales proposals on iPads and PCs: Don’t send the written proposal in PDF […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.