Contact Us
Marketing Messaging Visual Storytelling Sales Conversations Selling to Executives Negotiation Skills

is does means

Amazon Kindle vs iPad

Finding Your Value Wedge

In Power Messaging we teach companies to differentiate by finding their “Value Wedge.”  Here’s how it works:

Identify your uniqueness in the context of a specific prospect need.  Then amplify that need so it becomes the dominating buying criteria, and then clearly contrast your uniqueness with the competitor’s weakness so your prospect sees the unmistakable value of your solution.  Also, make sure it is defensible by proving the claim and demonstrating your clear advantage.

I recently saw this commercial and thought… now there’s a perfect example of a company that knows how to find and promote their Value Wedge.  Watch as Amazon Kindle responds to the emerging threat to their e-book reader leadership posed by the iPad.


Amazon is saying…  Hey, if you are in the market for a reader, because you love books, and you love reading them everywhere, especially relaxing outdoors, then there’s only one solution for you.  They aren’t trying to be everything iPad is… they are identifying their prospect as voracious readers and elevating the need to be able to read everywhere and showing how only the Kindle meets this need.

Don’t get me wrong, the iPad is an amazing little gadget with so much to offer.  But, if you are a reader, and that’s your emphasis, why not buy the product that will work when and where you want it to, at a much lower price point?

Love to see two strong Marketing powerhouses go at it, using Power Messaging techniques.

- Tim Riesterer
CMO and SVP Strategic Consulting and Products
Corporate Visions Inc.

Tweet about this post

What Does Your Product Mean? Show Personal Value

How would you sell a wireless internet card?
There are so many features and functions you can talk about, right? How fast it is. How durable it is. How compatible it is. How easy it is to use. The amazing feat of engineering it took to make it so small and portable.

Now watch this ad:


What do you think? How did this advertiser move the message from your head to your heart?

Rather than showing what it is: wires, metal, plastic and computer chips, they tapped your emotions. They showed what this product means to you. You can finally come out of the dark and into the light. You can be free.

They used suspense to keep your attention. In the beginning you were probably wondering, “What’s happening, why are these ‘nerds’ behaving so bizarrely?” (If you’re Alumni you may remember the Hitchcock clip in the Power Messaging course. The phrase “a ticking bomb under your chair” may come to mind.) Alfred Hitchcock, a master at directing suspense movies, explains that the trick to creating suspense is to tell people that something is about to happen and then…make them wait for it. This video used suspense by making you wait to find out what’s happening. Showing the product became the “Ah ha!” moment. No words were necessary. You “got it.”

Master advertisers and movie makers understand how to grab attention and engage your emotions. Now, it’s one thing to capture the hearts of “movie goers,” but how can you do it in a sales presentation?

Next time you’re selling a product, make sure to talk about what your prospect can do with your solution, what it is that creates that capability and what it will mean to them. Move beyond the feature-function dump. Create suspense by asking a “What if you…” question. “What if you had the freedom to be anywhere and still have access to the internet?” “Would you like to see how you can have that?”

Tell us what you have done to move your message from your buyer’s head to their heart.


Is Your Slide Deck a Crutch or a Sales Tool?

Submitted by Tracey M., Sales Director:

Recently, I had an opportunity to re-engage with a large company, who was a former client from years ago.  I had secured a two-hour meeting with a group of eight decision makers representing key functions across their organization.  In preparing for the meeting, I established two primary goals for the presentation.  First, I needed to help the customer understand that our company had changed dramatically since we had worked together years ago. Today, we offer a portfolio of solutions that meet our clients’ most pressing business issues.  Second, I needed to compel each decision maker to invest in a more focused follow-up meeting to take a deeper dive into each solution area.  I assembled a team of five people from within our organization, each with an expertise in a specific solution area.

Everyone within the team I assembled sent me their PowerPoint deck, which produced a 57-slide presentation – there were too many words, on too many slides.  The challenge was getting the five team members aligned around key messages that would shine a spotlight on our unique ability to deliver value to each decision maker and, somehow, keep the audience engaged throughout the two-hour meeting.  With only four days to align the team, and trim and tighten the presentation, I called Corporate Visions Alumni Services.

Working with the coaching staff at Corporate Visions, we first assessed what would be most meaningful to this particular client. Due to the nature of the business deal, we had a limited discovery time.  Fortunately, we were able to model the needs, pains and desires found in similar client situations.  Going through the deck, we looked for ways to contrast the pain of not having our organization’s solution versus the gain and value of having it.  We removed the slides that could be more effectively delivered verbally or written on a flip-chart.  Then, we came up with great talk tracks for each section that improved the alignment and flow of the overall presentation.  We further refined and restructured other slides to be more focused on the “means” versus the “is” of the solution. Finally, we linked the value between each solution section back to our key messages (Power Positions).  By the third day of coaching, we had 12 slides that supported our key messages and put the client at the center of the discussion, as opposed to our company being the focus.  We also established creative ways to introduce the team and communicate each of our credentials.

The Result…

  • The Ki was strong
  • The team did an excellent job working together
  • Our delivery was engaging
  • The content was concise
  • Our value was clear
  • The client’s perception changed
  • Follow-up meetings were secured

This stuff really works!

by Tracey M.


The Last 3 Feet of the Sale

Sales can be like golf. You start with great discovery – a great drive. You end up three feet from your prospect – on the putting green.

At this point which do you think is more important: great sales methodology, or a great message?

This is where your ability to present your message (a value proposition tailored to your prospect), either sinks the putt, or rolls off the green.

A colleague recently commented, “Messaging isn’t the most important thing in sales – it’s the only thing.” He is only mildly overstating the issue.

Without delivering a great message in the last three feet, you can kiss the sale goodbye!  People are more interested in what a product/service/solution will mean to their lives more than what it is made of. What it will mean is best communicated in the message.

Great messages tell the story of how your solution will improve the life, business, and finances of your prospect. A great message delivered with passion will out-sell even a better product (with a weak message). That’s how powerful your message is.

Great sales strategy, methodology, process, and reporting are meaningless if you do not deliver a great message to your prospect at the point of sale.

So, how do you know if your message is strong?

  1. Is your message unique to your product/solution?
  2. Is it important to your prospect?
  3. Can you easily defend and prove its value?
  4. Is it memorable (what will they remember after you leave)?
  5. Does it truly differentiate you in your marketplace?

If your message passes these “Five Tests of a Great Message,” when sales process and methodology drives you to the putting green – you’ll be in the position to win.


Three Deadly Sins of Sales

Picture your last sales presentation or demonstration. How much of the material presented actually needed to be there? How long did it take to present? And what was your reason for presenting that way?

“It’s a technical presentation and they NEED to see it all” or “..they WANT to see it all.”
“It’s what Marketing gave us to present.” Our favorite:  “Stop me when you see something you like!”

In the age of information, it is easy to overwhelm your prospect with content not even relevant to the sale and actually make their decision more difficult.

Help yourself succeed by avoiding the most common Deadly Sins of Sales Presentations:

Deadly Sin #1 – Too Much Information
Dimming the lights and letting Power Point, (loaded with content your prospect is inclined to read), lead the way — takes the attention off you. Presenting features and functions is like explaining the material used in phones, rather than what a phone can mean to your life. What your solution IS and DOES, has much less emotional impact than what it MEANS to them. Rather than go through the engine – give them a test drive and ask them what they think and how they see this working in their world.

Deadly Sin # 2 – Not Presenting from the Buyer’s Point of View
Look again at your Agenda. Is it all about the customer and how their problems can be solved using your solution? Or is it about you: how long you’ve been in business, office locations around the world, etc.? Agendas set the tone and focus of your presentation. They work best when they alert your prospect that you are there to solve their problems first.

Deadly Sin # 3 — Not Telling Them What is Different about You
It is hard enough for prospects to make intelligent choices, don’t make it harder. If you cannot prove the difference between you and your competitor – how will your prospects? Make it easy for them! Spend time solving their problems, with clear and compelling reasons why they should choose you.

Exchange the 3 Deadly Sins for the 3 Ways to Win:

1. Keep your Presentation Simple and focused around three key relevant value propositions that are unique to your solution and important to this buyer. Highlight the unique value your solution and company alone can bring them. Make your unique value come alive in their world using tangible, concrete, simple and visual examples.

2. Know your Solution Story and be able to tell it with passion and proof. Focus the presentation on 3 to 5 problems/challenges you know your solution can uniquely solve. Use Customer Stories that highlight the before and after contrast as proof that your solution works.

3. Present from your Prospect’s Point of View, so they can imagine how your solution will benefit their business, financial and personal life. Build your Agenda around their needs, pains and desires. Seek to understand how your solution would work in their world. Ask for their feedback whenever you notice a peaked interest.

Follow this simple formula and your conversations will help both you and your buyer WIN!